Wednesday, 9 June 2021
Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Wednesday, 12 May 2021
The following is the complete Tricycle of the Future as it appeared in the May 1885 volume of St. Nicholas Magazine. Click on each page for a larger version.
Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Saturday, 17 April 2021
The latest in my series of Victorian-Edwardian Scientific Romances has been released!
To the generation that came of age during the horrors of the World Wars, the Turn of the Century took on a nostalgic life of its own.
Strolling ladies with bustles, parasols, and feathered hats. Men in dapper suits, straw boaters, and handlebar moustaches. Barbershop quartets singing “Sweet Adeline” and “In the Good Old Summertime.” Penny-farthing bicycles weaving between horse-drawn trolleys and newfangled horseless carriages. Thomas Edison’s latest invention. The town marching band playing in the park bandstand. Colourful Queen Anne homes accented with gingerbread trim. Gibson Girls staring indolently from the pages of Life and Harper’s. Casey at the bat. Ice wagons and ice boxes and ice cream parlours. Dime novels and dime stores. Vaudeville shows. Ragtime music. Silent movies. Party-line telephones. Suffragettes in green and purple sashes. Old fashioned rowboat dates. Gaslit evenings on Main Street. These happy days of youth before The Great War, The Spanish Flu, The Roaring Twenties, and The Great Depression were the “Gay Nineties.”
The real 1890’s and 1900’s were an era of change and a cornucopia of invention, which lead inevitably to fictional tales of scientific discovery and technological progress in the popular magazines of the era. This volume reprints the lost science fiction of Pearson’s, The Century, The Black Cat, and Cosmopolitan, featuring over a dozen tales by such celebrated authors as Mark Twain, Ellis Parker Butler, Herbert Quick, and George Chetwyn Griffith.
To order Science Fiction of the Gay Nineties: An Anthology - 1890-1910, visit Amazon or click on the image above. If you can also share this post or the link on your social networks, leave a review on Amazon, and rate Science Fiction of the Gay Nineties, that would go a long way to helping spread the word!
Thank you very much for you support of this blog for all these years and for your purchase of my new anthology.
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Saturday, 3 April 2021
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Copyright law comes and goes in waves. "Information wants to be free" say many as they illegally upload movies to shadowy servers. International trade seeks ever more uniform and pro-corporate regulations, while media companies simultaneously seek ever more restrictive censorship of individuals, together posing what may be the greatest threats to freedom of speech and information since the rise of Communism. A century ago, the rules were much looser, with their attendant benefits and challenges. Georges Méliès was, sadly, one of the ones who lost the most from those challenges.
Like numerous remakes throughout cinema history, Excursion dans la Lune (English: An Excursion to the Moon) is serviceable. All the pieces are in the right place and, in many places, it is even more refined than the original. Knowing where all the pieces go and understanding why they go there are two different things, however. An Excursion to the Moon lacks the fanciful sensibilities of Méliès, the wry blurred line between the astronomer and the astrologer, the joviality of the etheric spheres in a romantic cosmos. Though de Chomón's star rose just as Méliès' declined, posterity has been more kind to the latter than to the former. Méliès has - rightly - been canonized that the true innovator and artiste. It takes de Chomón's own films, original in content, to showcase his own abilities and separate his legacy from that of his competitor.
Wednesday, 17 March 2021
|Ball on Shipboard (1874)|
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Wednesday, 3 February 2021
Wednesday, 20 January 2021
Wednesday, 6 January 2021
|The North-West Passage by John Everett Millais (1874)|
Wednesday, 23 December 2020
A Christmas Dinner with the Man in the Moon was published in the December 1880 edition of St. Nicholas Magazine and is presented here in full, with original illustrations by Victor Nehlig. Gladden, a Congregationalist minister most famous as a pioneer of the Social Gospel movement, a unionization advocate, and anti-segregationist, was also an author of hundreds of poems, stories, and religious tracts. A Christmas Dinner with the Man in the Moon resurfaced in Gladden's 1894 anthology Santa Claus on a Lark: and Other Christmas Stories. Click on each page for a larger version.
Wednesday, 9 December 2020
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
For your consideration, this extended excerpt from the opening chapter of his 1901 novel A Honeymoon in Space, in which "the tall athletic figure and the regular-featured, bronzed, honest English face" of Rollo Lenox Smeaton Aubrey, Earl of Redgrave, Baron Smeaton in the Peerage of England, and Viscount Aubrey in the Peerage of Ireland, appears in his flying machine to whisk Miss Lilla Zaidie Rennick and her chaperone away from a trans-Atlantic steamer on its way to an arranged marriage of economic convenience...
Mrs. Van Stuyler was shaking in every muscle, afflicted by a sort of St. Vitus' dance induced by physical fear and outraged propriety. Quite apart from these, however, she experienced a third sensation which made for a nameless inquietude. She was a woman of the world, well versed in most of its ways, and she fully recognised that that single bound from the bridge-rail of the St. Louis to the other side of the clouds had already carried her and her charge beyond the pale of human law.
The same thought, mingled with other feelings, half of wonder and half of re-awakened tenderness, was just then uppermost in Miss Zaidie's mind. It was quite obvious that the man who could create and control such a marvellous vehicle as this could, morally as well as physically, lift himself beyond the reach of the conventions which civilised society had instituted for its own protection and government.
He could do with them exactly as he pleased. They were utterly at his mercy. He might carry them away to some unexplored spot on one of the continents, or to some unknown island in the midst of the wide Pacific. He might even transport them into the midst of the awful solitudes which surround the Poles. He could give them the choice between doing as he wished, submitting unconditionally to his will, or committing suicide by starvation.
They had not even the option of jumping out, for they did not know how to open the sliding doors; and even if they had done, what feminine nerves could have faced a leap into that awful gulf which lay below them, a two-thousand-foot dive through the clouds into the waters of the wintry Atlantic?
They looked at each other in speechless, dazed amazement. Far away below them on the other side of the clouds the St. Louis was steaming eastward, and with her were going the last hopes of the coronet which was to be the matrimonial equivalent of Miss Zaidie's beauty and Russell Rennick's millions.
They were no longer of the world. Its laws could no longer protect them. Anything might happen, and that anything depended absolutely on the will of the lord and master of the extraordinary vessel which, for the present, was their only world.
"My dearest Zaidie," Mrs. Van Stuyler gasped, when she at length recovered the power of articulate speech, "what an entirely too awful thing this is! Why, it's abduction and nothing less. Indeed it's worse, for he's taken us clean off the earth, and there's no more chance of rescue than if he took us to one of those planets he said he could go to. If I didn't feel a great responsibility for you, dear, I believe I should faint."
By this time Miss Zaidie had recovered a good deal of her usual composure. The excitement of the upward rush, and what was left of the momentary physical fear, had flushed her cheeks and lighted her eyes. Even Mrs. Van Stuyler thought her looking, if possible, more beautiful than she had done under the most favourable of terrestrial circumstances. There was a something else too, which she didn't altogether like to see, a sort of resignation to her fate which, in a young lady situated as she was then, Mrs. Van Stuyler considered to be distinctly improper.Griffith was most famous in his day for his political novels of future war, such as Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror (1893) and Olga Romanoff (1894). Pure cosmic explorations were more rare, and he restrained himself from the socialist revolutionary views that he injected more freely into his war books. These views likely limited his appeal in the United States, but perhaps enhanced his appeal in the milieu of public debates between Victorian-Edwardian England's intelligentsia. Between 1893 and 1895 he was considered the most popular English writer of Scientific Romances, until Wells usurped him.
A Honeymoon in Space was originally serialized in Pearson's Magazine as Stories of Other Worlds, before being collected into a single volume in 1901. The change in title is significant. Though still suggesting considerable adventure and wonder, the idea of a honeymoon also implies a certain comfort and familiarity... A domestication of outer space. While his protagonists Lord and Lady Redgrave are exploring uncharted territory, Griffith is not. Based on popular conceptions of cosmology and evolution in his day, Griffith retreads the ground of the celestial spheres as a study in the pathways of human development.
Wednesday, 28 October 2020
Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Nevertheless, Lovecraft began his writing career prior to the First World War. Though not published until 1918, The Beast in the Cave was drafted in 1905 when Lovecraft was only 14 years old. In it, we already see the nascent themes that he would explore in his literary career. A visitor to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, now a national park, gets separated from his tour group. In the darkness of the subterranean depths, terror seizes upon him as he hears the fall of footsteps drawing close. A young Lovecraft explores his powers of description leading up to the kind of shock ending that he would become known for.
Without further ado, we present the complete text of The Beast in the Cave...