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Mythology and sci-fi both need broad imagination and creativity, but are they related? If related, then how? Are mythologies the inspiration behind sci-fi stories? Maybe or maybe not; let us find out as we go on.
What Do We Know About Mythology?
Looking at the subject matter of mythology is the quickest and most straightforward way to understand it. Myths are traditional tales about gods, kings, and heroes in the broadest sense. Myths frequently describe how the world was created and, on occasion, how it will end. They explain how the gods formed humanity.
In conclusion, myths primarily address the important facets of human and superhuman existence. They show the interactions between different gods and between gods and humans. Additionally, myths describe heroes’ lives who stand for a society’s beliefs. They offer a set of moral principles to follow.
Reading about the numerous ridiculous, savage, humorous, horrific, or emotional events in diverse mythology makes it simple to ignore this. However, because myths address significant issues, they generally possess a certain dignity and eloquence.
Myths are typically well-known narratives representing a corpus of common knowledge and have been passed down through the generations. Usually, the imagination of the populace has formed them. While certain myths may have been created by shamans, priests, or poets, myths are a cultural legacy of prehistoric or prescientific humans.
Myths are frequently taken at face value. They are portrayed as fact rather than as entertaining fiction. Myths were regularly taken for real, even in classical Greece’s sophisticated, knowledgeable civilization. Writers then altered them to make them more plausible and sympathetic when met with skepticism.
A Brief Look at Science Fiction.
Science fiction is a relatively new genre. Though antiquity writers occasionally dealt with themes familiar to modern science fiction, their stories did not attempt scientific and technological plausibility, distinguishing science fiction from earlier speculative writings and other contemporary imaginative genres like fantasy and horror.
Science fiction has expanded significantly from its literary roots by the twenty-first century. Its ardent supporters and practitioners made up a robust global subculture. Science fiction writers frequently seek new scientific and technological advancements to freely predict the techno-social transformations that would shock and extend the readers’ sense of cultural appropriateness.
The seemingly limitless selection of SF-related media and hobbies, such as novels, films, TV shows, computer games, magazines, artwork, comics, and, increasingly, collectible figures, websites, DVDs, and toy weapons, delight fans. They frequently staged well-attended, professionally run conventions where people dressed up, crafts were sold, and folk songs were sung.
The Relation Between Mythology and Science Fiction.
We learned about Mythology and science fiction as individual terms and now let’s see how they are related to each other.
Myths may be everywhere, including in every bite of food, on birdhouses and banks, and infusing even the most mundane conversation with ominous undertones. In this very wide meaning, mythology encompasses the entirety of the civilized and cultivated worlds, everything created by men’s hands and minds, which, for the majority of us, includes all we can see.
There are myths everywhere, but the literature seems to have the most. There they are, lurking in the shadows of even the most plausible tales, posing as neighbors with names like Steven, Edward, Anna, and Emma but easily identifiable as Adam, Oedipus, Ishtar, or Snow White.
We are a species that is similar in the anatomy of the spirit and limited in it. Also constrained are the relationships we can develop with others. Myths can be found throughout literature, but they are particularly prevalent in science fiction, which is the category that includes all distinctly contemporary kinds of fantasy from Tolkien to Borges.
The goal of myths is to maximize meaning by condensing reality to the maximum density that the mind can absorb without, in a sense, frying it. Myths freely draw on the resources of the unconscious mind, that parallel reality where magic still exists and metamorphoses frequently happen, to achieve such compression.
Science fiction writers have a dual responsibility as mythmakers, the first of which is to humanize the terrifying landscapes of the atomic age. The mythmaker frequently finds that the new matches an existing one quite perfectly when searching the heavens for a location to put one of this modern genre.
The second responsibility of science fiction writers as mythmakers is to keep the inherited body of myths alive. A poet created every myth and will remain a vital presence in our culture only as long as it communicates to us with the living breath of living art, as long as it is recounted twice.
Science fiction writers do not have a special need to preserve the corpus of inherited myths. It is a responsibility shared by poets, artists, playwrights, choreographers, musicians, and commentators.
There are also writers who, rather than repeating a specific story, recapitulate the fundamental principles of mythology as they have been systematized by scholars such as the Grimm brothers, Frazer, Graves, and Joseph Campbell.
Goethe’s “Märchen” (perhaps the first artistic folktale), Koch’s Ko, Barth’s Giles Goat-Boy, Hoffmannstahl’s libretto for Die Frau Ohne Schatten, and Naomi Mitchison’s The Corn King and the Spring Queen are examples of such “synthetic tales.”
The writers of the early pulps were not known for their literary sophistication, which is the most obvious explanation. The audience, not the essence of science fiction writers, changed in the early 1960s. Science fiction authors have recently begun to exhibit a strong interest in the preservation side of mythmaking as opposed to the interpretive side in the last ten to fifteen years.
Simply put, it had matured. Naturally, not all readers. There were, are, and will always be people for whom science fiction is their gateway into the world of the golden.
Impact of Mythology on Science and Science Fiction.
People used to gather around their fireplaces at night and tell tales in the ancient world. Stories about their origins, tales of heroic exploits and achievements, and tales that dramatized how people interacted with one another and the environment they lived in. The Homeric Illiad, written in ancient Greek, is one of the oldest and is still read today.
The narrative examines what it means to be a leader and a warrior and how one should accept fate, become famous, and deal with the effects of pride and rage. These tales reinforced society’s communal ideals and beliefs by teaching young people what was expected of them.
Even in scientific inquiry, myths and legends are significant in the modern world. The discovery of penicillin, the discovery of the structure of DNA, the development of vaccines, and the conflicts between Galileo and the early proponents of a sun-centered model of the solar system and the reactionary forces of the Church are just a few examples of significant figures and significant events in science that scientists can tell you about.
These accounts collectively assist budding scientists in comprehending research advantages beyond individual accomplishment and progress.
Though sometimes rigorous historical truth has been compromised to make a point effectively, many scientific myths are grounded in reality. Like this, Homer’s stories were likely based on actual events, such as the Trojan War, but they changed due to his narrative. It seems improbable that the Trojan Horse was a life-size replica of a horse that troops used as cover.
It is critical to recognize that the way we conduct research has evolved. To be successful today, you must obtain large funding and form a research team. A research publication will frequently have more than 20 authors. This “industrialization” of science is both appropriate and required.
It has increased the societal impact of research and enabled scientists to discover and develop new technologies. There is probably nothing remaining that can be found with biscuit tin equipment. But, amid all this change, we haven’t changed how we instill the ethics and ideals of science and research in young researchers.
The popular mythology of great scientists fueled a culture that valued inquiry as a virtue in and of itself. We must develop these stories, curating them by selecting appropriate ones and creating new ones that make valuable arguments.
As scientists committed to the truth, we must ensure that they are true depictions of reality that also reflect the common effort rather than the alleged genius of a few white men.
Every civilization needs myths, and each laboratory requires literature.
How Have Different Mythologies Inspired Science Fiction?
Before the present, numerous peoples and cultures rose and fell, almost all adhering to some form of religion. However, three different mythologies—Greek, Norse, and even a little bit of Roman—will be discussed here.
Greek tales greatly inspired the subsequent Romans. Both current amazing realms and those from the recent past have benefited greatly from the settings of these ages-old sagas.
Greek mythology is where we will start. The great ancient tales, like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, feature various “divinities” and many other lower living forms, such as cyclopses. So many of these make an appearance in C.S. Lewis’ well-known Narnia books. Among those whose names Lewis did not even bother to rename or categorize were centaurs, satyrs, and dryads.
Fauns, the strange people with goat-like legs but a human torso, are another species whose name did not change from Roman mythology to Narnian fiction. However, the idea of the Monocoli, or umbrella-foot people, from ancient Greek mythology may have also found its way into Narnia because of the similarities between their description and that of the Dufflepuds, or Monopods. The latter lives on an island mentioned in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Professor J.R.R. Tolkien was a close friend, colleague, and contemporary of C.S. Lewis. Tolkien, the highly acclaimed author of books like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, drew his examples from history and experience in his field.
Yes, he also made a small contribution to the Greek stories. His Middle-Earth has certain similarities to Lewis’ Narnia. There are many dwarfs in both realms, or dwarfs if you like. This scholarly man, a philologist (one who studies linguistics and literary writings), was well-versed in Latin, Greek, Old Norse, Icelandic, and about twenty other languages.
He was fascinated by Norse mythology, and his stories overtly reference it. As an illustration, the name of Thror the Dwarf is the Norse god Thor with an “r” added. Thorin, the grandson of Thror, is comparable to Thor and Odin in Norse mythology.
The sagas of Tolkien and Lewis have both been adapted for the big screen. Tolkien may have invented hobbits, ents, or orcs, but his terrifying trolls are credited to the Norse, as is the name of the majestic steed Shadowfax, derived from Goldfax, a renowned horse from Norse legend. Norse mythology has inspired Marvel comic heroes such as Thor and Loki, who have undoubtedly made it to the big screen.
Returning our attention to the Greek epics created long before the Norse, we notice that the figures of ancient Greece also aid in developing more of our comic book and cinematic heroes.
Wonder Woman, one of the best films of 2017, has mythology at its core. Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), who originally debuted in comic books in 1941, is a member of the Amazonian people, a legendary race of female warriors whose myths date back to prehistoric times. Penthesileia was one of the most well-known Amazons in Greek mythology.
These instances demonstrate that many of the foundations of our modern fiction entertainment may be traced back to stories that date back thousands of years. So, not only science fiction but mythology inspired the entertainment industry as well.
Hence, after all these theories, stories, and facts, we can be sure that mythology has somewhat inspired science fiction. They are related to each other to some extent and need each to thrive among the readers. The different mythologies have created different impacts on science fiction as well as literature.
To conclude this topic, the answer to whether mythology is related to sci-fi is a complete yes. The two are related but inspire us to revive old tales with new magic.
If you liked this article, then do read this article as well: Can We Record Our Mysterious Dreams in 20 Years? Let’s Explore!As an Amazon Associate, Icy Destiny earns from qualifying purchases.