'Few travelled in these days, for, thanks to the advance of science, the earth was exactly alike all over. Rapid intercourse, from which the previous civilization had hoped so much, had ended by defeating itself. What was the good of going to Peking when it was just like Shrewsbury?', The Machine Stops, E. M. Forster This anthology provides a selection of science-fiction tales from the close of the 'Romantic' period to the end of the First World War. It gathers together classic short stories, from Edgar Allan Poe's playful hoaxes to Gertrude Barrows Bennett's feminist fantasy. In this way, the book shows the vitality and literary diversity of the field, and also expresses something of the potent appeal of the visionary, the fascination with science, and the allure of an imagined future that characterised this period. An excellent resource for those interested in science fiction, and also an essential volume for understanding the development of the genre. In his introduction, Michael Newton draws together literary influences from Jonathan Swift to Mary Shelley, the interest in the irrational and dreaming mind, and the relation of the tales to the fact of Empire and the discoveries made by anthropology. He also considers how the figure of the alien and non-human 'other' complicated contemporary definitions of the human being.
About the Author
Michael Newton, Senior Lecturer, Department of English, University of Leiden MICHAEL NEWTON is the author of Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children (2002) and Age of Assassins: A History of Conspiracy and Political Violence, 1865-1981 (2012). On the subject of cinema, he has written Show People: A History of the Film Star (2019) and books on Kind Hearts and Coronets (2003) and Rosemary's Baby (2020) for the BFI Film Classics series. He has edited Edmund Gosse's Father and Son and Victorian Fairy Tales for Oxford World's Classics, and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent and The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories for Penguin Classics, and co-edited the anthology, Literature and Science, 1660-1834: Science as Polite Culture (Pickering & Chatto). He teaches literature and film at Leiden University.