This anthology gathers together seventeen gripping tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that make up the foundations of science fiction.
‘I seemed to gaze upon a vast space, the limits of which extended far beyond my vision…’This anthology gathers together seventeen gripping tales from the nineteenth and early twentieth century that make up the foundations of science fiction. It moves from Mary Shelley to H. G.
Wells, from Edgar Allan Poe to W. E. B.
Du Bois, and from George Eliot to Jack London. Before the term ‘science fiction’ was established, writers pursued a new and strange subject matter, to be written about in a startlingly new way. The selected stories in this collection reflect the many diverse paths that led towards science fiction, including scientific Gothic, dystopian fantasies, psychological hoaxes, feminist parables, fictions of time-travel, adventure stories, uncanny tales, and stories of alien encounters.
The anthology unveils the power of the literature of the period and exposes our fascination with scientific discovery and the allure (and threat) of the imagined future. This edition includes an introduction by Michael Newton setting out the themes of the tales and exploring the development of science fiction. Newton explores how the stories engage with anxiety about the limits of the rational mind, the fact of Empire and the discoveries of anthropology, the uneasy figure of the scientist, the rapid development of technology, and the presence of the alien other.