Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future
Volume Two: The Time Machine to Metropolis
Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future
Volume Three: Superman to Star Maker
An evolutionary and transformative journey through the history of science fiction, from ancient to contemporary times, exploring the innermost passions and dreams of the human spirit, the most expansive cosmic creations of thought and imagination, and the farthest reaches of the universe and beyond.
Continuing his in-depth evolutionary history of science fiction Tom Lombardo examines science fiction literature, art, cinema, and comics, and the impact of culture, philosophy, science, technology, and futures studies on the development of science fiction. These two new volumes also describe the reciprocal influence of science fiction on human society and the evolution of future consciousness.
Volume Two covers the years 1895 to 1930, and includes an extensive discussion of H. G. Wells and his numerous science fiction novels and futurist publications. Also covered in-depth are Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang ’s classic silent movie Metropolis. Other key figures discussed in Volume Two include Méliès, Zamyatin, Gernsback, Burroughs, Merritt, Huxley, and Hodgson.
Volume Three primarily focuses on the 1930s, covering the phenomenon of Superman and key authors such as Čapek, Hamilton, “Doc” Smith, Campbell, Lovecraft, C. A. Smith, and Williamson. Volume Three concludes with an extensive philosophical examination of Olaf Stapledon ’s Last and First Men and Star Maker.
Some of the key themes and topics addressed in the two volumes include: Dystopian and utopian visions of the future; the meaning of progress and the meaning of life; the future evolution of the human conscious mind and the possible emergence of psychic powers and collective forms of intelligence; the ethics and philosophy of space operas and super-heroes; technology, robots, and human society; technological intelligence; alien mentality and alien civilizations; time travel, time loops, and time wars; global war, catastrophes, and world-wide disasters; science and religion; fear and horror, and hope and wonder in science fiction; and the significance of the theory of evolution in the development of science fiction.
Lombardo’s encyclopedic knowledge of science fiction is phenomenal. In the comprehensive second and third volumes of his series “Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future” he explores the literary and sociological relevance of literally hundreds of works from this wide-ranging genre. Beginning with the prolific “father of modern science fiction,” H.G. Wells, “Volume Two: The Time Machine to Metropolis” takes us from the late nineteenth through the early twentieth century. “Volume Three: Superman to Star Maker” continues from there, exploring the popularization of the field, its themes, and its tropes. An extensive and sweeping reference series for readers of this exciting and thought-provoking field.
Richard Yonck, Association of Professional Futurists and Author of Heart of the Machine and Future Minds
In Lombardo’s second volume in this series on the history of science fiction he continues delivering breakthrough insights and stunning perspectives. Based on his basic assumption that "human nature, psychologically and biologically, is not a constant", he guides us through the first 25 years of the 20th century. His presentations and reflections on H. G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs are world-class. By relating these authors and many more to science and the field of futures research this volume not only is an original contribution to the history of science fiction, but much more it is a scientific inquiry itself, which expands our understanding of our visions of the future, both present and past. Again Lombardo has succeeded in creating a brilliant piece of work. For us who love science fiction, Lombardo’s excellent second volume together with the first one, should become a “must read and obligatory.
Dr. Erik F. Øverland, President of the World Futures Studies Federation
In the first volume of his history of science fiction, Thomas Lombardo analyzed the concept scientifically and historically to reveal all its richness. He explored in-depth the close links between myth and science, and the desire to know and the refusal to see, all of which are embodied in science fiction stories. The next two volumes constitute a new reference work, not only for the study of science fiction, but also for the entire field of futures studies. Indeed, Lombardo definitively demonstrates what the scientific study of the future owes to science fiction. While technological progress feeds fiction, the expressions of dystopias and utopias serve as a safeguard. From superheroes to star makers, science fiction simply tells a narrative about humanity that has not yet happened. A huge gratitude to Tom Lombardo for sharing with us this deciphering of our fears and aspirations that influences the fabric of our future every day, especially in this time of great upheaval.
Fabienne Goux-Baudiment, Founding member of the French Society for Foresight and Former President of the World Futures Studies Federation
I am very grateful to Dr. Lombardo for this thorough survey of science fiction of the period between the Time Machine and Metropolis, much of which I had not been aware of. His generous breadth of vision encompasses both science fiction literature and the movies, art, and even comics of the period (such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers). This was a time of wonder and optimism as the scientific developments of the period drove cultural change and enhanced the cult of progress. Further, Lombardo’s investigation reaches beyond English language literature to the work of Eastern European and Russian authors, and thus further enhances its value, with landmark works such as We and stories by J.-H. Rosny Aîné covered in this volume. I must extend my thanks to the author for shining a light on what I consider some of the lesser know gems of science fiction, such as The Night Land by William Hope Hodgson.
I offer appreciation to Lombardo for opening up a whole new universe of books to devour with his awesomely knowledgeable volume two! I now have a much better understanding of how science fiction has interacted with surrounding culture and developing technologies over the decades covered in volume two. In many cases, it is the science fiction writers who are the first to see the social and cultural impacts of technological developments and are the ones best able to portray these shifts in the form of engaging stories, which are often more easily understood than the often academic and didactic pronouncements of classic futurists.
Timothy C. Mack, Esq., Former President World Future Society and Founder of AAI Foresight
The book magnificently recounts H.G.Wells' works and recalls something that is critical today: Humanity will only change after a great tragedy. By reading this book one can delve into numerous utopias that criticize the conditions of today's society and that promote solutions that today are of great value. The book contains a wide variety of works of fiction that allow us to reflect on emerging technologies and whether they could bring benefit or harm to humanity. The book also examines a series of dystopias dominated by totalitarian governments, which are of great use in today's times, given the alarming number of populist governments worldwide. Lombardo’s book allows us to understand what the future could be like, based on the imagination of many authors.
The book also raises questions about the role of science fiction: Is it just to entertain, or does it also serve to educate and forecast about the future? Are there differences between science fiction and fantasy? Can science fiction only relate plausible facts, or can it go above and beyond to widen the imagination of human beings? The only way to find answers to these intriguing questions is to read through this impressive work.
Dr. Jean Paul Pinto
Laboratory of Imagination and Materialization of the Future, Quito-Ecuador
Lombardo strongly delivers in his second book on the history of science fiction by renewing his precise style based on an impeccable taxonomy of works and authors. His erudition has enabled him to create excellent expositions on the giants of the genre, from H.G.Wells to Edgar Rice Burroughs. Particularly vivid are the first two chapters on Wells, providing a deep analysis of his ideas, and with impeccable style his later chapters on cinema and popular culture covering Metropolis and Flash Gordon. Futurists, foresight consultants, and future researchers can benefit from Lombardo’s reflections on key contemporary topics, such as utopia and dystopia, which are some of the central issues in these professional and academic fields.
Marco Bevolo, PhD. Founder, Marco Bevolo Consulting, and former Director, Philips Design, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
This book is a thorough reference work for specialists and aficionados alike... With rigor and appreciation, Lombardo examines the seminal works of science fiction in their larger context, always placing his descriptions and commentary in the broader history of science fiction – what came before, what comes after – and the ongoing evolution of future consciousness.
Lombardo poses challenging questions for his readers, he reflects on them himself, and engages the reader in reflecting too. This is a form of thought-provoking, interactive action-research at its best. You come away richer after each chapter...The reader’s imagination is set free to soar in so many passages of this book.
Hank Kune, EDUCORE and the World Futures Studies Federation
Professor Lombardo has given us a fine history of science fiction, sketched out and filled in with detail. Included in the bargain is a history that places the entire panorama in a rich cultural context. As a scholar of consciousness, I am also delighted by his extensive treatment of author Olaf Stapleton, who wrote Star Maker with a deep understanding of consciousness itself and its possible futures. Lombardo is an excellent writer and a pleasure to read. Enjoy this fine review of an entire dimension of culture and literature often unseen and unsuspected.
Allan Leslie Combs, Ph.D.
Professor of Consciousness Studies, CIIS and Past President of The Society of
Consciousness Studies, Author of Consciousness Explained Better and Mind in Time
An inspiring reading about a pivotal period of science fiction! When you look at the science fiction of the 1930s and 1940s “through the eyes of evolution,” as Tom Lombardo does, fascinating speculations about the long term biological, technical, and even psychological future of mankind come into view. Ample space is given the paradigmatic works of Olaf Stapledon, after H. G. Wells the most influential science fiction writer. But the book is highly knowledgeable also about near forgotten authors like Nat Schachner. In sum, volume three of the series is not only a joyful and informative reading; for persons who want to understand the central thread in the evolution of science fiction the volume is absolutely indispensable.
Dr. Karlheinz Steinmüller, Science Fiction Author and Futurist, Winner of the Kurd Lasswitz Award