Voices from the Radium Age

From Radium Age

Voices from the Radium Age

Edited by Joshua Glenn

A collection of science fiction stories from the early twentieth century by authors ranging from Arthur Conan Doyle to W. E. B. Du Bois.

Overview

Author(s)

Praise

Summary

A collection of science fiction stories from the early twentieth century by authors ranging from Arthur Conan Doyle to W. E. B. Du Bois.

This collection of science fiction stories from the early twentieth century features work by the famous (Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes), the no-longer famous (“weird fiction" pioneer William Hope Hodgson), and the should-be-more famous (Bengali feminist Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain). It offers stories by writers known for concerns other than science fiction (W. E. B. Du Bois, author of The Souls of Black Folk) and by writers known only for pulp science fiction (the prolific Neil R. Jones). These stories represent what volume and series editor Joshua Glenn has dubbed “the Radium Age”—the period when science fiction as we know it emerged as a genre. The collection shows that nascent science fiction from this era was prescient, provocative, and well written.

Readers will discover, among other delights, a feminist utopia predating Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland by a decade in Hossain's story “Sultana's Dream”; a world in which the human population has retreated underground, in E. M. Forster's “The Machine Stops”; an early entry in the Afrofuturist subgenre in Du Bois's last-man-on-Earth tale “The Comet”; and the first appearance of Jones's cryopreserved Professor Jameson, who despairs at Earth's wreckage but perseveres—in a metal body—to appear in thirty-odd more stories.

Contents

Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, “Sultana's Dream” (1905)William Hope Hodgson, “The Voice in the Night” (1907)E. M. Forster, “The Machine Stops” (1909)Arthur Conan Doyle, “The Horror of the Heights” (1913)Jack London, “The Red One” (1918)W. E. B. Du Bois, “The Comet” (1920)Neil R. Jones, “The Jameson Satellite” (1931)

Paperback

$19.95 T ISBN: 9780262543378 224 pp. | 5.25 in x 7.875 in

Editors

Joshua Glenn

Joshua Glenn is a consulting semiotician and editor of the websites HiLobrow and Semiovox. The first to describe 1900–1935 as science fiction's “Radium Age,” he is editor of the MIT Press's series of reissued proto-sf stories from that period. He is coauthor and coeditor of various books including the family activities guide Unbored (2012), The Adventurer's Glossary (2021), and Lost Objects (2022). In the 1990s, he published the indie intellectual journal Hermenaut.

Reviews

  • "For early SF buffs, this will be a substantial delight."

    Publishers Weekly

  • "Even if you're just looking for old-school adventure mixed with still trenchant social allegory this is a lineup full of winners."

    The Toronto Star

  • "There are some remarkable stories here that are well worth encountering."

    Popular Science