1900


The Village in the Treetops: Verne reacting to Darwin

The Village in the Treetops by Jules Verne

When English naturalist Charles Darwin released his groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species in November 1859, it set off a firestorm of controversy regarding its central tenet: organic evolution, and the descent of life from a common ancestral source. Indeed, such was the brouhaha over this novel concept that even 66 years later, during the so-called Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, the subject was hotly debated, and in fact, to this very day, over 150 years since Darwin’s most famous work was published, there are still millions of religious fundamentalists who adamantly deny its veracity. And so, it may well be understood that Jules Verne — the Frenchman who has been called “The Father of Science Fiction,” and who certainly had an ardent inte... Read More

The Lost Continent: Possibly the finest novel of Atlantis ever written

The Lost Continent by C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne

The Lost Continent first appeared serially in the English publication Pearson's Magazine in 1899, and in book form the following year. The author, C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne, is not exactly a household name today, but, way back when, was an extremely popular and prolific writer. His serialized tales of Captain Kettle, also in Pearson's, were supposedly only second in popularity to the Strand Magazine's Sherlock Holmes stories, as submitted by Arthur Conan Doyle. But today, Hyne's reputation seems to rest solely on this wonderful novel of the last years of the continent of Atlantis.

The history of these final years is told by the soldier-priest Deucalion, who, at the book's opening, has just been recalled from his 20-year viceroyalty of the Atlantean province of Yucatan. On his return to his homeland, after that two-dec... Read More

The Invisible Man: Not someone you want to piss off

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells

The Invisible Man (1897) is a story known by most people, but how many have actually read the book? It’s probably a lot darker and action-packed than you think. Also, like most of H.G. Wells’ books, it is not long and is available free as an e-book, so it’s well worth a day’s reading time.

Imagine you are an ambitious but poor young medical student named Griffin, eager to make a name for yourself and enjoy success. What if you were to discover how to change the refractive index of the human body (tested first on an unfortunate cat), to make your body completely ... Read More

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

When Charles Ludwig Dodgson first began to tell the story of Alice's adventures underground to the three Liddell sisters, he had no idea whatsoever the impact that his work would one day have in the cultural history of humanity. Is there a person alive in Western civilization that doesn't know of Alice, the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat? I seriously doubt it. Writing under the pen name of Lewis Carroll, Dodgson's quirky fairytale soon became a publishing sensation in Victorian England, quite an unusual feat for a dour mathematician who had no interest whatsoever in boys, women or most other human beings, and instead lavishing his attention on little girls — particularly one Alice Liddell, to whom he presented the original manuscript to. The story of Lewis Carroll is jus... Read More