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Science Fiction by Gaslight: A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 (Classics of Science Fiction)

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Contents: · Photography · Christine Haycock · il · Preface · Sam Moskowitz · pr · Introduction: A History of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 · Sam Moskowitz · in · The Thames Valley Catastrophe · Grant Allen · ss The Strand Dec, 1897 · The Doom of London · Robert Barr · ss The Idler Nov, 1892 · A Corner in Lightning · George Griffith · ss Pearson’s Magaz Contents: · Photography · Christine Haycock · il · Preface · Sam Moskowitz · pr · Introduction: A History of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 · Sam Moskowitz · in · The Thames Valley Catastrophe · Grant Allen · ss The Strand Dec, 1897 · The Doom of London · Robert Barr · ss The Idler Nov, 1892 · A Corner in Lightning · George Griffith · ss Pearson’s Magazine Mar, 1898 · The Tilting Island · Thomas J. Vivian & G. J. Bennett · ss Everybody’s Magazine Sep ’09 · Finis · Frank Lillie Pollock · ss Argosy Jun ’06 · An Express of the Future · Jules Verne · ss The Strand Jan, 1895 · The Ray of Displacement · Harriet Prescott Spofford · nv Metropolitan Magazine Oct ’03 · Congealing the Ice Trust · H. G. Bishop · vi Broadway Magazine Dec ’07 · Lord Beden’s Motor · J. B. Harris-Burland · ss The Strand Dec ’01 · The Death-Trap · George Daulton · ss Pearson’s Magazine (US) Mar ’08 · The Air Serpent · Will A. Page · ss The Red Book Magazine Apr ’11 · The Monster of Lake LaMetrie · Wardon Allan Curtis · ss Pearson’s Magazine Sep, 1899 · The Voice in the Night · William Hope Hodgson · ss Blue Book Nov ’07 · The Land Ironclads · H. G. Wells · nv The Strand Dec ’03 · The Dam · Hugh S. Johnson · ss The Red Book Magazine Apr ’11 · Submarined · Walter Wood · ss Pearson’s Magazine (US) Feb ’05 · The Purple Terror · Fred M. White · ss The Strand Sep, 1899 · Professor Jonkin’s Cannibal Plant [Professor Jonkin] · Howard R. Garis · ss Argosy Aug ’05 · An Experiment in Gyro-Hats · Ellis Parker Butler · ss Hampton’s Jun ’10 · The Hybrid Hyperborean Ant · Roy L. McCardell · ss Hampton’s Dec ’10 · Where the Air Quivered · L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace · nv The Strand Dec, 1898 · In re State vs. Forbes · Warren Earle · ss The Black Cat Jul ’06 · Old Doctor Rutherford · D. F. Hannigan · ss The Ludgate Magazine Sep, 1891 · Itself · Edgar Mayhew Bacon · ss The Black Cat May ’07 · Citizen 504 · Charles H. Palmer · ss Argosy Dec, 1896 · The Mansion of Forgetfulness · Don Mark Lemon · ss The Black Cat Apr ’07


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Contents: · Photography · Christine Haycock · il · Preface · Sam Moskowitz · pr · Introduction: A History of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 · Sam Moskowitz · in · The Thames Valley Catastrophe · Grant Allen · ss The Strand Dec, 1897 · The Doom of London · Robert Barr · ss The Idler Nov, 1892 · A Corner in Lightning · George Griffith · ss Pearson’s Magaz Contents: · Photography · Christine Haycock · il · Preface · Sam Moskowitz · pr · Introduction: A History of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 · Sam Moskowitz · in · The Thames Valley Catastrophe · Grant Allen · ss The Strand Dec, 1897 · The Doom of London · Robert Barr · ss The Idler Nov, 1892 · A Corner in Lightning · George Griffith · ss Pearson’s Magazine Mar, 1898 · The Tilting Island · Thomas J. Vivian & G. J. Bennett · ss Everybody’s Magazine Sep ’09 · Finis · Frank Lillie Pollock · ss Argosy Jun ’06 · An Express of the Future · Jules Verne · ss The Strand Jan, 1895 · The Ray of Displacement · Harriet Prescott Spofford · nv Metropolitan Magazine Oct ’03 · Congealing the Ice Trust · H. G. Bishop · vi Broadway Magazine Dec ’07 · Lord Beden’s Motor · J. B. Harris-Burland · ss The Strand Dec ’01 · The Death-Trap · George Daulton · ss Pearson’s Magazine (US) Mar ’08 · The Air Serpent · Will A. Page · ss The Red Book Magazine Apr ’11 · The Monster of Lake LaMetrie · Wardon Allan Curtis · ss Pearson’s Magazine Sep, 1899 · The Voice in the Night · William Hope Hodgson · ss Blue Book Nov ’07 · The Land Ironclads · H. G. Wells · nv The Strand Dec ’03 · The Dam · Hugh S. Johnson · ss The Red Book Magazine Apr ’11 · Submarined · Walter Wood · ss Pearson’s Magazine (US) Feb ’05 · The Purple Terror · Fred M. White · ss The Strand Sep, 1899 · Professor Jonkin’s Cannibal Plant [Professor Jonkin] · Howard R. Garis · ss Argosy Aug ’05 · An Experiment in Gyro-Hats · Ellis Parker Butler · ss Hampton’s Jun ’10 · The Hybrid Hyperborean Ant · Roy L. McCardell · ss Hampton’s Dec ’10 · Where the Air Quivered · L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace · nv The Strand Dec, 1898 · In re State vs. Forbes · Warren Earle · ss The Black Cat Jul ’06 · Old Doctor Rutherford · D. F. Hannigan · ss The Ludgate Magazine Sep, 1891 · Itself · Edgar Mayhew Bacon · ss The Black Cat May ’07 · Citizen 504 · Charles H. Palmer · ss Argosy Dec, 1896 · The Mansion of Forgetfulness · Don Mark Lemon · ss The Black Cat Apr ’07

50 review for Science Fiction by Gaslight: A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines, 1891-1911 (Classics of Science Fiction)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    This is another book I read back when I was toying with the idea (which never materialized) of developing a college-level class in science fiction. It provides a pretty good overview of the pulp SF of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both through the representative stories selected and the substantial and detailed 35-page introduction by the editor. The late Sam Moskowitz, as an English teacher at the City College (now City University) of New York, was one of the first academics to take t This is another book I read back when I was toying with the idea (which never materialized) of developing a college-level class in science fiction. It provides a pretty good overview of the pulp SF of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both through the representative stories selected and the substantial and detailed 35-page introduction by the editor. The late Sam Moskowitz, as an English teacher at the City College (now City University) of New York, was one of the first academics to take this genre seriously, having been a fan since his boyhood, and he wrote or edited several works covering much of the history of the field. He organizes the 27 stories, each of which gets a short bio-critical introduction to the author and the tale, into thematic categories (some only represented by a couple of stories): Catastrophes; Marvelous Inventions; Monsters and Horrors; Future War; Man-Eating Plants; Far-Out Humor; Scientific Crime and Detection; Medical Miracles; and Adventures in Psychology. The first three groups include 13 of the stories, or nearly half, and the two man-eating plant stories arguably could have just as well been included with Monsters and Horrors. Original publication venue and date is noted for all of the stories, which is helpful. That the stories are representative of their day doesn't always mean that they're gems of literary quality. The writing is often pedestrian and the literary craftsmanship and characterization limited, and a strong emotional impact and/or serious thought content is more of an exception than the rule. Most of the 29 authors represented (two stories were the work of writing teams) are no longer remembered much today, though Moskowitz does include a few big names: Verne, Wells, and William Hope Hodgson. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is an unfortunate omission from the roster, though he's discussed in the introduction. (Ironically, Verne's very short "An Express of the Future" is, IMO, one of the weakest tales in the bunch.) Not very surprisingly, the science is sometimes dated or misunderstood. On a more positive side, though, these pieces were published in venues that were still catering to general readers; the U.S. SF literary ghetto of the next generation was yet to be created, so the peculiarly insular stylistic and thematic perspectives influenced by a handful of editors aren't a literary strait-jacket here. So there's more variety; "hard" SF doesn't dominate to the exclusion of everything else, nor is technophilic optimism necessarily a party line that everybody parrots. Three of the best stories also appear in other anthologies that I've read (I think previously, in each case), and I believe I've commented on them elsewhere on Goodreads: Well's "The Land Ironclads," Hodgson's "The Voice in the Night," and Frank Lillie Pollock's "Finis" --the "science" in the latter is ludicrous, and there's no real possibility for "willing suspension of disbelief," but it still manages to have a poignancy and emotional power that's really touching. Some of the other stories here that I considered standouts included Robert Barr's "The Doom of London," a powerful cautionary tale (the kind of "killer smog" it predicted eventually struck in Donora, PA in the 1940s, though the location was less populous and the death toll much lower); H. G. Bishop's "Congealing the Ice Trust," with its socio-economic commentary on the monopolies of that day, which is appropos again as concentration of monopoly power in our economy again rears its head; Fred M. White's "The Purple Terror," though it's marred by a clearly racist and condescending attitude towards Cubans; and Hugh S. Johnson's "The Dam," which though it posits a near-future (for 1911) war between Japan and the U.S. is actually free of any overt racism or demonizing of the Japanese. Many of the other stories, though, are fairly forgettable and light-weight. I'd include "The Ray of Displacement" by Harriet Prescott Spofford, the only female author represented, in that group; it doesn't demonstrate anything of the literary skill she displays in "The Amber Gods" (see my review of Haunted Women: The Best Supernatural Tales by American Women Writers), and I'd say that SF was NOT her forte.' Overall, I didn't feel that the collection as a whole deserved more than three stars; but on balance, I did like it. There are enough good stories here to justify recommending it to SF fans with a historical bent.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meira (readingbooksinisrael)

    3.5 stars I feel like sometimes he didn't really know what the story was talking about in his intro to it, but it was an interesting history of pulp magazines. 3.5 stars I feel like sometimes he didn't really know what the story was talking about in his intro to it, but it was an interesting history of pulp magazines.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    'The Voice in the Night' by William Hope Hodgson from 1907 is a real gem, very disturbing. Adapted as the '60s Japanese monster movie, 'Matango!' in which folks get shipwrecked on an island coated with mysterious and rapacious fungi (good movie). Found another gem in 'The Death-Trap' by George Daulton. Published in 1908, a monster in the sewers of downtown Chicago is snatching unlucky passerby late at night to feast underground, until two men descend into the sewers to fight back. There are some 'The Voice in the Night' by William Hope Hodgson from 1907 is a real gem, very disturbing. Adapted as the '60s Japanese monster movie, 'Matango!' in which folks get shipwrecked on an island coated with mysterious and rapacious fungi (good movie). Found another gem in 'The Death-Trap' by George Daulton. Published in 1908, a monster in the sewers of downtown Chicago is snatching unlucky passerby late at night to feast underground, until two men descend into the sewers to fight back. There are some great finds in these old horror/sci-fi pulp collections.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dennis D.

    Do you wonder why there are no floating cities in the sky yet, or why we have to sit in traffic instead of zipping to work in our flying cars? Me neither. But you may still get a chuckle or two out of Science Fiction by Gaslight: A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines 1891-1911 Classics of Science Fiction. This collection was compiled in 1968 by the late Sam Moskowitz (1920 – 1997), a writer and critic who was regarded by many as one of the preeminent historians of Do you wonder why there are no floating cities in the sky yet, or why we have to sit in traffic instead of zipping to work in our flying cars? Me neither. But you may still get a chuckle or two out of Science Fiction by Gaslight: A History and Anthology of Science Fiction in the Popular Magazines 1891-1911 Classics of Science Fiction. This collection was compiled in 1968 by the late Sam Moskowitz (1920 – 1997), a writer and critic who was regarded by many as one of the preeminent historians of classic science fiction. SFBG's conceit is that many of the stories collected herein had, as of 1968, not seen print since their original magazine publication, and even those that had are uncommon. Moskowitz says he chose to emphasize the writings of certain "builders and pivotal figures who shaped the contour and general direction" of early science fiction. No author is represented more than once (Jules Verne and H. G. Wells were the only ones I had even heard of), and Moskowitz chose to arrange the stories by theme, rather than chronologically. As a result, there are sections on Catastrophes, Marvelous Inventions, Future War and etc. I didn't come at this as a historian or even as a student of science fiction. I started reading just out of curiosity, but then continued because I found it hilarious to see how these folks back then, without the benefit of today's technology or scientific knowledge, thought things would be or could be. For instance: * There’s the guy who’s reporting on a volcanic eruption that’s spreading lava across the English countryside, by riding continually ahead of the lava flow – on his bicycle. * Or the pioneering aviator who first reached the stratosphere, only to be attacked by the half-bat, half-snake creatures that are apparently flying around up there. * Or the doctor who performs the first-ever successful brain transplant – in the jungle, no less – using nothing but a machete and some medical dressings. Just scoop, scoop go the brains, and everyone’s all good. * Or the murder victim who identifies her killer by manipulating the sequence of red and white corpuscles in her blood to spell out her killer’s name – in Morse code! * Or the businessman who builds factories at the north and south poles allowing him to corner the market on all ‘electrical fluid’, which as we all know is the underlying source of all electricity, everywhere. I imagine this would be a good scholarly reference if you were interested in either the authors who are anthologized here, or in the publications of the day. Moskowitz gives thorough background on each, with one or two rare exceptions where he couldn't dig anything up. The magazines are especially well covered, as Moskowitz explains when they were founded and where they wound up. Author and comics creator David Malki made mention of this book in his blog, and I’m glad I checked it out. I'm also indebted to the Cincinnati Public Library for having a copy of this in their archives, otherwise I don’t know that I would have been able to track it down.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Muzzlehatch

    There have been several anthologies of early science fiction published over the years - H.G. Wells and his contemporaries have been relatively well-served by the publishing industry, particularly as their works have entered the public domain - though the interest in such primitive genre work seems to have abated since the 1970s, and this book as well as Castle Books' similar "Rivals of H.G. Wells" are both long out of print (though easy enough to find here and elsewhere without spending a fortun There have been several anthologies of early science fiction published over the years - H.G. Wells and his contemporaries have been relatively well-served by the publishing industry, particularly as their works have entered the public domain - though the interest in such primitive genre work seems to have abated since the 1970s, and this book as well as Castle Books' similar "Rivals of H.G. Wells" are both long out of print (though easy enough to find here and elsewhere without spending a fortune). This Sam Moskowitz volume is probably the best single introduction to the period that I've seen, though, and I wouldn't hesititate to recommend it to anyone who has read a bit of Wells or Verne and wants to explore further. The first 40 pages or so are taken up by a brief history of the popular magazines of the 1890s and 1900s, in both England where the rage for the "scientific romance" really seemed to take root first, and in America which was to dominate the field eventually. Illustrated, general-interest magazines like THE STRAND, THE IDLER, PEARSON'S, THE METROPOLITAN and THE ARGOSY provided cheap entertainment that could be afforded by even the lower middle classes from whence young H.G. Wells sprung, and which would given him his start as a writer of fiction, alongside such still-famous names as Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne (in translation) and of course, many others who have not survived in the public consciousness over the past century. Unlike Moskowitz' later "sequel", Under the Moons of Mars - A History and Anthology of The Scientific Romance in the Munsey Magazines 1912 - 1920, "Science Fiction by Gaslight" is made up entirely of short stories that are complete in this volume. They are grouped in nine different themes: Catastrophes, Marvellous Inventions, Monsters and Horrors, Future War, Man-Eating Plants, Far-Out Humor, Scientific Crime and Detection, Medical Miracles, and Adventures in Psychology. Authors, in addition to Wells and Verne, include William Hope Hodgson, Fred M. White, Grant Allen, George Griffith and Robert Barr - 26 stories in all, each with a brief biographical sketch of the author preceding it. All in all, a well-chosen, well-researched book that really showcases the breadth of early science fiction as it appeared in the short form. Only a few of the stories may be considered "classics" - Hodgson's VOICE IN THE NIGHT is one that might qualify - but most are a lot of fun, dated or humorously inaccurate though they might be. Worth hunting down for the specialist, as are most of the author's books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Moejoo

    Most of the Sam Moskowitz-edited books have a so-so collection but at the same time he has uncovered some real winners. His commentary and criticism is the best in all scifi but is scattered thruout his books and in periodicals and deserves a website of its own someday. He is really in his best form in something like this where it is very probably the ONLY compilation and critical assessment available on the topic. Here, the selection as well as the commentary is absorbing from front cover to ba Most of the Sam Moskowitz-edited books have a so-so collection but at the same time he has uncovered some real winners. His commentary and criticism is the best in all scifi but is scattered thruout his books and in periodicals and deserves a website of its own someday. He is really in his best form in something like this where it is very probably the ONLY compilation and critical assessment available on the topic. Here, the selection as well as the commentary is absorbing from front cover to back. For some reason there is one illustration that does not match any story included -- a story I really want to get my hands/eyes on too. For this reason I've taken off one star. Also very much worth a look research-minded readers are When Women Rule(1972) and Science Fiction In Old San Francisco (1980), the second volume of which in fact is a story collection. Update : some time ago I found the 'missing' story - The Platinum Web - online but it was not downloadable yet (they got so far as the title). But now a whole archive of Pearson's Magazine is online rather than left to decay somewhere. An interesting story - not great - but as representative of the period as anything else Moskowitz has singled out.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    I remember that this anthology of sci-fi stories was one of the best that I had read so many years ago. It satisfied my taste for something historical and something in the sci-fi genre, a great book, if you can find it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Constructionv4

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chad3006

  10. 4 out of 5

    Allan

  11. 5 out of 5

    Walter Underwood

  12. 5 out of 5

    Billy Arnold

  13. 4 out of 5

    Beverley Macca

  14. 5 out of 5

    Robert James

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Macdonald

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill FromPA

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Vittay

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mistel October

  20. 5 out of 5

    Richard Gombert

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vella Marcin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Papadalek

  23. 4 out of 5

    Merri Barnousky

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob Cat

  25. 5 out of 5

    Norman Cook

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Monk

  27. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Davenport

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ralph

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  31. 5 out of 5

    John

  32. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  33. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  34. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer-ruth

  35. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

  36. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

  37. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

  38. 5 out of 5

    Tani Griffin

  39. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel Irvin

  40. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

  41. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  42. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

  43. 5 out of 5

    Christy

  44. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  45. 5 out of 5

    Bridgitte

  46. 5 out of 5

    Jönathan

  47. 4 out of 5

    Rex

  48. 5 out of 5

    Ted Morgan

  49. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pratt

  50. 5 out of 5

    Jenni Coe

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