Historical Events  Geography
Science fiction

World's first science fiction story?

MMDE: 1818

Current: 2AD

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein might seem like a stereotype to some today, with it's monster and mad scientist ideas having been done to death many times since it first appeared in 1818. This is misleading, however, because at that time the concepts were truly original and shocking; so much so that the first notion of science being at the heart of fiction in a story created an entirely new genre - science fiction.

Brian Aldiss claims Frankenstein represents "the first seminal work to which the label SF can be logically attached".

The Frankenstein story contributes to the widely popular narrative of science fiction originating in the victorian era, with further works from Jules Verne and HG Wells etc reinforcing this. This means the idea that the true origins turn out to be a couple of thousand years earlier is quite a shock to them.

A true story

The 2nd century story was written by Lucian and describes a trip to the moon, meeting aliens and space colonzation. He mockingly titled it "a true story", but pointed out right at that start that it is not true at all. Wikipedia's history of science fiction has it as the first to be recognised as such.

The term "science fiction"

Of course the term itself is relatively new, and probably does indeed have its roots in the Victorian era where advances in physics, mathematics and engineering, plus the might of the industrial revolution, caused many to speculate what the future involving these advances might look like.