Fantastic journey - a story about wanderings in fictional countries and / or about incredible miracles in distant lands; the oldest form of narration ( narration )  , genetically ascending to a ritual visit to that world - “descending”, “descent” ( katabasis ).
Antiquity and the Middle Ages
The earliest examples that have come down to us are The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey . Homer's poem in general largely determined the further evolution of the genre. According to the Odyssey model, another well-known antique plot is built, the campaign of the Argonauts behind the Golden Fleece (this is not an ancient myth, but the product of later scientific mythography - for the first time in the poem Apollonius of Rhodes "Argonautics", then in the prosaic arrangement of Pseudo-Apollodorus ). Around the same time, the first literary utopias belonged, embodied in the form of a fantastic journey to isolated islands where tribes live, miraculously preserving the Golden Age system (their prototype is the Homeric "blessed islands" that still retain the features of the "other world"). These are the "Sacred Record" of Evehemer , the "Island of the Sun" of Yamball . In a parody vein, he develops this theme of Lucian 's menippea “True History”. Anthony Diogenes in "Incredible Adventures on the Other Side of Tula" combines the forms of a fantastic journey and a love story . “Miracles of India” is richly represented in the anonymous pseudo-historical novel “ The History of Alexander the Great ”. It was the only Greek novel circulating in medieval Europe, and it influenced the linking of fiction with oriental themes in medieval literature.
There was a special ehtra genre in Irish literature - about heroes visiting other worlds; ehtra, in turn, are quite close to imram , that is, a description of sea wanderings, since island Elysium predominates in Celtic mythology.
Widely known in the Middle Ages, “The Swimming of St. Brendan ” (Navigatio Sancti Brendani, X or XI century) about the journey to the “island of the blessed” is based on the images of Celtic myths . Another popular text is written in French, “The Journey of Sir John Mandeville ” (XIV century), where “Eastern fiction” is introduced in abundance. Marco Polo did not escape this common place a century earlier.
XVII and XVIII centuries
In the ancient tradition of Evehemer and Yambul, the first utopias of the New Age are written, starting with Thomas More 's Utopia, including Tomaso Campanella 's The City of the Sun (1623) and Francis Bacon 's New Atlantis (1627), as well as the lesser-known History of the Sebrambs (1675) Denis Veras , “Southern Land” (1676) by Gabriel de Fouagni , “The History of Kalezhava” (1700) by Claude Gilbert, “The Forced Journey of Hypochondriac Bekafor” (1709) by Laurent Bordelon . This archaic pre-novel form also retains its significance for later utopias, as a narrative framework: a storyteller who has fantastically found himself in an ideal society of the future is only a passive spectator of the panorama of “ miracles ” unfolding in front of him. Such are the "Look Back" by Edward Bellamy , and the early Soviet utopias.
The first descriptions of space travel belong to the same tradition: “A Dream” (1634) by Johannes Kepler , “A Man on the Moon” (1638) by Francis Godwin , “Discovery of the Moon World” (1638) by John Wilkins , “Ecstatic Travel” (1656) by Athanasius Kircher , “Another World” (1657) by Savignen Cyrano de Bergerac , “Journey to the Moon” (1703) by David Roussin, “Fantastic Journey” (1724) by Diego de Torres Villarroel .
Already at the very beginning of the 17th century. Lucian's line is reviving - a fantastic journey as a satirical device. The first experiments in this spirit have now been forgotten - Mundus Alter et Idem (1605) Bishop Joseph Hall , The Burning World (1666) Margaret Cavendish , The Message of the Island of Borneo (1686) by Bernard Fontenel , but they led to the appearance of Underground Wandering Niels Klim ”(1723) by Ludwig Holberg and“ Gulliver's Travels ”by Jonathan Swift in 1726. Already in 1730 the“ New Gulliver ”by Pierre Defontaine appeared .
Based on the Odyssey, the didactic novel by Francois Fenelon “ The Adventures of Telemachus ” was written (1699, the notorious “Tilemahid” by Vasily Trediakovsky - his poetic translation). This is a very influential book for its era, which evoked imitation (“Journey to the Island of Naudelia” (1703) by Pierre Leconvel).
In The Way of the Pilgrim (1678) by John Banyan, a fantastic journey is transformed into an allegorical pilgrimage.
In 1787–89, France launched the publication of a series of Voyages imaginaires in 36 volumes. It included the works of Lucian, Veras, Swift, Holberg, " Robinson Crusoe " by Daniel Defoe , "Metamorphoses" of Apuleius , "Devil in Love" by Cazot and many others.
XIX and XX centuries
In the XIX century, the genre tradition was continued by Jules Verne in “Extraordinary Travels”. First of all, this includes “Journey to the center of the Earth”, “20,000 leagues under the sea”, “From a cannon to the moon”, “Around the world in 80 days”.
Science fiction enriches the traditional topic of a fantastic journey (exotic countries, distant islands, the Moon and other planets of the Solar system, finally, a hollow Earth ) with new imagination landscapes: underwater (Jules Verne), time travel ( Herbert Wells ), macrocosmos ( Flammarion ), microcosm ( Ray Cummings ), parallel worlds in space ( Edmond Hamilton ), alternative worlds in time ( Jack Williamson ), psychic “inner space”.
“ Alice in Wonderland ” by Lewis Carroll modifies the reception of the fantastic journey ad usum delphini .
At the end of the 19th century, the genre form of a fantastic journey finally merges with the form of a novel; the intermediate result was a genre hybrid, which cannot be unambiguously classified: the most characteristic in this sense are the works of E. R. Burroughs and A. Merrit .
In the 20th century, the form of fantastic travel is sometimes used in the mainstream , for satirical or allegorical purposes: Gulliver’s Fifth Journey by Fridges Carinti , David Lindsay 's Journey to Arcturus .
In modern science fiction, there are some genre elements of a fantastic journey in almost every work. Of the cleanest ones in this regard, one can name the “Big Planet” by Jack Vance , “The Fantastic Journey” by Isaac Asimov , “The Journey of Iero” by Sterling Lanier , “The Guide to the Galaxy for Hitchhikers” by Douglas Adams . As well as the anime " Travel Cinema ".
In 1784, the first enlightened utopias appeared in the form of a fantastic journey: The Newest Journey by Vasily Levshin and Journey to the Land of Ophir by Mikhail Scherbatov (though published only in 1896): the first places the utopian country on the Moon, the second on the South Pole.
The allegorical “Journey to the Podlecov Island” and “Journey to the Temple of Taste” (both 1805) by Karamzinist Nikolai Brusilov use this technique for satirical and didactic purposes.
The Fantastic Travels of Baron Brambeus by Osip Sienkowski , written in the parody tradition of Lucian, was very popular in the 1830s. Of these, the Sentimental Journey to Mount Etna, which develops the theme of the underworld and the hollow Earth (obviously influenced by Holberg's book), is especially interesting.
Thaddeus Bulgarin often resorted to the genre of fantastic travel (mainly for fun, but with elements of satire) - “Believable fables, or Wandering around the world in the XXIX century”, “Incredible fables, or Journey to the center of the Earth”, “Journey to the antipodes to Healing Isle".
With the development of science fiction as a mass genre at the end of the 19th century, the theme of fantastic travels expands: space (“In the Ocean of Stars” by Ananiya Lyakide ), lost races (“Ariasvati” by Nikolai Sokolov ), the distant past (“Into the Centuries” by P. Dzhunkovsky), human body (“The journey of the elf through the blood vessels of a person” by Alexei Achkasov ), photograph (“Stereoscope” by Alexander Ivanov ), fourth dimension (“The Journey through the Fourth Dimension of Space” by Nikolai Morozov ).
In Soviet science fiction, the genre of fantastic travel is not in great demand; of the classic things, one can only give an example of “ Plutonium ” and “ Sannikov Land ” by Vladimir Obruchev . But this genre flourished in children's literature (“The Extraordinary Adventures of Karik and Vali ” by Yan Larry , the tales of Vitaliy Gubarev , “Dunno in the Solar City” and “ Dunno on the Moon ” by Nikolai Nosov , “ The Book of Knowledge ” by Alexander Svirin and Mikhail Lyashenko , “ The island of inexperienced physicists ” Cyril Dombrowski ,“ Blue People of the Pink Land ” Vitaly Melentyev ,“ Master of Scattered Sciences ”by Vladimir Levshin ,“ Seller of Adventures ”by George Sadovnikov - listing only the most famous works).
- Travel (literature)
- Fictional countries
- Olga Freidenberg, Myth and Literature of Antiquity. M., 1998, p. 278:
The genetic connections of the story with distant departures and looking at bizarre “miracles”, with wonder, made themselves felt in the fact that the most ancient narrations spoke of going to non-existent overseas lands, to fantastic inhabitants. The miracles of the “other world” country, the “underground land” (χθων), turned into tales of far-lying and extraordinary countries, of utopian kingdoms, of unprecedented fields and gardens located “nowhere”. Such are the narratives of ancient logography; they have no time, the action does not develop in them. But such are the narratives in the epic, such are the varieties of utopian narratives in the form of narration-mirages. Their beginning came to us in the Odyssey.
- Fantastic Voyages - article from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
- Naum Fradkin . Extraordinary travel. - M .: Thought, 1978.- 144 p. - 70,000 copies.