© 2016

The History of Science Fiction


Part of the Palgrave Histories of Literature book series (Palgrave Histories of Literature)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxii
  2. Adam Roberts
    Pages 1-23
  3. Adam Roberts
    Pages 25-35
  4. Adam Roberts
    Pages 51-83
  5. Adam Roberts
    Pages 85-119
  6. Adam Roberts
    Pages 121-149
  7. Adam Roberts
    Pages 151-182
  8. Adam Roberts
    Pages 183-225
  9. Adam Roberts
    Pages 253-285
  10. Adam Roberts
    Pages 287-331
  11. Adam Roberts
    Pages 421-462
  12. Adam Roberts
    Pages 479-512
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 513-524

About this book


This book is the definitive critical history of science fiction. The 2006 first edition of this work traced the development of the genre from Ancient Greece and the European Reformation through to the end of the 20th century. This new 2nd edition has been revised thoroughly and very significantly expanded. An all-new final chapter discusses 21st-century science fiction, and there is new material in every chapter: a wealth of new readings and original research. The author’s groundbreaking thesis that science fiction is born out of the 17th-century Reformation is here bolstered with a wide range of new supporting material and many hundreds of 17th- and 18th-century science fiction texts, some of which have never been discussed before. The account of 19th-century science fiction has been expanded, and the various chapters tracing the twentieth-century bring in more writing by women, and science fiction in other media including cinema, TV, comics, fan-culture and other modes.


Romanticism Creative writing Children's literature Utopia Dystopia SF Novels Games Cinema Literary Criticism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishRoyal Holloway, University of London Department of EnglishEghamUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Adam Roberts is Professor of Nineteenth-century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK. He is also the author of more than a dozen science fiction novels: his most recent, Jack Glass (2012) won the BSFA and Campbell awards for the year's best science fiction novel. He has published a number of critical and academic works on science fiction, 19th-century and other topics.

Bibliographic information


“This immensely readable critical survey combines a strong thesis with engaged, provocative and often highly original accounts of an astonishing range and variety of texts. Now thoroughly revised and updated, it makes an indispensable contribution to literary history.” (Patrick Parrinder, Emeritus Professor, University of Reading, UK)

“The revised edition of Professor Roberts's History of Science Fiction is a truly comprehensive history of European and American SF.  The second edition preserves most of the major arguments and interpretations from the first, and adds a wealth of new material. This is likely to become the standard work in the field.” (Lewis W. Call, author of “BDSM in American Science Fiction and Fantasy”)

“Roberts’s deft anatomisation of the evolution of science fiction, from deep roots in Ancient Greek literature to its present preeminence in popular culture, is remarkably wide-ranging and marvellously detailed. A meticulous, entertaining, essential critical resource.” (Paul McAuley, author of “Fairyland, The Quiet War, and Into Everywhere”)