Science Fiction - The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future
A transformative exploration of the development of science fiction as a central driving force of humanity’s evolution.
A transformative exploration of the development of science fiction as a central driving force of humanity’s evolution.
An evolutionary and transformative journey through the history of science fiction from the innermost passions and dreams of the human spirit to the farthest reaches of the universe, human imagination, and beyond.
'...a grand vision of the role of science fiction in the progress of human consciousness.'
Dr. Karlheinz Steinmüller, Winner of the Kurd Lasswitz Award
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Thomas Lombardo’s “Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future” puts the history of science fiction in the much broader context of the evolution of human future consciousness through the ages. The fresh and inspiring perspective of regarding science fiction as evolutionary mythology of the future opens up new ways to consider its roots and the intellectual developments that fed into it – from ancient myths and Greek philosophy through pivotal medieval thinkers to the 19th century. The book is tremendously well researched, based on an intimate knowledge of the history of mythology and philosophy and, last but not least, it breathes the huge enthusiasm of its author for science fiction. Vol. 1 of the planned series is an inspiring reading as well for the academic as for the lover of science fiction - with lots of insights into its sources and evolutionary stages, its main tributaries and overarching themes. On the whole the book presents a grand vision of the role of science fiction in the progress of human consciousness. ~ Dr. Karlheinz Steinmüller, Science Fiction Author and Futurist, Winner of the Kurd Lasswitz Award
Lombardo’s book is a brilliant piece of work and I loved reading it. For us who love science fiction, Lombardo's excellent book should not only become a 'must read' but ‘obligatory’. The high level of reflections, the many funny examples, the personal approach, and how he succeeds in demonstrating how science fiction, as narratives of the future, is so much more than technological extrapolations and special effects, leave behind a totally different perspective on science fiction than the one dominating our popular contemporary conception of the field. I simply love the way Lombardo approaches the field! ~ Dr. Erik F. Øverland, President of the World Futures Studies Federation,
For those interested in science fiction, cultural history, or the interplay of myth, science, and literature, Tom Lombardo has given us a veritable cornucopia of fascinating and enlightening information about science fiction and its place in the story of civilization. For those of us interested in the history of ideas and especially the role played by science fiction in the evolution of consciousness and our awareness of the future, Lombardo’s work will be the touchstone for many years to come. ~ Allan Leslie Combs, Ph.D., CIIS Professor of Consciousness Studies
Thomas Lombardo’s magisterial exploration of science fiction’s mythological dimension is meticulously researched but personal and accessible. I wish I’d had this to read when I began writing science fiction, and I know it will be invaluable to futures researchers who want to incorporate science-fictioning as a part of their practice. I eagerly look forward to the next volume. ~ Karl Schroeder , Science Fiction Author of Lady of Mazes, Ventus, and Sun of Suns
"Tom Lombardo dives into some of the eternal questions of science fiction, its relationship with tomorrow, with the universe, and with the vastly more complex realm within each human brain and heart." ~ David Brin , Science Fiction Author of Startide Rising, The Uplift War, The Postman, and Existence
Once again, Dr. Lombardo has taken a subject previously visited by many other writers and brought a new eye and a broader vision to Vol. I of his analysis of the cultural history of science fiction. I heartily endorse his decision to look much earlier for the roots of the genre than is usual and his expansive view of what influences to include in his analysis. It is this sort of rich discussion that has consistently rewarded me as a reader of his work over the years. I look forward to the second volume. ~ Timothy C. Mack, Former President World Future Society
Tom first encountered the Martians in the movies when he was six years old, and has never left science fiction since. With great knowledge about the most important authors and influential ideas through the centuries, Tom takes us on a journey into the unknown and introduces us to diverse ways of reflection on the deepest issues of existence and human reality, covering areas such as philosophy, mythology, and science along the way. For Tom, the history of science fiction reflects the history of humankind. Although the book delves into human history, its strength lies in the way it highlights an approach about the future for the future. We agree with Tom when he says: “Science fiction is the most visible, influential, and popular modern form of futurist thinking and imagination in the contemporary world.” Science fiction is the key to understanding our world, and his comprehensive treatment of the topic is a virtue of the book. Tom demonstrates the fascinating ability to reveal to us through the multiple authors he has read—in which he has had a real immersion—vastly different worlds with different dimensions of mind. He shows us that we are capable of connecting our greatest ideals and deepest desires through living and feeling possible futures. The Martians are almost here. The past is now present but at the same time moving into the future. It is an evolutionary story. As Tom states, science fiction is about the future of everything, not just a story about science and technology; it is about the hopes and fears of the human psyche. And in finishing volume one, Prometheus to the Martians, we might think that Tom has said it all about science fiction. This is not the case, for at the end he announces a second volume in the book series. I, for one, am thankful." ~ Guillermina Baena Paz, Ph.D., Vice-President of Latin American region, World Futures Studies Federation
The future is a contentious topic for many. Literature academics typically deride science fiction as a subpar genre while science academics belittle futures studies as a soft science even below most social sciences. However, as a combined topic, Lombardo explores humanity's perspectives of the future by tracing the history of the art of science fiction and the history of the scientific study of foresight, and shows how these two human endeavors, which often interweave, are noble attempts to intellectually grapple with the unknown and the unknowable while often inspiring human progress. It is a fascinating read for sf fans and academics alike. ~ Dennis Draeger, Futurist and Senior Researcher, Shaping Tomorrow Lead Consultant Aiglatson Foresight Research
“From the double viewpoint of a French social scientist and passionate reader/teacher of science-fiction and an international futurist, I can witness the huge yet mostly undervalued impact of science-fiction on the way we create our images of the future. With his new book, Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future, Thomas LOMBARDO adds a much needed contribution to the path begun with Gaston BERGER and Fred POLLACK. Too often considered as a literary sub-gender, science-fiction is indeed a deep revealer of our worldviews, paradigms, hopes, fears and blindspots. Digging even deeper, Tom clearly exposes the postmodernity of science-fiction as a contemporary myth founder, building the hopes and opening the possibilities for disruptive novelty to happen. The amazingly broad and accurate knowledge Tom displays along his diachronic brilliant analysis, has already made of this first volume a "must-read" and a now unavoidable reference book in the study both of the science-fiction and of the future.” Fabienne GOUX-BAUDIMENT CEO of proGective, Research Centre for Futures Studies Associate Professor at ISTIA, University of Angers (France), Founding member of the French Society for Foresight Former President of the World Futures Studies Federation ~ Fabienne GOUX-BAUDIMENT, Former President of the World Futures Studies Federation
"In the endless unrolling of postmodern epistemologies, we have realized that it is important to consider various formats, methodologies, and theories in evaluating research outcomes, but also what is the nature of research in itself. It is critical to explore the narrative possibilities of alternative formats to objective and abstract reporting. In this regard, a whole new world of opportunities is opening to both scientific and applied analysis of the real. Science fiction best captures the possibilities of storytelling to reach visions and envision futures way beyond what scientific exposition can do. Who better than Verne, Robida, and Wells, just to name a few, sketched the world as we experience it today in the previous century? In this new work, renowned futurist Tom Lombardo provides an extensive review of the history of the future as it once was in the words of writers, novelists and talented minds within science fiction (as well as philosophy and science). This makes "Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future" a must have for both Sci Fi fans as well as professional futurists". ~ Marco Bevolo, Founder, Marco Bevolo Consulting—Lecturer / Researcher, NHTV University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands
Mythology’s Scientific Evolution: Thomas Lombardo’s forthcoming work Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future seems every bit as comprehensive in scope and meticulous in detail as his latest publication, Future Consciousness: The Path to Purposeful Evolution (due out this Fall, 2017). Beyond scholarly, the first book of his projected multi-volume history of science fiction reads like a labor of love. It honors a scientifically framed genre that in space films of his youth first opened Lombardo’s eyes to imagine much wider possibilities of a mythical human future than ordinary boyhood pursuits allowed. Now an accomplished futurist recognized worldwide, Tom Lombardo views science fiction as a powerful public mythology attuned to our technologically advancing times. The first of his volumes on the genre, subtitled Prometheus to the Martians, begins with a cogent analysis of how religions, cosmologies, and heroic sagas of ancient times and places provided coherent world-views that embodied shared mythologies, illuminating every aspect of daily life and culture with transcendent meaning. Using numerous aptly chosen examples from speculative philosophy, literature, and emerging sciences Lombardo then charts a detailed course through the centuries to the more widely creative and speculative scientific mythologies of our own times. Lombardo shows how early modern science fiction writers began to adapt and rework an inheritance of ancient archetypes and narrative forms of mythology, in endlessly novel ways opened up by rapidly accumulating scientific insights into the universe, made possible by accelerating technological advance. In films, novels, fan magazines, comics, TV serials, and films with impressively immense visual and sonic effects, science fiction today explores timely issues and increasingly possible futures, whether hopeful or fearful, utopian or dystopian. The first volume of Tom Lombardo’s engaging history of science fiction suggests how the most sophisticated and thoughtful works of the genre can create “grand narratives” spanning all of space, time, and human experience, exploring manifold dimensions of inner spirit and outer cosmos. Offering mythological vistas hauntingly familiar yet newly imaginative, the best modern science fiction creates anew what Lombardo terms a “totally immersive” sense of the wondrous possibilities of being alive, in a mysteriously evolving and expansive cosmos—awaiting our wise of choice possible futures. His second volume promises an equally exciting trip through a wide variety of more recent works! ~ Donald H. Sanborn, Associate Professor Emeritus, Philosophy and Humanities, City Colleges of Chicago
Thomas Lombardo has provided a comprehensive exploration of science fiction as a model for integrating the studies of human evolution, scientific progress, and mythological narratives, ultimately advancing our understanding of and relationship with the future. The dramas (and comedies) that flow through these diverse stories both challenge us to face our fears of the unknown and inspire us to envision possibilities, of which the future—like the imagination—holds multitudes. ~ Cynthia Wagner, Consulting Editor for AAI Foresight and former Editor of The Futurist.
“As a futurist, it is part of my work to read science fiction. I’m lucky that I love it and always have. I had not previously considered the history of science fiction at any length: Tom Lombardo’s book is helpful in this regard. I really enjoyed his introduction and his personal story of how he came to love science fiction—a journey not dissimilar to my own. From there, he examines the genre from a number of different perspectives, including mythology, ancient history to modern history, evolution, science, and extra-terrestrial adventures. In reading Lombardo’s book, it interesting to see how the genre has developed over time and how it links into the human narrative. While not a light read, the book provides excellent food for thought. I look forward to Volume Two!” Patricia Lustig Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce CEO of LASA Insight Ltd and Director, Unlocking Foresight Know-How CIC Author of Strategic Foresight: Learning from the Future ~ Patricia Lustig, Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce
Professor Lombardo’s encyclopedic assessment of science fiction as a uniquely evolutionary art form is mind candy of the highest order—must reading for serious fans of the genre. ~ Oliver Markley, Professor Emeritus, Graduate Studies of the Future, University of Houston-Clear Lake
"Tom Lombardo knows science fiction – really knows it. I've heard him speak, and the passion and love he brings to the topic is electrifying." ~ Brenda Cooper, Science Fiction Author of Wilders, Edge of Dark, and Spear of Light
“As a foresight practitioner, science fiction is both implicitly and explicitly an important part of my work. Tom Lombardo’s book provides foresight practitioners with a great foundation of knowledge about science fiction as mythology and a serious source of future stories and thoughts to inspire the people and organizations they work with. Professionals who concern themselves with the future and long term planning should read this book to gain more insights into their own myths about the future as well as to broaden their minds. The book provides an overview of important questions about the future of humankind and how we as a society decide how to shape our future. Tom Lombardo’s book gives us insight in classic and modern science fiction and best of all points out that there is hope for the future.” ~ Silke den Hartog - de Wilde, School of Foresight, Netherlands
“In this remarkable book, Tom Lombardo views science fiction as a form of evolutionary psychology for the future. Rather than being juvenile and superficial, it is actually conscious-raising and expansive, whether by accident or design, enabling its readers to experience their personal connection to the cosmos. In this reader-friendly book, Lombardo uses selections from well-known science fiction authors to exemplify his points. Once readers finish their journey through these pages, I suspect that they will never peruse science fiction stories or novels the same way again!” ~ Stanley Krippner, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University, co-author of Personal Mythology