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Scientific-Marvelous
August 7, 2014 3:49 PM   Subscribe


 
And since we're on the topic, a deeper distinction should be made between Wells and Robida. The latter, in his celebrated Twentieth Century, did nothing but envision the fulfillment of a few of our least important and most superfluous wishes--without bothering either to portray the results coherently or to draw conclusions from them.

I love a good sick burn from over a hundred years ago.
posted by The Whelk at 3:58 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


A couple of months ago I came across the Wikipedia entry for The Year 4338: Petersburg Letters / 4338-й год: Петербургские письма, published in 1835. Wikipedia links to an English translation of the work. Google Translate version of the slightly longerRussian Wikipedia entry.
posted by XMLicious at 4:36 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was going to say that Russian sf has a tradition going back way before Poe. Check out my man Alexander Veltman.
posted by languagehat at 5:18 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


In the excellent Forbidden Best-Sellers of Prerevolutionary France, Robert Darnton spends some time analyzing (and translates a big chunk of) Louis-Sébastien Mercier's L'An 2440, rêve s'il en fut jamais (literally, "The Year 2440: A Dream If Ever There Was One"), translated previously into English as Memoirs of the Year Two Thousand Five Hundred (sic).

It's not quite science or technological fiction, but he uses a future France as a kind of springboard for ideas (and, of course, to criticize the French present).
posted by dhens at 7:13 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Mary Shelley passes over the science very, very quickly in Frankenstein, just sort of handwaving about Cornelius Agrippa and alluding to some dark experimentation, but in the story "Roger Dodsworth: The Reanimated Englishman" (ca. 1826, based on a famous hoax but apparently beaten out for publication by "Letter from the Gentleman Preserved in Ice"), she's pretty explicit within a fictional context about the scientific plausibility of what happens in the story, distinguishing it from the less realistic Seven Sleepers myth and showing some of the consequences. So it seems to me that fits Renard's "one change plus consequences" definition of scientific-marvelous fiction better than she's sometimes given credit for.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 8:31 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


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