Archive for the science fiction category

Time travel lore (5): ‘Victory Over the Sun’

Victory Over the Sun (1913) is a notorious specimen of Russian Futurism, a multimedia avant-garde opera that makes practically no sense. Wikipedia provides the basic information: “The libretto written in zaum language was contributed by Aleksei Kruchonykh, the music was written by Mikhail Matyushin, the prologue was added by Velimir Khlebnikov, and the stage designer […]

Black mystic in hyperspace

As a teenager I learned that the mathematics and philosophical exploitation of four-dimensional geometry (hyperspace) became a fad in the late 19th century. Following the development of the mathematics of the fourth dimension, the popularization of the concept manifested itself in literature, most notably in the works of Charles Howard Hinton and Edwin Abbott Abbott […]

Time Travel lore (4): Chrononauts

Many many many years ago I acquired the first edition of the card game Fluxx, a product of Looney Labs, in which the rules are constantly changing. This past year I played the latest version of the standard game for the first time, and it is most delightful. I also got to meet the inventor. […]

Time travel lore (3): ‘scientific’ search for time travelers

In our time it has become difficult to distinguish genuine news items from spoofs and satire. Real news items are sometimes indistinguishable from what one would find in The Onion. Is the same thing happening in the realm of science? “Search of the Internet Reveals No Evidence of Time Travelers” by Erin McCarthy, Mental Floss. […]

Time travel lore (2)

One interesting aspect of the notion of time travel is how it migrates out of the realm of science fiction into other areas of culture. Here is an example: “11 Time Traveler Urban Legends That Pretty Much Debunk Themselves” by Bill DeMain, courtesy of Mental Floss magazine, August 12, 2012. Hoaxes, gullibility, and superstition aren’t […]

H. G. Wells Revisited (2): Wells & Borges

In my previous post I quoted from Borges’ essay “The First Wells” (1946), published in Other Inquisitions (1937-1952) and anthologized subsequently. Borges wrote multiple essays about Wells. This one was not anthologized in Selected Non-fictions (Eliot Weinberger et al), but it does appear in Borges, A Reader: A Selection from the Writings of Jorge Luis […]

Time travel lore

This humorous exchange of notes in a coffee shop recently came to my attention: A man opened the drawer in his cafe table. Inside, he found proof that time travel is real. (Happy Place, 6/30/13) Happy Place has more eccentric time travel posts.  Here’s one I couldn’t have made up: Oddly sexist Craigslist ad seeks […]

H. G. Wells Revisited (1)

The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Plattner Story, The First Men in the Moon. They are the first books I read; perhaps they will be the last. I think they will be incorporated, like the fables of Theseus or Ahaseurus, into the general memory of the species and even transcend the fame […]

Stanislaw Lem on Jorge Luis Borges (Borges 16)

UNITAS OPPOSITORUM: THE PROSE OF JORGE LUIS BORGES by Stanislaw Lem, in Microworlds: Writings on Science Fiction and Fantasy, edited by Franz Rottensteiner (New York: Harvest / HBJ, 1986). I wish Lem would have elaborated more on his generalizations, because what he locates as Borges’ central weakness may cohere with what I would see as […]

Vonnegut in Hungary: postmodernism, hi-low genre hopping, & self-parody

Bényei, Tamás. „Leakings: Reappropriating Science Fiction: The Case of Kurt Vonnegut,” in Anatomy of Science Fiction, edited & introduced by Donald E. Morse (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2006), pp. 48-69. I’m fairly indifferent to the obsession with high/low culture and genre boundaries, not to mention postmodernism (which has taken over the whole world, now […]