The author wonders why despite favourable conditions of the Polish positivists’ programme, development of science fiction was hampered. He analyzes mainly scientific and technical motives, and examines related genres (mainly utopia). As a reason of slow development he finds extraliterary factors (didacticism and a sense of mission in literature after the January Uprising). At the same time, he questions the idea that the lack of science
fiction works resulted from dominant realism. The article contains as well interpretation of the works which belong to the discussed genre: suspicious of the progress of Bolesław Prus’s prose works and Sygurd Wiśniowski’s short stories, closest to “pure” science fiction.