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Note 3. DarkSF Literature (Examples)

Novels Writing (literature) far more richly includes Homer's c750 BCE Iliad and Odyssey with their fantasy and technical elements (Wooden Horse part of the saga, though added after Homer's time); Plato's c360 BCE Timaios; Daniel Defoe's 1719 Robinson Crusoe; and a string of modern novels of ideas including those mentioned below (Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Herman Melville's 1851 Moby-Dick) plus H. G. Wells' 1895 The Time Machine; Aldous Huxley's 1931 Brave New World; George Orwell's 1948 Nineteen Eighty-Four with the last two digits purposely switched; Ray Bradbury's 1953 Fahrenheit 451; William Golding's 1955 Lord of the Flies and 1956 The Inheritors; and many more, including 21st Century works

Many (perhaps most) Classics are SF, and the best of those are DarkSF. The finest poetic, artistic SFFH themes glorify the best DarkSF, which I call the Dark Chocolate of Science Fiction. That includes many works on your English Department syllabus, including much of Classical literature (Homer; Virgil; Ovid's Metamorphoses,etc.) plus Franz Kafka's The Trial and Fritz Lang's film Metropolis and George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and H.G. Wells's The Time Machine and…but you get the idea. The list is endless. And they play on each other. For example, Homer has us visit the Underworld (Chthonos) in his Odyssey (c750 BCE, which is reputed by Herodotus to have had even more ancient Egyptian provenance); Virgil (on the cusp between BC and AD) turns The Odyssey around in his Aeneid, whose Chapter VI has a notoriously powerful Underworld journey; and Dante Alighieri (roughly 1300 CE) makes a trip into the Inferno—which means 'below,' not 'hot' but mistaken for forno, oven or furnace—with his guide, who is none other than the ghost of Virgil… Imaginative literature is the norm, not the outlier. At its best, it is archetypal, begging for remakes and reinterpretations from one generation to the next; and thus these works tend to play off of each other. I'll discuss some of William Shakespeare's imaginative writings soon, which were usually borrowed from other sources, and have been reborrowed time and again as befits great archetypes. For example, Stephenie Meyers says she was inspired to write her highly successful and popular vampire series Twilight by Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, which (like most of his work) borrows from recent or ancient sources; and E. L. James launched her enormously successful popular work Fifty Shades of Grey while toying with fan fiction at a website for Twilight fans, but James felt compelled "by a midlife crisis" to make it a more sexual story than Meyers'. Mention vampires (which occur in Meyers but not James) and you have a form of speculative fiction. It's all connected, in short.


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