In science fiction fandom
, refers to a type of futuristic story common to early SF
in which the mundane details of the characters' lives and surroundings are related to the reader with a breathless
sense of awe
. The classic example is Hugo Gernsback
's "Ralph 124C 41+
", which I will take the liberty of quoting:
Although Alice had had a good scientific training, some of the wonders of New York amazed her and she, as strangers had done for centuries, asked questions continuously, while her companion eagerly explained everything with a pleasure peculiar to the New Yorker, loving his town.
"What are those strange spiral wire affairs hanging high over all street crossings?" was one of her first questions.
"Those illuminate our streets at night," was the answer. "They are iridium wire spirals, about ten meters in diameter, hanging forty meters up in the air, at the intersection of all our streets. This evening you will see how the entire spiral will glow in a pure white light which is absolutely cold. The wire throws out the light, and after sundown you will find that the streets will be almost as light as they are now. Each spiral furnishes over one-half million candlepower, consequently one is needed only where streets intersect, except on very long blocks, when a smaller spiral is hung in the middle."
In case you missed it, Ralph is explaining to Alice what a streetlight does. Ralph later goes on to tell her (and the presumably enthralled reader) the astounding mechanics of restaurants and climate control. This tale is not for the faint of heart.
The style is gleefully satirized by William Gibson in his story "The Gernsback Continuum".