What is the oldest science fiction story? It doesn't need to be set in the future, it could also be set in the past or a combination of the two. Plese include the author, thanks!

  • Closely related to scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/142142/… and scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/93537/…. You may want to clearly define what you consider qualifies as science fiction.
    – Jack
    Nov 18, 2016 at 5:30
  • @Jack No, that question was about science fiction stories in the Middle Ages, and the oldest science fiction story seems to be Lucian's "True History" from before the Middle Ages. Which someone posted, wrongly, as an answer to that other question.
    – user14111
    Nov 18, 2016 at 5:37
  • @user14111 I never said they were duplicates, just related, anyone who finds this question interesting is probably also going to be interested in those.
    – Jack
    Nov 18, 2016 at 5:41
  • Also related: Who was the earliest female science fiction writer?
    – Molag Bal
    Nov 18, 2016 at 5:57
  • Agreed, defining what you mean by science fiction is probably important for this question. Strictly speaking, such assumptions come into play whenever people use the science-fiction-genre tag, but they’re probably particularly important here. You may not consider the Epic of Gilgamesh to be sci-fi, for example.
    – Adamant
    Nov 18, 2016 at 6:04

1 Answer 1


The Epic of Gilgamesh, author unknown, date circa 2,100 BC. It's science fiction, because it's about how the world was believed to be at the time it was written, although the same story written today would be fantasy.

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    So what makes it science fiction? (I haven't read it.) "Because it's about how the world was believed to be at the time" isn't enough of a reason; you could say the same about Pride and Prejudice.
    – user14111
    Nov 18, 2016 at 6:17
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    If anything it's a superhero fantasy story. There's very little technology.
    – Valorum
    Nov 18, 2016 at 8:08

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