With the rapid development of science and technology, science fiction has became popular in the modern times. The essence of fiction is the presentation of conflict in the human drama. Science fiction deals with conflict that arises out of the impact of scientific discoveries on the future life of humanity.

The writer of science fiction must be well-versed in the modern scientific knowledge to enable him to create a credible science story. Through in science fiction the element of fantasy dominates, the science fiction writers do not commit errors regarding scientific discoveries, facts and possibilities.

Types of science fiction:

There are two types of science fiction.

  • The first type is based on known facts of science leading to the development of new possiblities as in Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘The Sands of Mars’ which deals with the conditions encountered by the explorers on Mars.
  • The second type is science fantasy which is very popular today. It introduces any kind of assumptions, realistic or imaginary, which are necessary for the story. The strongest element in science fiction is imagination which often goes beyond credibility or rational understanding as in Bradbury’s ‘Martian Chronicles’.

Modern science fiction combines elements of scientific facts with fantasy. Most common themes in modern science fiction are the following:

  1. Space Travel, journey to other worlds and encounter with extra-terrestrial beings.
  2. Travelling in time past or future.
  3. Biological and psychological changes brought about by the appreciation of science in human beings and other species of life.
  4. Extraordinary powers acquired by man through the use of technology or abnormal mental powers possessed by some persons.

Science fiction began to acquire importance in the latter part of the 19th century with the fictional writings of Jules Verne and H.G Wells. Some of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein’ had anticipated the coming of science fiction. However, it was Jules Verne’s novels such as ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ that set the trend. Science fiction achieved greater popularity with the writings of H.G Wells who wrote such classics as ‘The War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Time Machine’.

Modern science fiction presents most of the important technological achievements of the age — radar, rockets, medicines and robots, electronic brain, space vehicle, satellites, medicines and drugs with fantastic effects etc. Such materials are used with great imagination to create an exotic and weird effect.

The most outstanding science fiction writers since the sixties have been Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. Asimov was a prolific writer of science fiction. His novels of the Foundation Saga and the series of ‘Robot’ novels have become classics. Two other outstanding novels of Asimov are ‘Extra-Terrastrials’ and ‘The Gods Themselves’.

The science fiction presents not only a fantastic world of wonders but, also a world more or less scientifically accurate. Most science fiction writings conform to the general principles of novel writing. They stimulate our imagination, satisfy our curiosity and lift us to a world of intense make-believe.