Mary Shelley was the founding mother of science fiction. Was French astronomer Camille Flammarion (1842-1925) the founding father? Over 40 years before John W. Campbell took the helm of Astounding SF, Flammarion was extrapolating fiction from the most advanced science of his day (flavoring it occasionally with transcendental fantasy, a practice not unknown to modern hard SF). He wrote several works of science fantasy, most notably an apocalyptic, visionary novel, Omega: The Last Days of the World (1893), that clearly influenced SF pioneers Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Four decades before Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men was published, Omega unfolded a future history that traversed millions of years to the end of the earth and beyond. But Omega received only two English-language printings.|
Now Flammarion's seminal novel has been rescued from oblivion, and it deserves a place in the library of every serious student of SF. But whether modern SF fans will enjoy reading Omega is another matter. Flammarion writes in a leisurely, expository 19th-century style, and he is no Charles Dickens. His opening chapter threatens a comet strike that isn't delivered for more than half the book! However, the pace does pick up considerably in chapter 6 (to which bored readers should immediately turn), and the remainder of his future history is interesting and inventive.
Source: Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com.