Science fiction in the late 20th century

Introduction

It is difficult to briefly summarise the second half the 20th century, as the science fiction genre expanded in many different directions and countless works were published across various media. We will therefore limit our focus to some of the main trends – a few historical notes on the Space Race, a quick look at some influential authors, a brief study of new or evolving subgenres, and some notes on major franchises in the movie and TV world.

The Space Race and science fiction

In the real world, the second half the 20th century was dominated by the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union – a tense, decades-long conflict which featured a massive arms race and various proxy wars, but few direct confrontations between the two superpowers.

Though most associate the Cold War with the threat of global nuclear annihilation, it also had a much less violent aspect which had great scientific and cultural impact: The Space Race. 

The Space Race was the popular terms for the US and the Soviet Union's competing efforts to explore outer space. The first highlight of the Space Race was the Soviet Union’s successful attempt to send a human being into space i...

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