Novum actually means novel, unprecedented. With science fiction novels, their locale may be on other planets, their technology may be beyond capabilities at the time of the writing, or their characters may be aliens. These narratives can simply be action-packed tales set in otherworldly or futuristic settings. However, many use futuristic concepts, such as time travel, aliens, parallel universes, space travel, and newly-imagined technologies, to explore the effects of what is happening with the human race here on planet Earth.
The science fiction genre is not a modern development. What some consider the first science-fiction novel was penned by Lucian, a satirist from the 2nd century AD. It was titled A True Story. He used themes and even tropes that still characterize modern science fiction. Historians have difficulty in categorizing this work as purely science fiction, however. Consequently, it is also classified as satire and fantasy.
Lucian used his tale to criticize the tales of men such as Homer, who he felt were liars with their mythological stories. It was in Lucian’s depiction of an alternate world, defined by Darko Suuvin as cognitive estrangement, and other current themes that has placed his work firmly in the science fiction genre.
If you do your research, you will find that science fiction works have expanded in their scope, perhaps due to the actual realization of many of the social and technological advancements over the centuries.
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