Unsettling Scientific Stories

Blogging the History of the Future

September 21, 2016
Iwan Morus

A Boy’s Own Radium

Author: Iwan Rhys Morus


A few years ago, during one of our occasional forays to Hay on Wye and its second hand bookshops, I came across a boys’ adventure novel called The Radium Casket, published in 1926 (by Oxford University Press – I had no idea they published such things, though a few seconds research showed me how wrong I was: https://global.oup.com/education/children). Obviously, no historian of physics was going to leave something like that in a bookshop, so I bought it. It’s a classic imperialist yarn, set in China in the aftermath of the Boxer Rebellion. The British hero rescues a Chinese fugitive from his attackers and the dying man bequeaths him a mysterious casket filled with a strange silvery metal that turns out to have some peculiar properties. (more…)

July 12, 2016
Amy C. Chambers

OSIRIS 2019 | Presenting Past Futures: SF and the History of Science

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We’re very pleased and proud to announce that volume 34 of Osiris will be edited by Amanda Rees (University of York) and Iwan Morus (Aberystwyth University).
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June 13, 2016
Amanda Rees

Species, Race, Slavery: SF Literature and Defining Humanity

Author: Amanda Rees


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By their works, you shall know them…according to Vercors (the war-time pen name of French writer, Jean Bruller). His 1952 novel, Les Animaux dénaturés, opens with the death of a baby in Guildford. The father, who has arranged for the infant’s birth to be registered and for him to be baptised – thus ensuring that both Church and State recognise the child’s existence – is the killer: the mother, on the other hand, is a member of the species Paranthropus erectus (a genus of extinct hominins). So, is the father a murderer?

 

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June 7, 2016
Mat Paskins

Science Fictions: Mat’s List

Author: Mat Paskins


  1. Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things

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June 2, 2016
Lisa Garforth

One of my favourite words is ‘sfnal’

Author: Lisa Garforth


Sfnal: it’s a term that says a lot about contemporary sf, its journeys, its uses, the cleverness of its readers and writers. I like the idea that something can be ‘science fictional’, that sf is not necessarily an object or a genre in the sense of a container, but rather that it is a shared way of thinking and doing things. (more…)

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