1. Edwin Lester Arnold
2. Gertrude Franklin Atherton
3. Joseph Conrad
4. George Griffith
5. Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky
Edwin Lester Arnold (1857-1935)
British author, businessman, journalist. Remembered for supernatural novel The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician (1890/91). Time-travel via reincarnation.
British author, son of the late Sir Edwin Arnold. After college he turned to cattle breeding in Scotland, then cultivation of unsurveyed forest in India. He then returned to England and devoted himself to literary and journalistic work.
* Lepidus the Centurion: A Roman of Today (Cassell: London, 1901; Cromwell: New York, 1901). On the borderline of SF and supernatural fiction. Louis Allanby discovers an ancient Roman — Lepidus, nephew of the Emperor Vespasian — alive and well inside an ancient tomb.
* Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905), also known as Gullivar of Mars and Gulliver of Mars. Possibly an influence on ERB. Both Gullivar and Burroughs's character John Carter, first seen in A Princess of Mars (1917), are Southern United States soldiers who arrive on Mars and have numerous adventures, including falling in love with a Martian princess. The last of Arnold's novels, its lukewarm reception led him to stop writing fiction. It has since become his best known work, and is considered important in the development of 20th century science fiction. NB: Ace Books reprinted Arnold's novel in 1964, retitling it Gulliver of Mars. A more recent Bison Books edition was issued as Gullivar of Mars, adapting the Ace title to Arnold's spelling.
His image of Mars as a planet inhabited by ancient races on the verge of death is considered quaint by today's standards. Even school children would find the idea of Martians using canals as means of transportation funny. However, this was a widely held view at the turn of the last century. Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910), the famous Italian astronomer, discovered what he called canali on Mars in 1860. Percival Lowell (1855-1916), the American astronomer, wrote two books about Mars and its canals (Mars and Its Canals and Mars as the Abode of Life). Lest you think these two men were crackpots, Schiaparelli catalogued 1,200 binary stars (1877-97) and discovered the relation between the orbits of comets and meteors (1866). Lowell predicted a planet had an orbit that crossed the orbital path of Neptune. The planet Pluto was discovered fifteen years after his death. At the time Arnold's view of Mars as a dying world that could support a vanishing civilization was scientific.
In Gulliver of Mars, Arnold created a tale that owes as much to the travelogue works of the early 1800s as it does to the novels and stories of Verne and Wells. Gulliver takes great pains to describe the Martian landscape and culture in detail. The Martian population Gulliver encounters is the remains of a once great civilization that is on the decline. After describing what he finds, he participates in a very Victorian adventure that is strong on description, but weak on action. The novel is also a hybrid of science fiction and fantasy, since it has a scientific basis, but uses fantastic elements, the most obvious being the magic carpet that transports Gulliver to Mars and back again. And here lies the importance of Gulliver of Mars. Historically, it serves as a transition from the romantic adventures of the 19th century and the science fiction of the early 20th century. It is clear that Schiaparelli and Lowell put forth a vision of Mars that influenced Arnold, but did Arnold influence others? Some science fiction historians believe that the importance of Gulliver of Mars is that it influenced A Princess of Mars. Did Burroughs use Arnold as a source for his Barsoom?
Gertrude Franklin Atherton (1857-1948)
US novelist with many works. San Franciscan novelist and historian. After her husband's death in 1887, she was free to pursue her writing career as a protégée of Ambrose Bierce, eventually writing 60 books and millions of words for magazines and newspapers. She's known today for her supernatural fiction, and for her "California series": novels and stories treating the social history of California. These include The Splendid, Idle Forties (1902), The Conqueror (1902, fictionalized life of Alexander Hamilton), and Black Oxen (1923). Also known as Gertrude Franklin Horn.
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* Black Oxen (Boni and Liveright: New York, 1923). A sensational, semi-autobiographical novel about Mary Ogden, a middle-aged ex-society belle who miraculously becomes young again after glandular therapy. Atherton's 1933 fiction "The Foghorn" is a psychological horror story — about a woman stifled by married life — that has been compared to The Yellow Wallpaper, and Black Oxen is also about a woman who will do whatever it takes (marry rich; undergo the Steinach treatment, meant to rejuvenate the ovaries with X-rays to gain "renewed mental vitality and neural energy") in order to lead an independent life. Despite her goal of raising money for needy European children, however, Ogden is not a particularly sympathetic character.
Somewhat dated. Method of rejuvenation based on X-radiation of gonads working well on women; psychological problems involved.
Joseph Conrad (TK)
George Griffith (TK)
Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky (TK)