DOCTOR HACKENSAW’S SECRETS – Written by Clement Fezandie. Doctor Hackensaw and his adventures were similar to Paul B’Old’s short stories about Professor Jerome Mudgewood, but with less emphasis on humor. Both figures dealt with the often destructive consequences of their own inventions or discoveries. Ferzandie’s Hackensaw tales were published in the magazine Science and Invention.
Dr Hackensaw’s supporting cast included reporter and ladies’ man Silas Rockett, enthusiastic and perky teen girl Pep Perkins and precocious boy Tintangeles Smith.
THE SECRET OF ARTIFICIAL REPRODUCTION (May 1921) – The first Dr Hackensaw story. Mostly speculative as the good doctor puts forth plans for what we would today call genetic engineering and cloning. Hackensaw depicts mass-produced soldiers of incredible physical prowess and mass-produced livestock to end world hunger. He pushes the envelope with a cat-dog hybrid animal and with human fetuses being grown in the uteruses of cows.
THE SECRET OF THE ATOM (July 1921) – Hackensaw experiments with the study of subatomic particles and with what we today call particle physics. A fairly dull effort compared to the other Dr H tales.
THE SECRET OF SUSPENDED ANIMATION (October 1921) – Dr Hackensaw pioneers chryosleep concepts by using carbon dioxide-heavy treatments. Not only can he preserve living things but he tries to do the reverse by reviving a pterodactyl frozen for millions of years. The pterodactyl eventually escapes and goes on a rampage.
THE SUPER-NOSE (April 1922) – As innovative as ever, Hackensaw invents a machine which possesses olfactory senses beyond even the most reliable bloodhounds. He tests its application in criminology by using it to solve a robbery. The device wrecks Silas Rockett’s latest romances, however.
THE SECRET OF INVISIBILITY (May 1922) – Our main character masterminds a means of achieving invisibility through the manipulation of light and micro-mirrors. Invisibility brings with it a particular set of dangers.
THE SECRET OF THE TEL-AUTOMATON (June 1922) – Dr Hackensaw invents a radio-controlled robotic woman that he names Variola Hackensaw. She possesses incredible strength and is invulnerable to most harm. Criminals steal Variola to have her rob banks for them. Our hero must retrieve his robot.
THE SECRET OF LIFE (July 1922) – The doctor experiments with protoplasm and genetically engineers a series of odd creatures. Hackensaw’s efforts produce a plant that bears human babies as its “blossoms,” plus incredibly small elephants, a mermaid and a centaur. In addition he creates a fire-breathing dragon which escapes and runs amok. Apparently having learned from his pterodactyl misadventure, Dr H built into the dragon a remote controlled destruct device.
THE SECRET OF ELECTRICAL TRANSMISSION (September 1922) – Hackensaw uses direct current to drive his experimental teleportation device, with the expected complications arising.
THE SECRET OF TELEVISION (October 1922) – The good doctor creates a television device, which this story presents as having applications far beyond its real-life uses. Think of Radar Secret Service but with television technology instead of radar.
THE SECRET OF TEL-HYPNOTISM (November 1922) – Hackensaw creates a mechanical hypnotism machine and uses himself as a human guinea pig. The experiment is a success but when the device is stolen the doctor must hide in a protective pod to prevent the thieves from being able to control him from afar. He has his associates track down the invention.
JOURNEY TO THE YEAR 2025 (December 1922) – When Silas Rockett longs to explore the far future, Dr Hackensaw comes up with a chemical formula which sends Rockett to 2025 A.D. Silas being Silas, his trip centers around a lovely lady, Radia. The couple fly around via portable rocket packs, use water-skates to walk across the Hudson River, walk on walls and ceilings via suction-boots and use moving sidewalks when they grow tired. Furnishings and appliances in homes emerge from the walls at the touch of buttons and other wonders are beheld by Rockett until the formula wears off and he returns to 1922.
THE SECRET OF THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE (January 1923) – Doctor H solves the mystery of the ages when he at last perfects a process which uses radiation to transmute base metals into gold. The entire global economy might get plunged into chaos if the process falls into the wrong hands.
THE SECRET OF ARTIFICIAL GILLS (February 1923) – Our main character pioneers artificial gills which allow for extended exploration of the oceans. However, humans remain fairly vulnerable to some of the creatures from the depths.
THE SECRET OF THE MOTORLESS AIRPLANE (March 1923) – Hackensaw turns his talents to aeronautics. He devises a flying machine which is motorless but which flies by means of its helium-filled wings. Sky high perils are experienced.
THE SECRET OF THE SIXTH SENSE (April 1923) – Doctor H experiments on sensory perceptions, using his inventions to change light into sound and sound into color. He also implants an artificial eye on one of his fingertips.
THE SECRET OF THE EARTHQUAKE (May 1923) – The good doctor is called in when Mount Vesuvius is threatening to erupt again. Hackensaw invents a means of forcing a smaller, controlled eruption. But is he going too far when he attempts to harness volcanic forces to produce electricity?
THE SECRET OF THE WALKING RADIOBILE (June 1923) – The eccentric genius creates a mechanical means of transportation which uses radiation and chemicals. The vehicle can travel on land via artificial legs and through the air with wings.
THE SECRET OF THE TALKING APE (July 1923) – Hackensaw’s experiments with ape fetuses culminate in a talking chimp with a brilliant mind. This bittersweet story ends with the friendly primate giving his life to save the doctor’s daughter from a fire.
*** I’LL COVER THE REMAINING ADVENTURES IN PART TWO, COMING SOON. ***
FOR 22 MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE.
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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11 responses to “DOCTOR HACKENSAW’S SECRETS (1921-1925): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION”
Reblogged this on El Noticiero de Alvarez Galloso.
Thank you very much, sir!
What delightful names! Hackensaw, Silas Rockett and Pep Perkins!
I agree! Hackensaw sounds like Groucho’s Hackenbush character, Silas Rockett sounds like a Pulp Hero and Pep Perkins sounds like she’s be a fashion reporter.
Yes! To me, they sound very 1940s stage names but clearly I underestimated the inventiveness of the 1920s 😉
I know what you mean!
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