Novels, poems, plays, folktales, and myths—all these are literature. Literature exists in all cultures. By writing literature, people communicate ideas and feelings. By reading literature, we share these ideas and feelings. Literature lets us visit places and people we might otherwise never know. And we don’t even have to leave our chairs. Let’s take a look at different kinds of literature.
WHAT IS FICTION?
Many people like to read fiction—stories that writers make up in their imagination.
Do you like vivid stories about aliens, or impossible events, or future worlds with weird gadgets? If you do, you’re a fan of science fiction (SF). SF is fiction (made-up stories) about some effect of science or technology. SF can expand your mind, make your jaw drop in surprise, and scare the pants off you.
THE ORIGINS OF SCIENCE FICTION
Imaginary voyages to distant lands with strange creatures were common in ancient Greek and Roman literature. Descriptions of trips to the Moon were first written in the 17th century. Stories about wars of the future, fought with new kinds of weapons, also became popular.
Where would we be without writing? There’d be no books, magazines, or newspapers. There’d be no instructions for putting together a bike or a VCR. There’d be no birthday or anniversary cards. There’d be no signs on the road to tell us where to go.
WHAT IS WRITING?
Writing is a method of communication. It uses marks that we see and understand. The marks we use to write English are the letters of the alphabet. They stand for sounds.