Jules Verne and H.G. Wells are often said to be the fathers of science fiction – and Mary Shelley the mother. Verne was more interested in scientific theories and technical details, whereas Wells and Shelley were less bothered about such specifics.
So much for 1800s, in fact you can go back a lot further to find early tales that could be considered as sci-fi.
‘A True Story’ is a novel written in the 2nd century by Lucian of Samosata (a Greek-speaking author of Syrian origin). It is the earliest known work of fiction to include travel to outer space, alien life-forms, and interplanetary warfare. Lucian develops the Greek notion that the moon is a mirror world to our own. Setting out on a voyage, the story-teller is caught up in a storm that propels him through the sky, and his ship ends up landing on the moon.
The wonderful illustration shown here is ‘A Voyage to the Moon’ (1868) by Gustave Doré (France, 1832-1883).
Some favourite moon and space quotes:
“There is nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.”
― Octavia E. Butler
“I had aimed at Mars and was about to hit Venus; unquestionably the all-time cosmic record for poor shots.”
― Edgar Rice Burroughs, Pirates of Venus
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
― Mark Twain
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
― John F. Kennedy
“As different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.”
― Emily Brontë
Girl with Elf (1918) by Maxfield Parrish (USA, 1870-1966). This picture reminds me of Gulliver’s Travels; perhaps because I feel it could equally have had the title: “3 people chatting with Girl Giant”. Possibly the secret of life is that it is all about perspective.
1920s illustration predicting what a robot would look like: “The Robot rising from it’s seat and bowing.”
Looks a bit like the Tin Man from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to me.
“Now I know I’ve got a heart because it is breaking”. [Tin Man]
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Illustration (1894) of Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. [Artist, Hugh Thomson]. Depicted here is the cousin of Mr Bennet – and clergyman of the parsonage near Rosing’s Park – protesting that he never reads novels.
‘ By tea-time, however, the dose had been enough, and Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawing-room again, and when tea was over, glad to invite him to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but on beholding it .. he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he never read novels. — Kitty stared at him, and Lydia exclaimed. — Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose Fordyce’s Sermons. Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him with … ‘
I rather like this from the excellent Mr Collins:
‘My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of your understanding … ‘
An excellent example of Victorian multitasking! Linley Sambourne (English, 1844-1910), illustration for Punch magazine (UK), 1869.
“Call it a toy, indeed! Why our ingenious friend, Glimmer, has a run before breakfast, and grinds his coffee and churns his butter with the greatest ease”.
Reminds me of a Heath Robinson invention.