The review series on Brian Stableford’s Opening Minds: Essays on Fantastic Literature continues.
Review: “Science Fiction and the Mythology of Progress“, Brian Stableford, 1977.
Combining his training as a sociologist and literary criticism of science fiction, Stableford does a concise summary of the myth of human progress and how science fiction has used it.
Starting in the 18th century, the notion of progress in human affairs, “softened” manners, enlightened minds, and nations being connected by commerce, a move toward “still higher perfection” as French philosopher Turgot put it, started to appear.
It was an improvement sought in knowledge and technology.
However, soon the grandiose idea of “human perfectibility” was espoused by the French philosopher Marquis de Condorcet.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels also saw progress in human affairs though not pushed by knowledge but its manifestations in production technologies. Continue reading