Science Fiction Horror and its Roots in the Gothic

The Gothic style of literature focusses on darkness, fear, drama and tension all are key elements in Science Fiction Horror. Gothic style of writing became prevalent in the 18th century with its focus on dreary landscapes, high tension, exotic and mysterious storylines. Many of these stories took place in old dark castles that emphasized the dark and grit of the Gothic style, these stories also had elements of romance in them to offset the darkness. The emphasis on fear and tension brings these stories closer to the Horror genre. Many stories came out during this time that started to move towards the Science Fiction Horror genre. Works such as those by Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein all┬ácame out in 18th century and very much followed the style of the Gothic genre. This however was also the beginning of Science Fiction Horror as a genre, many of these stories have themes prevalent in the SF Horror genre as well. The main storyline behind Frankenstein is the mad scientist motif and science gone awry which is a theme prominent in Science Fiction Horror. The elements which make a story fit the Gothic genre also give it its Horror aspects, and with much fear surrounding new technology and scientific advances many of these stories also concerned SF.

2 thoughts on “Science Fiction Horror and its Roots in the Gothic”

  1. By arguing that science fiction and fantasy have similar concepts is plausible. Yet the problem with this view is that fantasy is based on myth created in earlier eras were they used such fantasies and myths to keep children obedient. Dracula is a fantasy based on Vlad the impaler whose blood thirsty methods of killing and displaying his enemies corpses earned him that idea of being a vampire. Frankenstein is a cross-over between the two however it still maintained the more fantastical elements. But the idea of using dead bodies and composite human parts held together with metal could have actually spawned the idea of cyborgs. Cyborgs as well all know is the human robot hybrid, and are a common idea in science fiction novels and short stories. From the science fiction novels i have read i have yet to see any creature similar to the idea of Dracula. I will also agree that science fiction and fantasy books do sometimes share a similar concept of Gothic motif were the entirety of the book is written as if there is a shadow or sub human entity following them around and making their lives terrible.

  2. I think that this an excellent point. My belief is that in the future our modern sci fi stories will be their Gothic. While the older stories rely on the mad scientist newer ones go to different approaches. A newer version of Dracula that was on TV looked at Drac trying to be able to find a cure so that he could walk in daylight, making him a kinder, softer Drac. Fighting against an evil force that made him a vampire and developing a never ending power source not dependent on oil.
    Todays Gothic really is a mix of sci fi and horror.
    I also agree that cyborgs are the new Frankenstein and will carry on for the foreseeable future.

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