Unsettling Scientific Stories

Blogging the History of the Future

May 4, 2016
Iwan Morus

Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day)

Author: Iwan Rhys Morus

71t2ssnlpplI’ve just finished re-reading a book I first (and last) read when I was twelve or thirteen. Welsh SF was a rare commodity in the 1970s. The classic Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd (A Week in Future Wales) by Islwyn Ffowc Elis had been published in 1957. It was an utopian, time-travelling vision of a future independence married to a warning of what might go wrong. I can vaguely remember something about travelling to Venus as another example, and the Welsh children’s magazine Cymru’r Plant serialized a space travelling adventure story sometime in the late 60s or early 70s. Owain Owain’s Y Dydd Olaf (The Last Day), published (and read by me) in 1976, was certainly not a space opera adventure, or a piece of Plaid Cymru propaganda. It was weird and uncomfortable, which is probably why I didn’t read it again. (more…)

April 29, 2016
Amanda Rees

Naming Storms is a Serious Matter

Author: Amanda Rees

Detail from cover art for ‘Storm’

Not at any price would the Junior Meteorologist have revealed to the Chief that he was bestowing names – and girls’ names at that – upon these great moving low pressure areas. But he justified the sentimental vagary by explaining mentally that each storm was really an individual and that he could more easily say (to himself of course) ‘Antonia’ than ‘the low-pressure centre which was yesterday in latitude on-seventy-five East, longitude forty-two North’ (George R. Stewart, Storm, 1941)


April 27, 2016
Lisa Garforth

History and Science Fiction

Author: Lisa Garforth

One of the aims of the Unsettling Scientific Stories project is to think about how sf creates futures, looking back from the present to see how it has done so in the past. But I’ve been thinking recently about how some writers see sf working the other way around, creating histories by looking back from an imagined future. (more…)

April 25, 2016
Lisa Garforth

Science Fiction Suggestions: Lisa’s List

Author: Lisa Garforth

LisaGarforthI am an environmental and cultural sociologist, STS-adjacent. In my research I have explored green utopias, examined claims about social-natural futures, and inquired into how the boring domestic work gets done in science labs. I am currently working on a book on environmental utopianism and papers on what happens to green hope at nature’s end. I teach a module on society and the utopian imagination. (more…)

April 22, 2016
Amy C. Chambers

Amazing Stories, Amazing Art: SF Magazine Cover Art

Author: Amy C. Chambers

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 13.35.53The cover art for the Unsettling Scientific Stories project is taken from original cover art created by Arnold Kohn for the August 1947 edition of Amazing Stories (vol.21, iss.8). (more…)