Category Archives: Fiction

Truth is Stranger than Science Fiction

Fiction may seem outlandish to us when it imagines exotic realms or daring adventures, yet few things in the universe are as mysterious as the human soul. We all enjoy works of pure escapism. That said, the most enduring stories … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Fiction

The Time Traveller’s Prophecy

H. G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine, published in 1895, is more than a piece of highly entertaining fiction. It is also an interesting and important contribution to the canon of dystopian literature. Even before Wells, there was a tendency … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, H. G. Wells, Literature

Of Martians and Men

Over the years I have a commented on many of H. G. Wells’ tales. In this post I want to profile his greatest work, The War of the Worlds (1898). I first encountered the novel around the age of twelve … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, H. G. Wells, Literature

The Fantastic Voyages of Jules Verne

Jules Verne’s Around the Moon (1870) is the sequel to his famous tale From the Earth to the Moon (1865), though of the two I think the later book must be the more interesting because the first story deals only … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction

Orwellian Paradoxes

Stephen Jay Greenblatt’s Three Modern Satirists (1965) is an obscure but insightful volume that I found while browsing the increasingly depleted shelves of the public library. It examines the careers of English authors Evelyn Waugh, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley. … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, George Orwell, Literature, Politics

Dr. Jekyll’s Temptation

During this Halloween season I took up Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The book is full of the “atmospherics” that I enjoy in older British fiction. Take for example this scene between the taciturn lawyer Mr. Utterson (friend … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature, Religion

The Infinite Worlds of Lester del Rey

One of the Golden Age science fiction novels that I fondly remember reading as a child was Step to the Stars (1954) by Lester del Rey (1915-1993). I have recently rediscovered this and other classic novels at the Richmond city … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Frankenstein as Literature

Good fiction should, above all, be read as a story, before tackling the deeper implication of the author’s ideas. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) is no exception. I was paging through the book, appropriately enough, in the week before Halloween. There … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Wakefield’s Delinquency and Hawthorne’s Moral

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Wakefield” is not particularly dramatic or bizarre. There are no great crimes, supernatural occurrences or unusual spiritual dilemmas, though there is a more subtle moral element at work. Originally written in the 1830s – as part … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature

Paul Bourget and the Intellectual as Villain

While at the city library I was surprised to find an interesting older volume of literary criticism that had not yet been purged from the shelves—The Intellectual Hero: Studies in the French Novel, 1880-1955 by Victor Brombert (Lippincott, 1961). Perusing … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature, Philosophy