THE ARCTIC DEATH (1927) – Written by Wilford Allen, On A Far World, covered below, was a prequel to this same tale. The Arctic Death is set in the 1930s, which was “the near future” when the story was first published.
A mysterious epidemic called the Arctic Death is spreading southward from the North Pole, leaving countless frozen bodies in its wake. Professor Charles Breinbar, the greatest scientific mind of the decade, uses high-tech “Q-Rays” to determine that the victims did not just die of cold but were snuffed out by malign disembodied entities of some sort.
Breinbar devises special insulation which allows him and his assistant to enter the region currently being affected by the spreading wave of fatalities. Investigating the area our heroes witness people dropping dead in the streets after being affected by energy emanating from floating balls of light. Continue reading
THE THAMES VALLEY CATASTROPHE (1884) – Written by Grant Allen. The story is presented in the form of a memoir about the destruction of London as seen from “the futuristic” 20th Century.
“Back” in 1884 a Londoner familiar with lava eruptions and flows that happened in the American West in the past tries – in what would become a trope of later disaster movies – to warn the authorities that danger lurks. Needless to say his warnings go unheeded and lava erupts in the Thames Valley. Continue reading
MY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP, A TALE OF 1950 (1902) – Written by W.F. Alexander. Though written in 1902 this story is set in a fictional 1950 which has seen incredible scientific advances.
The action begins in England, where our narrator lives with his true love Margaret. His cousin Stephen Rankin – a former rival for Margaret’s affections – is a nasty mean-spirited mad scientist figure.
Stephen has invented a new type of aerocar which can travel 45 miles per hour, which we readers are told makes it the fastest aircraft of 1950. (!) As a peace-making gesture the inventor invites our narrator along for a joyride in the airship. Continue reading
THE LUNARIAN PROFESSOR AND HIS REMARKABLE REVELATIONS CONCERNING THE EARTH, THE MOON AND MARS TOGETHER WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE CRUISE OF THE SALLY ANN (1909) – Written by James B Alexander back in the glory days of titles so long they might not fit in a 140 character limit.
The story is set in 1892, when James Alexander pretends that, while on a fishing trip he encountered a humanoid with a head like a globe, six limbs, large eyes and six wings. The being claims to be a “Lunarian,” a man from our moon.
He is a professor and informs Alexander that he and his fellow Lunarians travel from planet to planet by manipulating gravity. They live in vast underground caverns on the moon, caverns with a breathable atmosphere. Their mastery of gravity is the key to their advanced technology.
The professor’s people have been observing Earth for an untold amount of time. James Alexander even learns that in the distant past humans had to fight intelligently evolving reptiles for planetary supremacy. The cavemen won.
The Lunarians grow vegetation in hydroponic trays and dispose of their dead through a disintegration process that breaks the bodies down into their base elements, thus nothing gets wasted. Though their own culture is socialistic the Lunarians have no shyness about earning profits by selling their advanced technology to other inhabited planets.
The Lunarians have even developed methods of predicting the future. Alexander asks about Earth’s future and the professor from the moon is happy to lay it all out for the Earthling. Continue reading
THE PURPLE DEATH (1895) – Written by William Livingston Alden. Presented in the first person this story is narrated by a British gentleman staying in Italy. He becomes friendly with his neighbor, a German M.D. and bacteriologist named Dr Schmidt.
Subsequent conversations reveal that Schmidt is a good old-fashioned mad scientist who has some very odd sympathies. The German doctor sides with Anarchists (among the biggest bogey-men of the 1890s) and his only objection to the occasional assassinations that Anarchists commit is how impractical those crimes are. Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog’s Best of 2017 continues!
NUMBER ONE – My two-part look at NEW DEMOCRAT SLOGANS was a comedy hit. This “Party of CEO’s” has come to deserve its reputation for having driven away all of us except pompous snobs and hilariously pretentious asses.
For this look at humorous slogans for this political party which Franklin Roosevelt and John F Kennedy would not even recognize CLICK HERE
AND FOR PART TWO CLICK HERE
NUMBER TWO – One of Balladeer’s Blog’s most popular Ancient Science Fiction posts EVER was this look at a very obscure 1896 work and its fascinating female lead.
For my review of THE INCUBATED GIRL click HERE
NUMBER THREE – Legendary Camille Paglia was in rare form this year, speaking on behalf of all of us who left the Democrats in disgust in recent years.
In July came CAMILLE PAGLIA BLAMES THE DEMOCRATS FOR DESTROYING JOURNALISM WITH THEIR ANTI-TRUMP HYSTERIA. Click HERE
NUMBER FOUR – For Frontierado Season this year one of my blog posts dealt with the story-telling possibilities inherent in a neglected aspect of Mormon history.
To read DANITES: GUNSLINGING “KNIGHTS” OF THE OLD WEST just click HERE
NUMBER FIVE – Another western figure got a lot of attention in July, a gunslinging lady who braved Old California on a stage coach route.
For my article on DUSTY DELIA: FEMALE STAGE COACH DRIVER click HERE
THE LAND OF THE CENTRAL SUN (1903) – Written by Park Winthrop. The Wintons – Jack and Louise – plus the Livingstons – Bert and Lily – are among the passengers on the ship Golden City when it gets blown off course. The ship winds up near Antarctica and gets trapped in ice.
Damages cause the vessel to start sinking, but some passengers are rescued by the arrival of a (literal) CIGAR-SHAPED aircraft made of metal. The crew members of this mysterious ship are all dwarves and they are captained by Baron Montavo.
The Baron explains to his guests that the ship is called the Meteor and is run by anti-gravity devices in the center and by magnetic devices at the front and back. Montavo pilots the Meteor under the sea and into a subaquatic tunnel which goes on for miles. Continue reading