From doorbells to fish-pills
June 29, 2006 4:54 PM   Subscribe

"When humans were busy fighting each other, the Ants had begun their preparations to take over the planet. Six feet tall, they had emerged from their hideouts in the Andes Mountain and had begun their assault in the year 7757." - Science Fiction in Bengal from 1882-1961 [via]
posted by brundlefly (9 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
sounds like great stuff---i wonder if any is translated and Gutenberged or anything?

related: a guy who was a pioneer in putting free sf online just died--Jim Baen
posted by amberglow at 4:57 PM on June 29, 2006

That might be worth a FPP, amberglow. What a major bummer.

As far as THIS FPP goes... it sounds like Bengali SF would be hard to translate.... from the description, it relies on wordplay, and that rarely comes across well. Between the age and the cross-language thing, it's probably not going to be interesting to most readers... but I'd certainly give it a try.

The "Miracurall" drug is amusing, curing everything except the common cold. :-)
posted by Malor at 5:50 PM on June 29, 2006

What a wonderfully strange place our world is! Great post.
posted by LarryC at 7:06 PM on June 29, 2006

A delightful find, thank you brundlefly.

People from Bengal are some of the most articulate and feisty brainiacs I've ever met. It doesn't surprise me they were among the first to write science fiction. Bengal has many exceptional scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, writers and thinkers.

About Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay.

About Sukumar Ray, a little more.

Rokeya Hossain, was a woman science fiction author and activist from Bengal. She wrote Sultana's Dream [full text, about 15 pages], a feminist utopia.
posted by nickyskye at 11:27 PM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

Fantastic post—I knew Bengal was the most Westernized part of India in the late 19th century, but it hadn't occurred to me that that might involve science fiction!

And nice additional links, nickyskye; I'm looking forward to reading "Sultana's Dream," which is summarized in one of the comments to the original link as follows: "Rokeya Sakhawat Hosain's story 'Sultana's Dream' where all the women rule and the men are in purdah..."

it sounds like Bengali SF would be hard to translate.

No more than any other Bengali writing, and probably less, since the SF was modeled on English stories to begin with. If by "wordplay" you mean things like “Chillanosaurus (chillano means to shout)," I don't see why "Shoutosaurus" wouldn't do the job quite adequately.
posted by languagehat at 5:43 AM on June 30, 2006

Thanks for the links, nickyskye!
posted by brundlefly at 9:51 AM on June 30, 2006

I, for one, welcome our new Ant overlords.
posted by tadellin at 10:55 AM on June 30, 2006

(Hi Deep!)
posted by bardic at 11:04 AM on June 30, 2006

I wonder if Robinson stole from Sultana's Dream for Years of Rice and Salt?
posted by amberglow at 9:18 PM on July 1, 2006

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