Frankenstein Dreams: A Connoisseur’s Collection of Victorian Science Fiction

Edited by Michael Sims. Bloomsbury, $22 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-63286-041-5
In a prefatory note, Sims credits Jules Verne for having “woke[n] up our attention to the real world by animating it with fantastic stories,” but he could just as easily be talking about the 18 other authors whose work appears in this thoughtfully compiled anthology of Victorian-era science fiction. To illustrate “the cross-fertilization occurring between science and literature” that distinguished popular fiction in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Sims collects 15 stories and five novel excerpts whose themes include brain transplants, time travel, and robotics. Several are written in a faux journalistic style to heighten their plausibility. In addition to such well-known works as Edgar Allan Poe’s tale of postmortem mesmerism, “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” and Arthur Conan Doyle’s speculation about monsters of the upper atmosphere, “The Horror of the Heights,” Sims includes little-known stories by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Rudyard Kipling, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, who were known primarily as mainstream writers. Even the most devoted science fiction reader will find unfamiliar treats in this assemblage of foundational fiction. Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/10/2017
Release date: 09/05/2017
Compact Disc - 978-1-68168-793-3
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