The Man with the Strange Head and Other Early Science Fiction Stories

By Miles J. Breuer; Michael R. Page | Go to book overview

Appendix 1
The Future of Scientifiction

The outstanding characteristics of every period in human history have been reflected in the literature of that period. Fiction, especially, is more free to concern itself with the everyday life of the common man, than is any other form of literature. In ancient times the hero of the common man was the warrior and the orator, and the epic poem, which is the fictional type of the ancients, contains nothing but war and oratory—unless it be love, which is common to all ages. The fiction of the Middle Ages is distinguished by religion and chivalry; that of early modern times, when men broke out of their narrow corner in Europe and explored the world, is distinguished by adventure and romance. In recent fiction, what do we find as the preponderating element? Industrialism, politics, finance. What men do in real life, they do in books.

Science in fiction is not new. I saw an account of a trip to the moon by one Cyrano de Bergerac, written in the sixteenth century. There must be older examples. But, stories of that type, like Mrs. Shelley’s Frankenstein, were few and far between; and certainly found a limited reading public.

Few men know or care anything about science. The average reader is not a student; he reads the familiar things that come easy.

It is only in recent years that Science has begun to invade the everyday life of the everyday man. Up to yesterday, science was a thing set apart; it dwelt in the sacred laboratories, which none but the initiated few might enter. Who wanted to write about it? Still less did anyone want to read about it? Today, science does for the common man in

-415-

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The Man with the Strange Head and Other Early Science Fiction Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Science Fiction Pioneer of the Nebraska Plains ix
  • The Man with the Strange Head 1
  • The Appendix and the Spectacles 12
  • The Gostak and the Doshes 25
  • Paradise and Iron 44
  • A Problem in Communication 257
  • On Board the Martian Liner 285
  • Mechanocracy 312
  • The Finger of the Past 339
  • Millions for Defense 350
  • Mars Colonizes 366
  • The Oversight 394
  • Appendix 1- The Future of Scientifiction 415
  • Appendix 2- Selected Letters 419
  • Source Acknowledgments 427
  • Breuer's Science Fiction 429
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