LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, RARE BOOK AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS DIVISION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, RARE BOOK AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS DIVISION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Title page of Kepler's 'Somnium' novel, 1634. This novel was written by German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), who is most famous for his three laws of planetary motion. The novel, presented as a dream, tells of an Icelandic boy and his mother (a witch), and of demons and a world called Levania (Earth's Moon). The work includes accounts of what the Earth would look like from the Moon, lunar phases, and the mechanics of solar eclipses. Called by some the first work of science fiction, it was written in Latin from around 1608 and started out as Kepler's dissertation on the theories of Copernicus. The work was added to with footnotes by Kepler (explaining the semi-autobiographical aspects). It was published after his death by his son Ludwig Kepler, then a medical student, to help provided financial support to his mother (Kepler's widow).
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