Yes, the first eleven days of November are about World War One here at Balladeer’s Blog – with my other topics thrown in as well.
This blog post combines World War One with my Ancient Science Fiction category to present vintage stories regarding that conflict.
Many of them feature dieselpunk inventions like I covered in my reviews of the pulp magazine G-8 And His Battle Aces.
BLOOD AND IRON (1917) – Written by Robert Hobart Davis & Perley Poore Sheehan. Dramatic depiction of advanced technology being used in World War One. In Germany one of the Kaiser’s scientists is experimenting with replacing lost limbs and organs with mechanical replacements. He has been trying to create cyborgs out of maimed German soldiers from the front lines.
After many failures, Experiment Number 241 is the scientist’s first success. His replacement arms and legs possess superhuman strength plus his replacement ears and eyes have granted him long-range vision and hearing.
Kaiser Wilhelm is thrilled, since this means that previously mortal wounds will now pave the way for cyborg soldiers. The Kaiser interrogates and drills Number 241 and expresses annoyance with the cyborg’s robotic way of speaking.
Number 241 at length has enough and kills the Kaiser, leaving a bloody pulp of a corpse. The horrified scientist’s expression of shock is met with a robotic reply of “Blood – and – iron.” (As in Otto Von Bismarck’s motto.)
IN THE CHANNEL (1907)- Written by B.T. Stewart. Though penned seven years before the Guns of August blazed this story featured Kaiser Wilhelm’s forces launching an offensive in the English Channel and the surrounding waters.
The short story centers on naval battles, with the Germans unseating the Britons as “rulers of the waves.” The Germans then go on to win the entire war in this combination of the Future War sub-genre with the “are we fully prepared for war” exploitation tales.
THE SLEEP-BEAM (1918) – Written by Martin Swayne. This short story features a scientist named Dr Van Hook, who uses his innocent neighbors as human guinea pigs for his newest invention. That invention is a “sleep-beam” which prevents its targets from sleeping for several days. (It SHOULD be called the insomnia beam.)
Dr Van Hook interests the Allied Powers in his device. They employ the sleep-beam in the field to make the Central Powers armies too groggy from lack of sleep to properly defend themselves. The Allies win the war in a rout.
THE AROMAPHONE (1918) – A French Chef does his bit for the war effort in this tale with his invention called the Aromaphone. This “weapon” inundates the Germans in their trenches with the maddening, tantalizing aromas of fine French cuisine.
The Germans toss away their guns and come filing out to surrender in hopes of getting some of the French food instead of their usual bland rations. Based on a true story. (I’m kidding!)
FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
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