By Colleen McMahon: As January 1 approaches and 1923 copyrights become public domain, commenters on the previous installment pointed out some 1923 works that might appeal to genre readers. Bill suggested four:
- The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Sherlock Holmes story, “The Adventure of the Creeping Man”. This one is tricky,
as the most common source is The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, which
collected the final Holmes stories and was published in 1927, so it remains
under copyright for a few more years. However, the story itself was published
in The Strand magazine in 1923, so you can find it for free there when
the 1923 issues of the magazine come online.
“archy and mehitabel” pieces by Don Marquis. Without more detail on the pieces
I couldn’t look around for an online version, but plenty of Don Marquis works
published in 1922 and earlier are already available on Project
- Doctor Doolittle and the Secret Lake by Hugh Lofting.
Bruce Arthurs mentioned The Barge of Haunted Lives by J.Aubrey Tyson, a “club story” collection where an eccentric millionaire gathers nine people who have had supernatural experiences and has each tell his or her story.
I didn’t see an online version of this book (yet!) but Tyson also wrote a 1922 novel, The Scarlet Tanager, which is available through the Internet Archive. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes it as “ Near Future thriller…which is set in 1930, rousingly presents a submarine pirate and his right-wing cohorts; a tough US intelligence agent opposes their efforts to topple the American government. A UK agent, the actress of the title, also becomes involved. Sf devices include sonar and an invisible Ray.” Sounds like fun!
My favorite recent Project Gutenberg discovery is 1500 Miles Per Hour: A Story of a Visit to the Planet Mars by Charles Dixon (1858-1926). Published in 1895, it tells the story of four men and a dog who travel to Mars by rocket ship, where they encounter strange life forms, including terrible monsters. The illustrations are eye-popping, and a post at the Somnium Project blog contains several examples of them.
From this blog post, I also found out about the British Library’s Flickr account containing over a million illustrations from books in their collection. The illustrations from 1500 Miles Per Hour are included in the “Space and SciFi” album, along with over 400 others. The entire collection is wonderful and inspiring to browse through. There are albums of everything from children’s book illustrations to fashion to antique maps.
Terry Gene Carr (1937-1987) was a lifelong science fiction fan who published many fanzines and won the Hugo award for Best Fan Writer in 1973. He was well known for editing science fiction anthologies, and also wrote several novels. One of them, Warlord of Kor, is available on Project Gutenberg. There are also two audio versions available on Librivox.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007) has two early short stories on Project Gutenberg:
Rose Macauley (1881-1958) was an English novelist who has two novels with near-future themes:
- What-Not: A Prophetic Comedy was published in 1918, and was
recently described by The Guardian as “a forgotten feminist
dystopian novel, a story of eugenics and newspaper manipulation that is believed
to have influenced Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four”. It’s had
some buzz lately because it is being re-released in a new edition,
complete with restored sections that were left out of the original 1918
edition. But you can read the original version for free at PG.
- Mystery at Geneva: an Improbable Tale of Singular Happenings, published in 1922, tells a then-near-future tale of Bolsheviks battling a counter-revolution of monarchists, and a communist plot to destroy the League of Nations foiled by a woman journalist. Librivox has an audio edition as well.
Recent Librivox releases:
- A Christmas Carol (Version 11) by Charles Dickens
The classic Christmas story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an elderly miser who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. The result of their visit shows that redemption is achievable for even the worst of us.
Whirligig by Edward
Cupid’s Whirligig is a city comedy: a play in colloquial language dealing with the everyday life of London’s citizens. A knight, Sir Timothy Troublesome, suspects his wife of cheating on him and, to prove that any children she bears are not his own, decides to ‘geld’ himself. Meanwhile, the young Lord Nonsuch dreams of bedding the knight’s wife, and in disguise enters the Troublesomes’ employ as a servant. Cupid descends from the heavens to cast a love spell on the citizens of London and, by the last act, one character loves another, who loves another, and so on until the last loves the first: a “Cupid’s whirligig”.
- In the Fourth Year: Anticipations of a World Peace by H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
In the Fourth Year is a collection H.G. Wells assembled in the spring of 1918 from essays he had recently published discussing the problem of establishing lasting peace when World War I ended. It is mostly devoted to plans for the League of Nations and the discussion of post-war politics.
- Christmas Short Works Collection 2018 by Various
A delightful collection of stories and poems, with several interesting selections discussing various Christmas and holiday traditions, and a lovely Christmas play, featuring a full cast. All selections have been chosen and narrated by LibriVox volunteers to commemorate Christmas 2018. Includes “Thurlow’s Christmas Story”, a spooky tale with a Christmas angle (which I read for the collection and really enjoyed!)