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Infographic: The History of Science Fiction

If you like to get lost in impossibly large charts like the Stephen King Universe then I have a treat for you.

I’ve just come across a drawing/infographic/chart by Ward Shelley which plots the history of science fiction from its earliest precursors, the epic myths lost to time, through the enlightenment and the gothic novel to the birth of the first true SF novel, Frankenstein.

Things get awfully complicated after that point as SF branches off into multiple subgenres which split and recombine in surprising ways. Click on the infographic below to see more detail.

But before you get lost in the drawing, I wanted to point out that you can buy this as a print. At 40″ by 22″ it is not a large poster, but it is an expensive one.  It cost me $44.

Too much, do you think?

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

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Greg Strandberg June 29, 2015 um 2:48 am

Pretty clear how much the Hugo and Nebula dominate the new space opera and cyberpunk categories. Cool infographic, thanks for sharing!

fjtorres June 29, 2015 um 8:35 am

Nice chart.
Big problems in the New Space Opera area:

NO. BUJOLD???!!!

No modern military SF at all?

Who commissioned this thing? TOR?
When you exclude and entire genre *and* prominently feature L. Ron Hubbard and recent LeGuin…

Not. Good.

fjtorres June 29, 2015 um 8:38 am

No modern alternate history, either.
C’mon! No Turtledove? Flint? Stirling?

If they’d drawn a line at the turn of the century it might be tolerable but that listing does not cover contemporary SF well at all.

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2015 um 9:51 am

They got Vinge, including the later works. I think Doctorow is also on there.

Nate Hoffelder June 29, 2015 um 9:12 am

Bujold is mentioned several times (about 2 to 3 o clock). Let me go see if the others can be found.

fjtorres June 29, 2015 um 11:34 am

Oh, yeah…
They have her listed as "cyberpunk".
Obviously they haven’t read her.

Gbm June 29, 2015 um 2:03 pm

I did not find Andre Norton or Murray Leinster, can tot have a chart without them.

Sharon Reamer June 30, 2015 um 4:26 am

Why is Fantasy lumped in with Science Fiction but as a poor cousin tentacle at the bottom and then only a smidgen of it? I wouldn’t have paid anything for this.

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