Category Archives: 1926 and earlier

Pre-1926 science fiction

women in early sf

Women have always been here* Brian Aldiss once argued in Billion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction (1973) that the genre begins with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1818). Even if we don’t accept Shelley as the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, 1926-1939, 1940-1945, 1946-1959, gender | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

“The Other,” Howard D. Graham, PhD (Howard Wandrei), 1934

“The Other,” Howard D. Graham, PhD, 1934 – Basil Sash, reporter, pressures Captain Ingvaldssen, aka the “Norski Cow” into explaining why he brought back a female corpse from his recent trip to the Arctic.  Sash realizes that “Ing”–whom he describes … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, gender, genrecraft, superhumans, the gaze, the Other | Leave a comment

“The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1850

“The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1850 — Opens with the epigraph: “Truth is stranger than fiction.”  In this at times humorous depiction of the telling of the 1002nd tale, Scheherazade relates scientific marvels which the king finds so … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, artists/creativity, favorites, gender, humor, knowledge/truth/epistemology, narrative | Leave a comment

“A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1844

“A Tale of the Ragged Mountains,” Edgar Allan Poe, 1844 — The narrator makes the acquaintance of the curious Mr. Augustus Bedloe, a man of peculiar appearance and great attachmen to his physician and constant companion, Doctor Templeton.  Templeton is … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, dreams/hypnosis, drugs/pharma, physicians/medicine, psych/mind/madness, scientific ethics | Leave a comment

“The Universal Library,” Kurd Lasswitz, 1901

“The Universal Library,” Kurd Lasswitz, 1901 — Professor Wallhausen and his wife pose a question to Max Burkel, an editor, regarding the limits of human imagination, commenting that perhaps everything that “can be expressed with letters has been tried.” The … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, genrecraft, international, language/libraries, mathematics | 1 Comment

“The Roger Bacon Formula,” Fletcher Pratt, 1929

“The Roger Bacon Formula,” Fletcher Pratt, 1929 – A man is overhead pontificating about various topics, including Marx, communism, and Roger Bacon.  He’s eventually approached by a man who claims to have undiscovered papers by Bacon. The stranger offers the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, class/labor/"work", drugs/pharma | Leave a comment

“The Miracle of the Lily, Clare Winger Harris, 1928

“The Miracle of the Lily,” Clare Winger Harris, 1928 – Told through diary excerpts of a string of direct descendants: Humanity is about to become extinct due to insect encroachment, develops synthetic food and oxygen plants, and kills all vegetable … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, aesthetics/beauty, animals/insects, cars/pedestrians, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, religion/soul/spirituality | Leave a comment

“In the Year Ten Thousand,” William Harben, 1892

“In the Year Ten Thousand,” William Harben, 1892 – An old man of over 600 years tries to explain the strange ideas and workings of the past to a young boy as they wander through a museum, looking at portraits.  … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, communication, death/immortality, language/libraries, love/family/children, museums/artifacts, religion/soul/spirituality, time/history/causality, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment

“Christmas 200,000 B.C.,” Stanley Waterloo, 1887

“Christmas 200,000 B.C.,” Stanley Waterloo, 1887 — Fangs, She Fox, and Red Lips form a prehistoric nuclear unit in a dog-eat-dog world.  Red Lips, the daughter, is about to be “wed” to Wolf; preferring Yellow Hair instead, she bites Wolf … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, capitalism/Marxism, race/civil rights, time/history/causality

The Great Dark, Mark Twain

The Great Dark, Mark Twain — (unfinished, published in 1962 as part of the formerly suppressed, Letters from the Earth) “A pleasant bourgeois chap peers through the microscope he has just bought for his daughter into a drop of water … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, dreams/hypnosis, reality/VR/surreal, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889 — An engineer named Hank Morgan is transported to the time of King Arthur, where he is able to pass as a magician due to his knowledge of technology. Comments: … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, alternate history, capitalism/Marxism, dreams/hypnosis, humor, identity/authenticity, satire, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Curious Republic of Gondour,” Mark Twain, 1875

“The Curious Republic of Gondour,” Mark Twain, 1875 — “[A]n extrapolated utopia in which votes are proportioned according to money and education.” (H. Bruce Franklin) Comments: Online text at Project Gutenberg.  “Twain proposed a state in which all citizens have … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, education, politics/politicians/elections, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment

“Young Archimedes,” Aldous Huxley, 1924

“Young Archimedes,” Aldous Huxley, 1924 — An English couple on holiday in Italy rents lodging from the avaricious Signora Bondi, whose greatest pleasure is to “do in” her trusting tenants.  Despite the Signora, the two city-dwellers find themselves in the … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, aesthetics/beauty, favorites, intelligence, international, mathematics, primitive/civilized, suicide, tourists | Leave a comment

“The Land Ironclads,” H. G. Wells, 1903

“The Land Ironclads,” H.G. Wells, 1903 – A war correspondent is there when the first “land ironclads” of a technologically-superior force defeat old-fashioned “country” warriors. Comments: Seen through eyes of reporter. Anticipates the invention of tanks. Themes include inevitability and … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, favorites, international, masculinity, mechanization, natural/artificial, progress/obsolescence, the body, violence, war/soldiers | 1 Comment

“The Men of the Moon,” Washington Irving, 1809

“The Men of the Moon,” Washington Irving, 1809 — The narrator confesses that he’s lain awake many nights wondering “whether it were most probable we should first discover and civilize the moon, or the moon discover and civilize our globe.”  … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, american culture, invasion, Native Americans, post/colonialism, primitive/civilized, race/civil rights, satire | Leave a comment

“Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving, 1819

“Rip Van Winkle,” Washington Irving, 1819 — Rip Van Winkle, a habitually idle man in search of refuge from his wife’s nagging, falls asleep after accepting a drink from a mysterious man.  He sleeps twenty years and awakes to find … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, identity/authenticity, multiplicity, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“The Blindman’s World,” Edward Bellamy, 1886

“The Blindman’s World,” Edward Bellamy, 1886 — A civilization on Mars has the gift of foresight.  This changes their perception of death, mourning, love, memory, and human literature, which is saddening, as it is written “in the past tense.”  They … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, death/immortality, disability, emotions/intimacy/empathy, memory, senses/space, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“With the Eyes Shut,” Edward Bellamy, 1889

“With the Eyes Shut,” Edward Bellamy, 1889 — H. Bruce Franklin: The story “is a dream journey into a world which has virtually replaced all writing with phonographic contrivances.  It is a world of talking books, letters, newspapers, clocks, and … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, communication, disability, language/libraries, photo/film/image | Leave a comment

“The Old Folks’ Party,” Edward Bellamy, 1876

“The Old Folks’ Party,” Edward Bellamy, 1876 — “[A] group of young men and women in 1875 decide to assume the roles they think they will be playing fifty years hence…At their next weekly meeting they will become what they … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, generational conflict, genrecraft, identity/authenticity, narrative, time/history/causality | Leave a comment

“To Whom This May Come,” Edward Bellamy, 1889

“To Whom This May Come,” Edward Bellamy, 1889 — A storm drives a ship to an island populated by a telepathic civilization. Comments: Online text at Project Gutenberg. See H. Bruce Franklin’s extensive commentary on Bellamy in Future Perfect: American … Continue reading

Posted in 1926 and earlier, communication, disability, utopia/dystopia | Leave a comment