Extraterrestrials/aliens form a major part of science fiction. I know there are myths going back to ancient times of aliens, but I was wondering what the first reference in the actual science-fiction literature (ancient is accepted) is to life existing on another planet (not necessarily visiting Earth)? They cannot be considered to be Gods in that particular piece of literature. The only other restriction is that they did not originate on Earth.

Just for your interest, here is a related question, but not a dupe; I'm specifically asking about the first sci-fi story to introduce the concept of aliens where they weren't considered to be Gods.

  • Why the downvote? I fails to see what's wrong with this question Jun 24, 2015 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


The first reference to extraterrestrials aside from extraterrestrials acting as Gods (which gets into murky territory) is the Roman True History back in the 2nd Century where a human visits the Moon to find it is populated.

Slightly later we have the 10th Century The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter from Japan and the medieval Arabic The The Adventures of Bulukiya (from the One Thousand and One Nights) (Source)

Following the development of the heliocentric concept of the solar system, the idea of extraterrestrials really 'took off' (so to speak). (Source)

In terms of modern science-fiction, one of the most famous references was H.G. Well's The War of the Worlds involving a Martian invasion.

Further references to aliens throughout science fiction history can be found in this Wikipedia article.

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