The Placement of Lucian’s Novel True History in the Genre of Science Fiction

Katelis Viglas

Abstract


Among the works of the ancient Greek satirist Lucian of Samosata, well-known for his scathing and obscene irony, there is the novel True History. In this work Lucian, being in an intense satirical mood, intended to undermine the values of the classical world. Through a continuous parade of wonderful events, beings and situations as a substitute for the realistic approach to reality, he parodies the scientific knowledge, creating a literary model for the subsequent writers. Without doubt, nowadays, Lucian’s large influence on the history of literature has been highlighted. What is missing is pointing out the specific characteristics that would lead to the placement of True History at the starting point of Science Fiction. We are going to highlight two of these features: first, the operation of “cognitive estrangement”, which aims at providing the reader with the perception of the difference between the convention and the truth, and second, the use of strange innovations (“novum”) that verify the value of Lucian’s work by connecting it to historicity.

Keywords


Lucian of Samosata; True History; satire; estrangement; “novum”; Science Fiction

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2016.21.1.13

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)