I think we should also include the religious shamans, such as Philip K. Dick. I would argue that books such religious works such the Hindu Holy Books and the various Buddhist works and the Judeo-Christian Bible, were the science fiction of their age. When new religions pop up in modern times, such as the Mormons and perhaps most germane and apropos to my thesis, L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer who said I can create a religion and then did.
Humans are the only animals on our planet who cracked the barrier to full self awareness and theory of mind. The barrier exists because the poison pill of self awareness is awareness of our own mortality. Other clever animals such as great apes, corvids, cetaceans, and elephants get close, but the can’t get past that barrier. On our planet, only humans did, because we are such good liars. We lie to each other. We lie to ourselves. Religion is our masterpiece of lying and self deception because we tell ourselves: WE WON’T DIE. SOMETHING AS WONDERFUL AND MIRACULOUS AS I AM CANNOT CEASE TO EXIST. I HAVE A SOUL/SPIRIT.