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Bryan L. Moore

Early science fiction (SF) is noted for, among other things, its conservatism and lack of interest in ecology. Brian Stableford, a well-known SF writer and critic, writes that "there are very few early stories with ecological themes" (1993, 395). This article shows that, in fact, many early SF works (those written between the Enlightenment and World War II) employ ecological themes, especially as applied to questioning our anthropocentrism. These works suggest that humans are but one species among many, that we are not the end of nature/history, that the natural world may be better off without us, and, in some cases, that humanity is fated to go extinct, the result of its own hubris. Such views are undoubtedly pessimistic, yet these works may also be read as warnings for humans to seek a more humble view of ourselves as members of what Aldo Leopold calls the land community.