Tag Archives: W.L. Aden

A DARWINIAN SCHOONER (1893): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

baboonsA DARWINIAN SCHOONER (1893) – Written by William Alden. With the latest Planet of the Apes movie hitting many theaters today I figured it was a good time to post a review of this story that’s in a similar spirit.

The tale starts on board a 22-man ship called the Jane G Mather. This vessel is 500 miles or so east of Cape Saint Roque in Brazil when the 2nd Mate – Mr Samuels – catches sight of a schooner barely a mile off.

The schooner has full sails on but keeps listing to and fro almost as if its crew were novices or drunk. After two hours the Captain – Bill Simmons – takes an interest in the careering ship in the distance since it is clearly a potential threat to sea traffic.

Captain Simmons has Mr Samuels round up an away team consisting of Samuels himself and four other men. They are to board the errant vessel and advise the captain to get his crew and his ship under better control. Soon, Samuels and his four men pull alongside the schooner and are shocked to see nothing but large monkeys – baboons, Samuels guesses – aboard the ship.

The 2nd Mate of the Mather is unnerved at the sight and by how calmly the baboons watch him and the rest of the away team board the ship. The primates make no sound and do not jump around or otherwise behave like real monkeys, if you know what I mean and I think you do. Continue reading

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