.

.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon

It is one of the most iconic images of cinema history: the Man in the Moon being hit in the eye by a steel and rivet rocket capsule. It captures, at the same time, everything quaint and fantastical about silent film and Scientific Romances. Though lasting a mere 14 minutes, Georges Méliès' 1902 film A Trip to the Moon transports viewers to an amazing world where shimmering stars are beautiful women, the astronomer and the astrologer are indistinguishable, and all that is needed to reach the moon is a healthy dose of magic and a very large gun.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

What Are Scientific Romances?

On the day I started writing this article, a warm fire crackled in the hearth, snow fell outside the window, and a cup of English tea steamed at my elbow. A setting like that — a cozy, human spot with friends and family near by — really puts me in the mood for just one thing: Science Fiction. You heard right. Science Fiction. Of course, I don't mean just any Science Fiction. I don't mean the sort of thing where characters named "Zargon" from places called "Hydra-Gamma III" listen to bald-headed creepozoids in silver BVDs rant about "pure logic." No, the kind of science fiction I'm thinking of is different. Warmer. Richer. More human. On this kind of science fiction adventure, you don't want skin-tight leotards and chrome bikinis. You want big wool sweaters, hiking books, English tweed and pith helmets, with ankle-length skirts and parasols for the ladies. Yes, this is a special brand of science fiction — my favorite kind. Ever since I was a kid, I've always loved the sort of movie where a proper Victorian professor journeys from the smoke-filled adventurer's clubs of London to some impossible lost world in his own gilded or wrought-iron invention. The kind of story that somehow seems to bypass some of the dead-ends of certain other science fiction; seems to allow us to ponder the kind of mysteries science fiction explores so well without asking us to leave our roots in the past behind. I loved it then, and I still love it today.
These words, penned by Rod Bennett in his article Voyages Extraordinaires on Film: A Survey of Fireside Science Fiction, are perhaps the richest summary of that strange, delightful, fantastic, but all-too brief genre called "Scientific Romance."



Thursday, 1 September 2016

Welcome to Voyages Extraordinaires, Volume II!

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the newly refreshed Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age weblog!

For longtime readers of this weblog, I hope you'll enjoy this new incarnation and the new opportunities for content that it affords. For those of you who are not so familiar, allow me to describe what it is you'll find in the premier electro-tele-kinetographic journal of Victorian-Edwardian Scientific Romances, Retro-Futurism, and Victoriana.