Wednesday 23 June 2021

John Hale's Flying Machine by Anna Leach

"Where's my flying car?"

That is the cry of the disappointed futurist who bemoans that our most ambitious dreams have yet to reach fruition... No flying cars, no robot maids, no lunar colonies, alas. We must only make due with high-speed internet, 4K digital displays, personal computer/telecommunication devices kept in our pockets, instantaneous news and messaging, robot vacuums, and other dreary modern conveniences.

In reality, what we need is not always the same as what we want. And more often than not, what we need isn't even apparent to us until someone invents it. And occasionally, those aren't even the things the inventor set out to invent.  

Anna Leach explores this topic in her comic short story John Hale's Flying Machine. Published in the 1894-95 volume of The Argosy magazine, her literary misdirection explores the idea of accidental invention through that classic trope of the Gay Nineties: boys down by the ol' fishin' hole...

Click on each page for a larger version.

Wednesday 9 June 2021

Walter R. Booth's The Over-Incubated Baby

As we all know, infancy is a child's most grotesque stage of development. So much neediness and squalling and fluids. If only there was some way to accelerate the growth process and skip that whole baby stage entirely. But if such technology existed, it would have be to be used carefully. An accident, like that outlined in Walter R. Booth's 1901 trick film The Over-Incubated Baby, would be disastrous.