For all its concern with change in the present and future, science fiction is deeply rooted in the past and, surprisingly, engages especially deeply with the ancient world. Indeed, both as an area in which the meaning of “classics” is actively transformed and as an open-ended set of texts whose own ‘classic’ status is a matter of ongoing debate, science fiction reveals much about the roles played by ancient classics in modern times.
Classical Traditions in Science Fiction—edited by Brett M. Rogers and Benjamin Eldon Stevens—is the first collection dedicated to the rich study of science fiction’s classical heritage, offering a much-needed mapping of its cultural and intellectual terrain. Available February 9th from Oxford University Press, this volume discusses a wide variety of representative examples from both classical antiquity and the past four hundred years of science fiction, exposing the many levels on which science fiction engages the ideas of the ancient world, from minute matters of language and structure to the larger thematic and philosophical concerns.
Below, Vince Tomasso explores the role of classical antiquity, myths, and tradition in Battlestar Galactica.