Wed. Jan 26th, 2022


Ada Palmer is a professor of European history at the University of Chicago. His four-part science fiction series, Unfamiliar land, It was inspired by 18th century philosophers such as Voltaire and Diedert.

“I wanted to write a story that Voltaire might have written if Voltaire had read the valuable science fiction of the last 70 years and had all the tools at his disposal,” Palmer said in episode 495. Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast

Palmer states that Voltaire may indeed be considered the first science fiction writer, thanks to an article he wrote in 1752. “Voltaire has a short story called ‘Micromegas’, where an alien comes from Saturn and an alien comes from a star near Sirius. Size, ”he says. “They finally realize that that tiny grain of wood on the ground is a ship, and that it is full of living things and they communicate. So this is a first contact story. “

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein Often considered the first science fiction novel. Voltaire wrote much earlier than Shelley, so deserves the title instead? It depends on your definition of science fiction.

“[‘Micromégas’] Not involved with technology, “says Palmer,” so if you rely on technology to define science fiction – and Frankenstein Meaning, ‘Does human knowledge give us access to more power than we had before? What does that mean? ‘- It is not asking. But alien and first contact is a very basic science fictional element. “

So there is no clear answer to the question of who should be considered as the first science fiction writer. The word is given a fairly loose definition, even liked by a 2nd century writer Lucian of Samosatar May be candidates. In the end, Palmer says it’s more important to ask questions than to arrive at a definite answer.

“I don’t want to argue, ‘Yes, of course, the history of all science fiction should start with Voltaire,'” he says. “But I would argue that everyone’s history of science fiction would be enriched by discussing whether Voltaire was the beginning of science fiction, or whether it was before or after. Because it’s a science fiction question. “

Listen to the full interview with Ada Palmer on episode 495 Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (Above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Ada Palmer at Science Fiction Conferences:

The wonderful thing about science fiction and fantasy fandom, unlike many other literary genres, is that when you go to a conference, the author does not go to the greenroom and only occasionally attends an event and then disappears; Authors are chatting in the halls, and you can chat with people and you get to know people through the internet. So through meeting them at the convention and being a panelist before becoming a writer, I’ve got to know a lot of writers কারণ because I’ll talk about music, or I’ll talk about history, or I’ll talk about anime and manga. And the cosplay, that’s all the field I’ve worked on. So I got to know people through that wonderful and often helpful world, and get to know people.

On Ada Palmer Unfamiliar land Series:

This global network of flying cars is so fast that they can take you from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world in about two hours. So suddenly the distance is decreasing all over the world. You can stay in the Bahamas and have lunch meetings in Tokyo and eat at a restaurant in Paris, and your spouse – who also lives in the Bahamas – can have lunch meetings in Toronto and another in Antarctica, and this is a perfectly reasonable day of travel, especially self-driving. Which allows you to work while in the car. So once this becomes true for a few generations, people don’t live in a place because they have a political relationship, they live in a place because there is a great home that their parents really liked when they bought it. A home, and geography no longer makes sense for determining political identity.

On Ada Palmer Teraforming Mars Board game:

The players are each a corporation, and the United Nations is funding you to promote it, but you are also gaining, and you are competing with other corporations for the best terraform on Mars. Then separately you play it collaboratively, where you say, “Okay, we’re going to ignore each other’s competition for points, and we’re going to work together to make sure all the resources end up in the hands of the company that will use them most efficiently.” You’re going to terrarize Mars better, faster. So the board game is designed to celebrate this capitalist model of placement, but it also shows that just teaming up and helping everyone move forward makes everyone score more and Mars more. Acquires teraforming.

Ada Palmer at Diderot:

[Jacques the Fatalist] Diderot’s bizarre 18th-century philosophical novel is about the perversion of a man who is a servant to his master. It has this wonderfully warm prose style, where Dেরdert directly addresses the reader with the utmost closeness and weakness পড়া reading the book feels like reading a time capsule, where you meet Dেরdert and be his friend, in a way that is very different from any other. Another book I’ve ever read. You seem to have come out of the end of it all.


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