THE ADVENTURES OF AN ENGINEER (1898) – Written by Weatherby Chesney, better known as C.J. Cutcliffe Hyne. This is a collection of short stories about the scientific adventurer Richard Felton.
Part pulp hero and part proto-Quatermass, Felton’s escapades also put one in mind of Quentin E Deverill from the cult show Q.E.D. aka Mastermind. Seventeen stories are featured in this collection, among them:
THE RULER OF THE WORLD – Felton is persuaded by his old friend Braithwaite to construct a super-scientific aircraft for him. Richard does so, and after a test-flight with Braithwaite to demonstrate how deadly the flying machine is, the latter reveals his megalomaniacal plans to use the aircraft in a Roburesque plan to conquer the world. Our hero must try to stop him, even if it means destroying his own creation.
BYNG’S ANNIHILATOR – Richard Felton encounters a weapons designer who has perfected super-scientific torpedoes. The torpedoes prove very effective at the elimination of piracy in the Torres Straits, but will the inventor Byng stop there or succumb to temptation?
THE MOTOR BATTLE-CAR – Another of Felton’s acquaintances proves to have a rather dark side in this tale. Lockwood has constructed a wheeled armored vehicle that we would today call a tank. However, this tank has scythes sticking out of it that help mow down the enemy, lawnmower-style. Disgruntled people in the Kalahari Desert become the victims of Lockwood’s creation.
You get the idea. Other stories in the collection: The Anarchist’s Plot, Colonel Swayley’s Cut-Off, The Mystery of the Ocean Tramp, The Falling Chimney, The Bridging of Poonah River, The Boiler Thief, The Train-Wrecker, The Deadly Photograph, The Raid on the Mid-Air Railway, The Sacrifice in the Sky, The Coiner’s Cupboard, The Gold in the Cornish Tin Mine and my two favorite weird-ass stories – The Horror of the Folding Bed and The Kitchen Lift (Non-stop dumbwaiter action!).
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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