March 17, 2011
Ward Shelley’s tentacled map of the history of science fiction, a finalist in the annual exhibition contest of the Science Mapping program at Indiana University, traces the physiological relations of fantastic literature, from the pseudopodian emanations of animism and myth to the cerebral explosion of the Enlightenment and the glandular confabulations of the Romantics, to the blasts and vesicles of Pulp. It’s splendid even if — as the detail above shows —Shelley’s scheme is missing the name of a certain well-defined period in the history of the genre. There’s lots of good stuff in the guts of this old one, though; the whole image is well worth a visit. And see Shelley’s own web site for a host of similar — and similarly inspired — schemata (and where Shelley hints that a poster may be in the works).