Quick: what was the first Science Fiction novel? I, Robot by Issac Asimov (1950)? The Time Machine by H.G. Wells (1895)? Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)?
The answer is “none of the above”– what is commonly agreed as the first Science Fiction novel was Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, published in 1818, written by Mary Shelly. Not quite what you’d think. Frankenstein, or, rather, Frankenstein’s monster, is a common figure around Halloween as the star of one of Universal’s classic monster movies. Frankenstein (1931) is a horror classic, and one of the first movies to be almost lying when it says “based on the novel by”. The novel is actually a lot darker, and more people die, but it also has a wildly different plot, so there’s that.
But still, since its inception, Science Fiction has been tied to horror and Gothic fiction. And historically, that makes sense– Science Fiction couldn’t really happen until science happened, and it also couldn’t really happen until the invention of the novel. Both of these things converged in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, during the Enlightenment. When you start learning the history of genres of literature, a lot of things begin to make sense.
Science Fiction is a very malleable genre. It goes with everything, like a good pair of jeans. Pair it with fantasy, and you have Star Wars. Pair it with historical fiction, and you have steampunk. Pair it with political thriller, and you have 1984, The Hunger Games, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451— basically any dystopian fiction. Pair it with horror..?
Much like a good pair of jeans, when paired, Science Fiction is more of a secondary genre. It lends its aesthetics and settings, sometimes a plot device or two, in order to service the main genre. Superhero fiction, for example, uses element of Science Fiction, but is mainly Action-Adventure. When Science Fiction takes the lead, however, that’s when things get interesting– especially when it comes to horror.
The World is Quiet Here
valeriemclean1919 A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket, Movies, Secret Organizations, Secrets That Can Never Be Told Even To Your Closest Associate, Secrets That Must Be Told, Secrets That Your Worst Enemy Already Knows, Television, The Baudelaire Orphans, The Sugar Bowl, VFD About Film, About TV, About Writing 0 Comments
The post that you are about to read is not very pleasant, because anything regarding the tragic story of the Baudelaire Orphans is, by definition, unpleasant. While I have made the choice to relay the information, opinions, and theories that I have about the events surrounding the burning of the Baudelaire mansion and what became of the three bright, brave, and resourceful children that once lived there, you can make the choice not to read it. If you have mistakenly opened the link to this, close it, and continue on with your day. If you came here looking for puttanesca recipes, might I suggest another website. If you are averse, a word which here means “repelled by”, to forced child labor, secret organizations, or clowns, then do not read any further. You have been warned.
There are two kinds of people in this world– those who start fires, and those who put them out. Both feature in the Netflix retelling of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, though who is which is often difficult to tell. A firefighter, for instance, might put out literal fires as part of their job, but might cause figurative fires by creating massive problems that others then have to solve. A secretary might be very good at solving their boss’ problems, but might also be an arsonist. Lemony Snicket put himself in charge of putting out the massive figurative fire that is the mishandling of the Baudelaire Orphans, perhaps because he was too late to put out the literal fire that burned down their mansion and killed their parents. I myself have locked the door to my room and prepared the window as an escape route in case of any fire, literal or figurative.
After all, if there’s nothing out there, what was that noise?