“It’s time for Science Fiction to Face up to Discrimination” (2013), David Barnett declared in the British newspaper The Guardian, where he argued that genre sf is still written and read almost exclusively by straight white males. Ironically, his piece was illustrated with a scene from Joss Whedon’s TV series Firefly (2002) that shows white captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) and black priest Derrial Book (Ron Glass) together. That series also featured several capable women characters in major roles. But Barnett may not have considered TV relevant. Anyway, he got right to his own point:
Science fiction loves a good paradox. Here's one for you: how can a genre that dreams up alien cultures and mythic races in such minute detail seemingly ignore the ethnic, religious, gender and sexual diversity right here on the home planet, here in the real world?[i]
Barnett cited a flap over the appearance of a picture of a bikini-clad woman on in the Bulletin of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the dominance of men running sf cons, while quoting South African blogger Laura Smith as complaining that sf, or at least English-language sf, avoids giving voice as characters to “anyone who is POC [person of colour], female, gay, transgendered; settings and cultures that aren’t North American or European; non-western folklore and mythology."[ii]
It’s unlikely that Barnett, author of several small press novels as well as a journalist,[iii] could have read anywhere near as much sf as longtime fans. But it turned out he was an sf wannabe, having just broken into steampunk with Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl (2013), a rather self-congratulatory pastiche of Victorian popular fiction and its attitudes. He didn’t mention that to The Guardian, and the only work he cited as a case of discrimination was Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon (2012), a fantasy adventure set on a world based on traditional Arab-Islamic mythology. Only, you wouldn’t know from his account that Ahmed won a Locus award for best first novel, and was nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula;[iv] nor that he was published by a genre specialty house (DAW), with raves from genre writers – including white males.[v] Maybe Barnett never checked any of that out.
Yet he seemed to know with absolute certainty that science fiction was all racist and sexist, as if there weren’t any women sf writers to speak of, let alone that they have won an increasing number of Hugo and Nebula awards in recent years. Winners from the 21st Century such as Connie Willis, Lois McMaster Bujold, Catherine Asaro, Elizabeth Moon and Jo Walton appeared to be unpersons to him. So did women writers of young adult sf like Suzanne Collins, whose The Hunger Games (2008) won a number of awards, including the Cybil for Fantasy and Science Fiction, and was adapted as a hit movie in 2012.
Barnett also seemed to know with equal certainty that there had never been any significant black writers (Samuel R. Delany, Steven Barnes, Nalo Hopkinson, the late Octavia Butler) or gay and lesbian writers (Delany again, David Gerrold, the late Thomas Disch, Nicola Griffith, Elizabeth A. Lynn and even Tanya Huff), let alone that black characters have appeared in sf by Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, James Gunn and others, or even on the screen – notably Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: the Next Generation (1987-98), not to mention Lt. Uhura on the original Star Trek (1966-69) and several movies. He might not have believed that gays and lesbians had been represented in the works of white writers like Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley before the Gay Liberation movement.
It’s unlikely that Barnett had encountered Frederik Pohl’s “Day Million” (1966), which centers on transgendered transhumans; or Gerrold’s Moonstar Odyssey (1977), a Nebula nominee in which children are born sexless and choose whether to be male or female at adolescence; or that Kim Stanley Robinson’s transgender lovers in 2312 (2012). Two decades before that, Maureen F. McHugh had won the Lambda and James Tiptree Jr. awards for China Mountain Zhang (1992), in which the protagonist is a young gay man of mixed Chinese and Hispanic ancestry in a future dominated by China (Would Barnett have even known about the Tiptree award, or the woman writing under a male name that it honors?). Chances are that most of what he knew, or believed that he knew, came from secondary sources – especially academic criticism that sees the genre through an ideological lens.
Science fiction critics used to be home-grown, and were usually sf writers before they became sf critics – as witness Damon Knight and James Blish, whose critical reviews were collected as In Search of Wonder (1956) and The Issue at Hand (1964, as by William Atheling Jr.), respectively. And there were literary historians who specialized in the genre, notably I.F. Clarke with Voices Prophesying War (1966) and The Pattern of Expectation (1979).
But things began to get more organized in 1970 with the founding of the Science Fiction Research Association, which sponsors annual conferences and keeps members up to date with research programs and projects. SF: The Other Side of Realism (1971) was the first modern academic book about sf. It was edited by Thomas D. Clareson, who taught English at the College of Wooster and had founded the sf journal Extrapolation in 1959. While his book included entries by several sf writers, notably Blish, Samuel R. Delany, Judith Merrill Brian Aldiss and Norman Spinrad, they were outnumbered by English professors.
Foundation, a British scholarly journal, was launched in England the next year, and R(ichard).D. Mullen, a himself a professor of English at Indiana State University (and a contributor to Clareson’s anthology), followed a year later with Science Fiction Studies, published in Canada by DePauw University. Academe began taking sf seriously enough that the number of scholarly works and critics contributing to them multiplied, and several launched degree programs. And while Delany established himself as a major figure in sf criticism with sundry commentaries and essays, and book-length studies beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw (1977, revised 2009), most serious critical work in the field has been by academics – Darko Suvin may still be the best known, but there are hundreds of others. By this time the count of books at least touching on sf could have well be over a hundred.
There are at least two dozen scholarly book-length studies about Philip K. Dick alone, a couple in French and Italian and only one, Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Novels of Philip K. Dick (1989) by a genre sf writer.[vi] Not only that, but he has been embraced as a prophet of postmodernism, which has become (along with neo-Marxism) one of the dominant schools of literary and cultural criticism; in 1991, Science Fiction Studies ran a piece by Jean Baudrillard that saw his role thusly:
It is hyperreal. It is a universe of simulation, which is something altogether different. And this is so not because Dick speaks specifically of simulacra. SF has always done so, but it has always played upon the double, on artificial replication or imaginary duplication, whereas here the double has disappeared. There is no more double; one is always already in the other world, another world which is not another, without mirrors or projection or utopias as means for reflection. The simulation is impassable, unsurpassable, checkmated, without exteriority. We can no longer move "through the mirror" to the other side, as we could during the golden age of transcendence.[vii]
Postmodernism took academic criticism by storm, and has been applied to both science fiction itself and sf criticism. In Postmodernist Fiction (1987), Brian McHale applies the theory to the works of Delany and Ballard, although he is more comfortable with Italo Calvino, Kurt Vonnegut and William S. Burroughs. Since then, the movement seems to have become an omnium gatherum for critiques of sf based on radical feminism, queer theory, culture theory and postcolonialism.
Marxist critic Frederic Jameson offered his take on postmodernism as a strategy for corporate control of culture in Postmodernism, Or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991), and later applied that to science fiction, including Dick, with Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2005). Jameson was already a mover and shaker in cultural theory, having founded the Marxist Literary Group (MLG) in 1969 as an affiliate of the Modern Language Association (MLA).[viii]
Even if the postmodernists and the Marxists didn’t see eye to eye –Carl Freedman has tried to reconcile them through a syncretic process in Critical Theory and Science Fiction (2000) – they seemed to agree that there was something rotten in the state of science fiction – in fact, any science fiction other than Marxist or postmodernist was reactionary.
Some of the ire of critics has been focused on particular schools of science fiction. Nicola Nixon, in a piece for Science Fiction Studies called “Cyberpunk: Preparing the Ground for Revolution or Keeping the Boys Satisfied?” (1992), challenged the claim of that movement to being culturally or politically radical, and she may have had some valid points. But in her rhetorical overkill and innuendo she associated it with the right-wing politics of Ronald Reagan and characterized its founders William Gibson and Bruce Sterling as arrested adolescent males obsessed with the “size of their dicks.”[ix]
This would certainly have been news to Pat Cadigan, a charter member of the movement, whose “Rock On” (1986) appeared in Mirrorshades, a showcase anthology edited by Sterling. That story became the basis of her cyberpunk novel Synners (1991), which won the Arthur C. Clarke award and was reprinted 20 years later as part of the Orion-Gollancz SF Masterworks series. It would also have been news to Marge Piercy, a feminist novelist, who credited Gibson and other cyberpunks as influences on her He, She and It (1991).[x] Nixon complained that Sterling’s Islands in the Net (1988) “presents Laura Webster, the central protagonist, as perpetually in need of rescue from prisons, would-be assassins, and terrorists”[xi] – without mentioning that it is Laura who ends of saving the world from a global terrorist cabal (Her husband David isn’t much use.). And, like, male heroes never suffer imprisonment or face would-be assassins?
Nixon’s diatribe against cyberpunk writers may have been occasioned by her resentment that they had gotten more publicity than first generation feminist sf writers like Joanna Russ, Ursula Le Guin, Suzy McKee Charnas and Sally Miller Gearhart – who had followed “a political and artistic trajectory from ’60s feminism to its enthusiastic articulation in specifically feminist utopias. Collectively they provided an often implicit and stinging critique of male SF writers’ penchant for figuring feminist power as the threat of the future.”[xii] But the only example of that “penchant” she had to offer was Parley J. Cooper’s The Feminists (1971), a work so obscure it probably wasn’t known to most male sf writers or readers. She apparently wasn’t aware of genre sf satirical stories of women-on-top like William Tenn’s “The Masculinist Revolt” (1965); but there haven’t been enough of those to make her case that male sf writers generally are terrified by any manifestation of female empowerment.
In a 1975 interview for the Youngstown State University Oral History Program, Leigh Brackett recalled that when she started writing sf, “Everybody in the field welcomed me with open arms.”[xiii] She may have had an androgynous name, but her fellow sf writers and most fans knew she was a woman. It was the same with C.L. (Catherine) Moore, and Andre (Alice) Norton. Readers certainly knew who Judith Merrill was. Merrill became a mover and shaker as anthologist and critic as well as writer, and while she took some lumps for her support of the controversial New Wave movement in the 1960’s, so did her male counterparts like Michael Moorcock. Not every female writer has made it big in science fiction, but neither has every male writer, and there isn’t any evidence that the men have ever ganged up on the women to hound them out of the market.
So who denounced women’s fiction in 2011 as “feminine tosh,” born of their “sentimentality, the narrow view of the world”?[xiv] It wasn’t Larry Niven, or one of the cyberpunks, or even one of the authors of military sf (surely the most male-dominated subgenre, although it has also made room for Elizabeth Moon and Tanya Huff), but Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul. The fact that Naipaul was born in Trinidad, of Indian ancestry, raises the question of whether he should be included in the indictment of “Orientalism” as a syndrome of “imperialist” Western literature.
Edward Said, in Culture and Imperialism (1993) believes that “the [Western] novel, as a cultural artefact of bourgeois society, and imperialism are unthinkable without each other.”[xv] Even Jane Austen, by that definition, must have been a staunch colonialist; indeed, Said reduces Mansfield Park to an exercise in callous indifference to “the agonies of [slavery in] Caribbean existence.”[xvi]
But Said hasn’t gone unchallenged. Susan Fraiman, a neither white nor conservative professor of feminist theory, queer theory, the British novel and culture studies at the University of Virginia, came to the defense of his most controversial target with “Jane Austen and Edward Said: Gender, Culture, and Imperialism” (Critical Inquiry 21.4, summer 1995). Gabrielle D.V. White, who has taught philosophy at the University of Leeds, devoted an entire book to the case for Austen as a critic of slavery in Jane Austen in the Context of Abolition: ‘A Fling at the Slave Trade’ (2006).
Shadia B. Drury, who teaches philosophy and political science at the University of Regina in Canada and is a critic of the radical Right,[xvii] finds fault with Said. First, the idea that non-Western peoples have been totally brainwashed by Western “Orientalist” discourse “presupposes a certain feeblemindness on the part of the dominated that adds insult to injury.” Second, it ignores the fact that prejudice is a two-way street. Arabs, she observes, have a pejorative term for Westerners, agnaby, connoting that they are “part man and part machine” with no depth or soul or feeling for family or children (Drury herself is of Egyptian Arab Christian origin,). Third, she argues:
Thanks to the scam being perpetrated by globalization, it is understandable that universal principles have fallen on hard times. But just because universal values can and have been used as instruments of domination, there is no reason to give up on them altogether. To do so is to undercut the moral ground that gives the critique of colonialism its traction.[xviii]
It is a commonplace among Said and other social critics of the Left that those whose who preached the “universal principles” of the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries turned a blind eye to slavery and the slave trade, on which the power and prosperity of the West depended; and that 19th Century liberals saw nothing wrong with the colonial exploitation of Asia and Africa. Yet, even granting that, the ideals of the Enlightenment ended up biting the hand that fed them in the anti-slavery movement and other progressive causes. In seemingly benighted Victorian times, when imperialism was at its zenith, Europe found Belgian King Leopold’s Congo Free State more than it could stomach. Liberation movements of the 20th Century, moreover, drew in large part on Western ideals of freedom and democracy: if there had never been a Locke, there would never have been a Gandhi.
Paul Brian, professor emeritus of English at Washington State University, contends that “people struggling for freedom in oppressed nations are more likely to draw inspiration from the quintessentially European Enlightenment concept of rights under natural law than they are to turn to postcolonial theory.” Moreover, he complains, Postcolonial Theory is itself Eurocentric, inasmuch as “it singles out the colonial experience as the most important fact about the countries involved. Surely that experience has had many powerful influences; but this is not necessarily the framework within which writers from—say—India, who have a long history of precolonial literature, wish to be viewed.”[xix]
By coincidence, Samit Basu addressed that issue in the Sept. 30, 2013 issue of Strange Horizons, an online magazine devoted to sf and fantasy and discussion thereof. Basu is known for the GameWorld fantasy trilogy, described in a Wikipedia entry on the first volume as “a motley mix of eastern and western fantasy featuring a huge bestiary of creatures from mythic traditions from all around the world, both ancient and modern - vanars, dragons, manticores, rakshases and various others.”[xx] He made his US debut with Turbulence (2012), a superhero novel, and has also written for comics. But asked during a panel discussion on Indian sf and fantasy whether it should have a specific political agenda, he responded thusly:
I don't think there should be any such should-address topics for any nation in any genre. How is that different from the general ‘Indians should write about India’ nonsense? I’ve certainly never picked up a work of fiction because it addresses particular issues that I feel writers from a region/race should address.
I also wanted to add that I find the term post-colonial speculative fiction interesting but fundamentally off-putting. Why would I voluntarily call myself a post-colonial anything? It’s likely to induce eye-gleams among academics and complete eye-glazes among civilians. What do you all say when people ask you what you do?[xxi]
Some prominent Chinese science fiction critics seem to feel the same way, to read between the lines of a special issue of Science Fiction Studies devoted to Chinese sf.
Nathaniel Isaacson took aim at Huangjiang Diasou’s Tales of the Moon Colony (Yuequi Zhimindi Xiaoshuo), “recognized as China’s first native work of science fiction,” which was serialized in 1904-5. Isaacson cited Said in support of his contention that Chinese sf was inevitably part of the “European imperial project” because it was impossible for China to respond to Orientalism with Occidentalism.[xxii] He also cited the seeming misgivings of Lu Xun, a translator of Verne’s novels over the impact of Western sf,[xxiii] and concluded that Chinese sf like Tales of the Moon Colony was “complicit with the imperial will to power” by delegitimizing Chinese culture (including queues, actually a Manchu imposition) in favor of foreign attire and drinking coffee.[xxiv]
Yet Chinese sf writer and scholar Yan Wu, in his introduction to the issue, contrasted Isaacson’s piece with one by Shaoling Ma on Xu Nianci’s “New Tales of Mr. Braggadocio” (1905). “While Isaacson adopts a theoretical perspective consistent with Western criticism, Ma has placed more emphasis origins and development of Chinese classical fiction.”[xxv] (Ma also takes an orthodox Marxist approach.)
Wu had collaborated with Xing He on “Chinese Science Fiction” An Overview” for Pathlight, a magazine devoted to “New Chinese Writing,” and didn’t seem to think its importation into China through translations like Lu Xun’s had been a surrender to imperialism. They simply noted that Lu had “declared the purpose of modern science fiction to be the popularization and spread of scientific knowledge, a proclamation that continued to guide the genre’s development in China for several generations.”[xxvi]
Further evidence that early Chinese sf writers weren’t mere patsies for Western imperialism comes in works like Wu Janrien’s The New Story of the Stone (1908), which imagines a future China founded on Confucian principles as the world’s leading nation. Like the ancient Greeks, the ancient and not-so-ancient Chinese regarded foreigners as barbarians – and some could be as blinkered as their Victorian European counterparts in their perceptions of the Other. In Biheguan Zhuren’s New Era (1908), China has become the world’s leading superpower by 1999 and conquers most of the world – its allies include Hungarians, on the basis of their (very distant) Mongol ancestry![xxvii] Then too, there has been speculation that China rather than Europe might have achieved global hegemony if it had kept up the Treasure Fleet program.[xxviii]
Despite such apparent flaws with Said’s thesis, the ideological critique of colonialism has become so pervasive that it is practically taken for granted that non-Western cultures never have had and never will have any problems that weren’t brought on them entirely by the West. In an op-ed piece for The New York Times about the racially charged Trayvon Martin case, for example, Isabel Wilkerson faulted Americans who “tend to think of the rigid stratification of caste as a distant notion from feudal Europe or Victorian India,”[xxix] as if there had never been a caste system in India before the British showed up. And if everything Western is pernicious, should the British be condemned as harshly for introducing cricket to India as for the Amritsar Massacre or the Bengal Famine of 1943? But this is going far afield from the issue of literature.
Said and his like are known among the intelligentsia, but are hardly household names to ordinary readers. Even in popular culture, however, their ideas have gained traction. James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar (2010), which pits innocent aliens against imperialist Earthmen, stands all the racist clichés of old-time Hollywood westerns (and presumably old-time sf) on their heads. Only Cameron is a white male, and while sf has traditionally been written by white males – no matter to critics that females are gaining ground now – the same can be said of most sf criticism. It is symptomatic of an ideology that makes it sort of a progressive white man’s burden not only to right old wrongs but to anoint and thus privilege those they deem to speak on behalf of the wronged: is Said truly the only authentic intellectual voice of what was once called the Third World?
Whatever their motivation, ideological critics like to have all their ducks in a row, so it isn’t surprising that some can find nothing but racism, sexism and other ugly isms in genre sf, as opposed to Avatar – with exceptions limited to genre authors who are not white males, living or dead, or at least have Marxist credentials. But their arguments tend to rely on the same sort of selective citations, confirmation bias and specious logic as those of right-wingers like David Barton that America’s founding fathers were fundamentalists.[xxx] In any case, the reality is far more complicated than most of those who condemn the genre wholesale – or defend it wholesale, for that matter – are willing to admit. There really is some bad history out there; it’s just that it isn’t the only history.
Anti-Semitism was embraced almost unthinkingly by many writers – including sf writers. Verne sent a stereotypical Jewish villain, Hakkabut, into space in Off on a Comet (1877) – and compounded that offense by joining the chorus of anti-Dreyfusards. Camille Flammarion’s Omega: the Last Days of the World (1894) includes a gratuitous scene in which a “noted American Israelite—a prince of finance,”[xxxi] faced with a global panic over a comet on possible collision course with Earth, can think of nothing but making a killing on the stock market. But even the supposedly progressive H.G. Wells’ In the Days of the Comet (1906) makes a point of having one Gurker, Jewish Chancellor of the Exchequer, confess his people’s sins:
“We Jews,” he said, “have gone through the system of this world, creating nothing, consolidating many things, destroying much. Our racial self-conceit has been monstrous. We seem to have used our ample coarse intellectuality for no other purpose than to develop and master and maintain the convention of property, to turn life into a sort of mercantile chess and spend our winnings grossly … We have had no sense of service to mankind. Beauty which is godhead—we made it a possession.”[xxxii]
Wells, generally regarded as the father of science fiction as literature, has come under increasing fire for racism and, especially his support of eugenics. What was supposed to be a selective breeding program in favor of intelligence was thoroughly discredited by the horrors of Nazi selective extermination, although its supporters once included such luminaries as Theodore Roosevelt, Emile Zola, Bernard Shaw, John Maynard Keynes and Margaret Sanger – all regarded as progressive thinkers in their day and some still so regarded. Ironically, one of its most vocal opponents was Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton, generally regarded today as a reactionary crank.
Ursula K. Le Guin defends Wells against the charge of racism in her introduction to his “The Lord of the Dynamos” (1894), in which a black man named Azuma-zi is treated with contempt by his white boss at a power plant – “Holroyd liked a nigger because he would stand kicking”[xxxiii] – but worships the dynamo as a god and sacrifices himself to it. “If you stop reading at that word, you will miss the fact that the writer’s sympathy is with the black man, not the white one who beats him,”[xxxiv] Le Guin observes. But hers may be a minority viewpoint, as a number of critics have found evidence to the contrary in other works by Wells.
Some of this is plain spin doctoring. In All Tomorrow’s Cultures: Anthropological Engagements with the Future (2008), for example, Samuel Gerald Collins cites a scholarly piece by P.A. Cantor and P. Hufnagel, “The Empire of the Future: Imperialism and Modernism in H.G. Wells” (2006). Cantor and Hufnagel put the case that The Time Machine (1895) simply can’t be about a journey to an imagined future but must rather be “a journey to the imperial frontier.”[xxxv] Collins picks up on that to argue that the Morlocks must thus truly represent neither the fate of the working class nor the devolution of humanity but only the “cultural Other, with the Time Traveller as Joseph Conrad’s Marlow or H. Rider Haggard’s Quatermain.”[xxxvi]
This sort of Talmudic commentary has reinforced an attitude towards genre sf as automatic and unreflective as racism itself. It has become axiomatic that sf writers can only channel the prejudices of their cultures, and are incapable of imagining anything beyond the here and now. Aliens, mutants, androids and robots in sf can never be anything but disparaging caricatures of the Other – nonwhites or women or gays or whatever. It is the task of critics to “interrogate” sf works; like suspects being grilled by the police, they must have something to hide.
Yet critics risk overlooking the obvious. True imperialists and racists have always been shameless about it. Jack London, surely an embarrassment to the Left because he was a revolutionary socialist rather than a reactionary, preached genocide in “The Unparalleled Invasion” (1910), which tells of a war against China – involving deliberate biological warfare as opposed to the accidental kind Europeans first brought to America. In David H. Keller’s “The Menace” (1928) and its sequels, black militants threaten America with a series of bizarre conspiracies. Besides being vile in its racist message, the series is ludicrous in its details, such as chemicals that can turn blacks white and vice versa – although it may have been a backhanded compliment to imagine blacks capable of producing a fool’s gold that passes ordinary tests, or a window glass that can drive people insane. It isn’t that simple when we look at most science fiction, and especially classic sf and the minds of those who created it.
When Wells compares the Martian attempt to exterminate mankind, in The War of the Worlds (1898), to the “war of extermination” against Tasmanians by Europeans, he certainly isn’t approving the latter; and by “inferior races” he evidently means only inferior in power.[xxxvii] Even the attack on London by Black Police from South Africa in When the Sleeper Wakes (1899) is as much a condemnation of dictator Ostrog class for resorting to mercenaries to maintain his power as a crude racist screed against the Africans who have been promised “lordly times among the ‘poor London’ trash.”[xxxviii]
Yet Wells commits other transgressions that can’t be explained away. In Anticipations (1901), his first venture into futurology, he casually dismisses the “swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people”[xxxix] who, for whatever reason, cannot be assimilated into his New Republic – as other non-whites are expected to, by giving up their native languages, modes of dress and other cultural distinctions. These “swarms” are destined for extinction, although not deliberate eradication. Assimilation seems to be the bottom line again in “The Queer Story of Brownlow’s Newspaper” (1932). An Englishman of 1931 somehow gets hold of a paper from 1971, and recalls later – after having lost it – that one of the news items was about a roundup of brigands near Irkutsk by the Federal Police: “The fellows on both sides looked mostly Chinese, but there were one or two taller fellows, who might have been Americans or British or Scandinavians.”[xl]
Wells has also been damned for his remarks on Francis Galton’s manifesto for eugenics in The American Journal of Sociology (July 1904): “The mating of two quite healthy persons may result in disease. I am told it does so in the case of interbreeding of healthy white men and healthy black women about the Tanganyika region; the half-breed children are ugly, sickly, and rarely live.”[xli] It was a stupid thing for him to say; he must have known that miscegenation had been common elsewhere for generations without producing a plague of defective children. Yet his point wasn’t about race per se, but to take issue with Galton’s argument that apparent health was a sure sign of reproductive fitness: “On the other hand, two not very healthy persons may have mutually corrective qualities, and may beget sound offspring.”[xlii]
Perhaps the clearest expression of Wells’ actual viewpoint, at least in his early works, comes in A Modern Utopia (1905), at the end of a chapter on “Race in Utopia,” where his alter-ego has it out with a botanist who brings up the issue of miscegenation – the be-all and end-all for true racists then and for generations afterwards:
“But you would not like,” he cried in horror, “your daughter to marry a Chinaman or a negro?”
“Of course,” said I, “when you say Chinaman, you think of a creature with a pigtail, long nails, and insanitary habits, and when you say negro you think of a filthy-headed, black creature in an old hat. You do this because your imagination is too feeble to disentangle the inherent qualities of a thing from its habitual associations.”
“Insult isn’t argument,” said the botanist.
“Neither is unsound implication. You make a question of race into a question of unequal cultures. You would not like your daughter to marry the sort of negro who steals hens, but then you would also not like your daughter to marry a pure English hunchback with a squint, or a drunken cab tout of Norman blood. As a matter of fact, very few well-bred English girls do commit that sort of indiscretion. But you don’t think it necessary to generalise against men of your own race because there are drunken cab touts, and why should you generalize against negroes? Because the proportion of undesirables is higher among negroes, that does not justify a sweeping condemnation. You may have to condemn most, but why all? There may be—neither of us knows enough to deny—negroes who are handsome, capable, courageous.”
“Ugh!” said the botanist.
“How detestable you must find Othello!”[xliii]
But Wells never wrote about an Othello in his own fiction, and neither did any other sf writers of his time. Another of the ironies of sf history is that the genre writer who came closest was Edgar Rice Burroughs, in Beyond Thirty (1916) – a short novel set in 2137, when Abyssinian and Chinese empires contend for control of Europe, where civilization never recovered from what was still called the Great War when the story was written.
Jefferson Turck, the hero, is commander of the aero-sub Coldwater for the Pan American Federation, and the first American to visit the Old World since travel there was proscribed in 1971. Captured by the Abyssinians in England, now a barbarian backwater, he is led to their fort:
I was escorted within the building into the presence of an old negro, a fine looking man with a dignified and military bearing. He was a colonel, I was to learn later, and to him I owe the very humane treatment that was accorded me while I remained his prisoner.[xliv]
Col. Abu Belik, commander of a cavalry unit under Emperor Menelek XIV, assures him that Abyssinia is “the oldest civilized country in the world,” its mission one of “carrying Christianity to all the benighted heathen of Europe, and Asia as well.”[xlv] Of course, he considers even white freemen (most whites are slaves) “inferior beings, creatures of a lower order”[xlvi] – and finds it hard to believe that blacks are second-class citizens in America. Patrician Abyssinians also lord it over the conquered tribesmen of the rest of Africa; still, they make good soldiers – and they can read and write. Turck finds it “apparent that the black race has thrived far better in the past two centuries under men of its own color than it had under the domination of whites during all previous history.”[xlvii]
Turck later sours on Belik when ordered to make a spectacle of himself as a personal servant at a banquet in New Gondar (formerly Berlin) for Emperor Menelek. He also reacts like a typical white American of Burroughs’ era when the fat old monarch wants to add Victory, a British girl Turck had fallen for but lost sight of after both were captured, to his harem. By that time, however, the Chinese are on the march, and the Abyssinians are getting the worst of it. Only, no Yellow Peril here; the Chinese Empire turns out to be an enlightened realm bringing peace and progress to the Old World. This sort of thing hardly seems the work of a rabid racist, even if it one presses the point, for example, that Belik is lighter-skinned than people from other parts of Africa – and there is more evidence on Burroughs side.
In his Barsoom series beginning with A Princess of Mars (1912), Burroughs had already portrayed black Martians as an aristocratic people who call themselves the First-Born, and paired Southern gentleman John Carter with the mixed-race Dejah Thoris – an interracial romance that made it to the big screen in 2012. Burroughs has also been credited with “The Black Man’s Burden,” a parody of Rudyard Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden” that appeared in 1899 in a local newspaper in Pocatello, Idaho (where he lived at the time), A typical verse reads:
Take up the white man’s burden;
Poor simple folk and free;
Abandon nature’s freedom,
Embrace his “Liberty;”
The goddess of the white man
Who makes you free in name;
But in her heart your color
Will brand you “slave” the same.[xlviii]
Yet Philip R. Burger, in his afterword to the 2002 University of Nebraska Press reprint of Burroughs’ The Moon Maid (1925), paints him as practically frothing at the mouth with racist venom. Perhaps Burger was annoyed by the fact that the fix-up novel originated as an anti-utopian depiction of a Communist future, “Under the Red Flag,” that didn’t find a market (He doesn’t seem puzzled as to why it didn’t, at a time when all true Americans were supposedly obsessed with the threat of the Bolsheviks.).
“Under the Red Flag” was retooled as a story about Earth being conquered by invaders from the Moon, but for Burger this is a sham; he sees the Kalkars in the published version as obvious caricatures of the kind of “low-class Slavic laborers” and “dirty Jews”[xlix] true Americans at the time supposedly blamed for the Red Menace. Never mind that one of Earth’s defenders is Moses Samuel, described by Richard A. Lupoff in Master of Adventure, The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, as “a tragic, heroic figure, one of the most believable of all his characters,”[l] who suffers martyrdom at the hands of the Kalkars. Lupoff is himself a social and political liberal, and his survey, first published in 1965 and updated twice since, offers a far more sympathetic view of Burroughs than Burger’s.
But it’s not as if Burger couldn’t have found legitimate targets. Although science fiction generally used to be dismissed as “that crazy Buck Rogers stuff,” few today remember that the character in the comic strip and serial, movie and TV adaptations originated in Philip Francis Nowlan’s “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” (1928) and its sequel “The Airlords of Han” (1929), which appeared in Amazing Stories and had nothing to do with space travel but rather a war of liberation by white Americans against the evil Han – the Yellow Peril of a vintage Victorian future war novel writ exceeding large.
Nowlan was a 100% American for his time; all the heroes have Anglo-Saxon names (some of which were changed for the 1962 hardcover fix-up), and when Anthony Rogers first encounters Wilma Deering she is being attacked by “Bad Bloods” – half-breeds. The Mongols who conquered America while Rogers slept his way from 1919 to 2419 are called the “Yellow Blight,”[li] and their extermination is clearly intended to make readers stand up and cheer. Yet an epilogue takes a strange turn as Rogers recalls his post-war world travels with Wilma:
I never knew her to show to the men or women of any race anything but the utmost of sympathetic courtesy and consideration, whether they were the noble brown-skinned Caucasians of India, the sturdy Balkanites od Southern Europe, or the simple, spiritual Blacks of Africa, today one of the leading races of the world – although in the Twentieth Century we regarded them as inferior. This charity and gentleness of hers did not fail even in our contacts with the non-Han Mongolians of Japan and the coast provinces of China.[lii]
The Han? Turns out they were human-alien hybrids, which can’t strike today’s readers as anything but an attempt by Nowlan to weasel out of his hate speech (“Yellow Blight” is softened to “Mongolian Blight” only in the book edition.[liii]). As for that anecdote about Wilma, which contradicts his previous blanket racism, it would seem that either he had a change of heart after the first part of the story was published, or that somebody got on his case. Neither alternative supports the thesis that pulp sf writers and their fans were mere sock puppets for the racist ideology of the ruling class. That certainly wasn’t true of Edmond Hamilton’s “A Conquest of Two Worlds” (1932), which savaged racist imperialism in its bitter account of Earthmen’s subjugation and even extermination of the natives of Mars and Jupiter.
In The Man Who Awoke, a series that appeared in Wonder Stories in 1933, and was finally published as a paperback book in 1975, a white banker named Norman Winters sleeps his way into several epochs of the future Rip Van Winkle style. By the year 20,000, however, there’s no longer any white race, and a man from that time “greets” him thusly:
“So you are Winters! But how terribly different from a man you look! Almost like … an animal! You have teeth! And your skin is white like the belly of a fish, not like a brown human face at all.” And as if these differences made him somehow superior, he drew himself up proudly and disdainfully.[liv]
Only by 25,000, after Winters’ final awakening in a utopian era, race isn’t even worth mentioning – it’s no big deal, any more than the practice of free love. According to Jonathan R. Eller in Becoming Ray Bradbury (2011), pulp and slick magazine publishers alike were nervous nellies when it came to addressing race.[lv] But the writers found ways to address it indirectly. One example was Leigh Brackett, who married Hamilton in 1946 after forging her own career as a writer of sf, hard-boiled mysteries and screenplays (The Big Sleep).
In “Citadel of Lost Ships” (1943), which first appeared in Planet Stories, Brackett tells a story of a fugitive Earthman among the Kraylen, natives of the swamps of Venus who look vaguely reptilian – blue-white of skin and with crests that resemble feathers but aren’t – whose homes and lives are threatened by imperialists from Earth:
"There have been men in the swamps. Now word has been sent us. It seems there is coal here, and oil, and certain minerals that men prize. They will drain the swamps for many miles, and work them."
Campbell let smoke out of his lungs, very slowly. "Yeah? And what becomes of you?"
The Kraylen turned away and stood framed in the indigo square of the doorway. The distant drum sobbed and shouted. It was hot, and yet the sweat turned cold on Campbell's body.
The old man's voice was distant and throbbing and full of anger, like the drum. Campbell had to strain to hear it.
"They will take us and place us in camps in the great cities. Small groups of us, so that we are divided and split. Many people will pay to see us, the strange remnants of old Venus. They will pay for our skills in the curing of leshen-skins and the writing of quaint music, and tattooing. We will grow rich."
Campbell dropped the cigarette and ground it on the dirt floor. Knotted veins stood out on his forehead, and his face was cruel. The old man whispered:
"We will die first."[lvi]
Brackett is obviously drawing a parallel with American Indians and other non-Europeans robbed of their lands, resources and dignity; the reference to “camps” might even be a veiled allusion to the then-recent internment of Japanese Americans. But when a reader wrote Planet Stories that “we never feel any sympathy for the Kraylen, whose pitifully few numbers and decadent state invite LIQUIDATION,”[lvii] Brackett reacted angrily at such a seeming patent endorsement of genocide:
If that isn’t totalitarian reasoning, I never saw it. Under democratic law, any and every minority, so long as it functions within legal limits, is guaranteed the right to live, think, and worship as it sees fit. You might as well say we ought to LIQUIDATE the Mennonites, the Amish, or any other decent, peaceable group simply because they’re different … It’s well to remember one thing, when you are planning the liquidation of minorities. Human society is a fluid and unstable thing. And it’s frightfully embarrassing to wake up one morning and find that all of a sudden you have become—a minority.[lviii]
More than 30 years later, in an introduction to The Best of Planet Stories (1975), Brackett expressed her annoyance at what seemed to be a widespread prejudice against the kind of sf that had appeared in its pages – what she called “space opera,” although it is more properly called planetary romance:
A persistent myth flourishes about space opera which says that stories of the genre were all about troops of bug-eyed monsters, wooden men with ray-guns, senseless slaughter and a cretinous jingoism that portrayed the dominant Earthman happily tramping all over an assortment of extraterrestrials invariably portrayed as vile, low and menacing. I have even read supposedly eminent critics who went so far as to say that science fiction had failed miserably in that it had never considered alien psychologies or the problems of communication with alien intelligences—something that leads me to wonder what, if any science fiction these gentlemen have read.[lix]
Who those “supposedly eminent critics” were, Brackett didn’t say. This was long before Edward Said, who mentioned Jules Verne in passing but didn’t address sf as such in Culture and Imperialism. John Rieder, who takes Said’s critique of Orientalism for gospel, makes it his mission in Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction (2008) to amend that oversight, and it’s no surprise that, like his model, he finds exactly what he’s looking for.
Exposing overtly racist and colonialist texts and demolishing same is rather like shooting fish in a barrel, even if some of those fish are obscure works like Robert Ames Bennett’s Thyra: a Romance of the Polar Pit (1901), one of several lost race novels (a form Darko Suvin excluded from sf) Rieder skewers. But he wants to make the case that science fiction invariably justifies racism or colonialism. Thus, the quest for the North Pole in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), plus passing references to things colonial, are proof that the novel is really about the “construction of race” rather than the hubris of creating artificial life.[lx]
Without citing All Tomorrow’s Cultures, Rieder agrees with Samuel Gerald Collins that Wells’ The Time Machine is really about colonialism, arguing even that the weather of the year 802,701 A.D, is hot, not because the Sun is hotter or the Earth closer to it, but because Wells wants to evoke the tropical climate of Africa and portray the Eloi as primitive savages. Although the Time Traveller is at pains to avoid hard and fast judgments, Rieder sees him as contemptuous of the racial Other because he confesses to being as mystified by the world of the distant future as a “negro, fresh from Central Africa,” would be in London – as if Wells’ protagonist hadn’t put himself in the place of that African rather than that of “a European confronting the enigmatic inhabitants of savage Africa.”[lxi] And indeed (left out by Rieder), he remarks in the next breath: “Then, think how narrow the gap between a negro and a white man of our own times, and how wide the interval between myself and these of the Golden Age!”[lxii]
Perhaps Rieder’s oddest reading is that Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore’s “Vintage Season” (1946) is about “the transition between early-twentieth-century imperialism in crisis to an emerging postcolonial war system.”[lxiii] A classic story of visitors from an alien future who seek to preserve its existence by refusing to warn of a coming disaster that might have been averted, is reduced to a polemic about the post-World War II Red Scare and the challenge to American political and economic hegemony. Rieder brackets it with Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters (1951) and Jack Finney’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1955) – both more generally regarded as inspired by fear of Communism.
There are whole schools of sf that Rieder leaves out. His only interest in George Griffith’s future war novel The Angel of the Revolution (1893), for example, is that what seems a revolutionary socialist cause on the part of the heroes “metamorphoses into a racist fantasy,”[lxiv] which leads naturally into the Yellow Peril theme. There isn’t any mention of the fact that the enemy in Griffith’s novel is Russia – let alone that there were dozens of future war novels in which European powers fight one another rather than the racial Other. Said’s doctrine mandates that Europeans always stand shoulder-to-shoulder against all the other peoples of the world. For Rieder, it mandates that sf writers be unanimous, or virtually unanimous, in their support of colonialism and imperialism. Although he does mention Hamilton’s “A Conquest of Two Worlds,” he complains that it is “resigned to the inevitability”[lxv] of genocide, and he has nothing to say about Brackett.
The scope of Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction is necessarily limited to Anglo-American sf, except for translations of Jules Verne. One can find examples of untranslated French sf that conform to the Said-Rieder thesis, notably future war fiction involving the Yellow Peril and even the Black Peril by Emile Auguste Cyprien Driant (Capitaine Danrit). Paul D’Ivoi, a successor to Verne, had a simple formula in some of his novels set in the Middle East or India: British colonialism bad, French colonialism good. But some recently translated French works are startling for their approach issues of colonialism and imperialism – not only for the time when they first appeared, but even today.
In Hareton Ironcastle’s Amazing Journey (1922), J.H. Rosny aîné seems at the beginning to be celebrating imperialism and the white race in a tale of exploration and adventure in what then remained of darkest Africa. After all, Ironcastle is introduced as a “perfect symbol of the type invented by Gobineau,” and his daughter Muriel is the kind of classic beauty “that once inspired the sculptors of goddesses.”
But Philippe de Maranges, a member of the expedition who takes up with Muriel, sees the war-like and cannibalistic Goura-Zannkas natives as no different from the ancient Assyrians, or the Hyksos who invaded Egypt. “This is a scene from olden times,” he says of a bloody battle that has just taken place between the blacks of that tribe and the Squat Men, an apparent evolutionary dead-end hominid species. Muriel holds out hope that such brutality will end one day, which brings this rejoinder from Phillippe:
Undoubtedly—but perhaps by virtue of the disappearance of the Squat Men and Goura-Zannkas, under the bullets, bombs or whips of white men… for our civilization, Muriel, is the most homicidal that has ever appeared on Earth. In the last three centuries, who have caused the disappearance of more peoples and populations than all the conquerors of antiquity and the Middle Ages. Roman destruction was child’s play compared with ours. Don’t you live, Muriel, in a land as large as Europe, from which you have caused the red race to disappear?
The white men of the expedition later meet their match in a realm where the counterparts of humans and familiar fauna and flora live under the strict but benevolent rule of sentient mimosas. It’s almost like something out of Avatar, but Rosny’s novel appeared as part of a series of roman aventures published in by Ernest Flammarion in France decades before the ascendancy of the sort of fashionable white liberal guilt that inspired the movie.
A lesser known French work, perhaps more startling, is Timeslip Troopers, Brian Stableford’s rendering of La Belle Valence (1923), a time travel novel originally written by André Blandin and then rewritten by Théo Varlet, an established sf writer, to secure publication.
The original title refers to both the Spanish city of Valencia and the oranges it was famed for, which would be hard to convey in a literal translation; thus the anachronistic play on Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (1959) in the translation. Nothing is known about Blandin, although Stableford surmises that he must have been a French officer during World War I. It was he, in any case, who came up with the plot: French soldiers in the trenches near Metz in 1917 find a time machine in the basement of an old house, and learn to use it.
What follows seems at first only a variation of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889), but that’s an oversimplification. By mischance, the time machine takes not only its operators but the whole surrounding area – with a company of soldiers, their advanced weapons, even a British plane that has landed nearby – to the Valencia of 1341. That puts them in the same position, technologically, as the Spanish conquistadores in America – only the primitives are the Catholics and their Inquisition, and it is the Moors the time travellers side with. This was the age of Averroes, after all, not that of the ayatollahs. Tortorado, Dominican inquisitor of Valencia, loves to torture Moors and Jews; he has even forced the daughter of a Jewish merchant to convert and become his sex slave. And as the French arrive, he is pursuing a heresy case against a Franciscan monk, Geronimo:
His love of progress and Enlightenment, and his acquaintance with Moorish and Jewish scholars, had caused him to be accused of heresy by his rivals, the Dominicans. Arrested in the middle of the night the previous day, he had been subjected a few hours later to questioning by water…[lxvi]
Captain Marcel Renard and his company, outraged by the state of affairs, make short work of the Spaniards and, after a brief counterattack by Catholic forces, call in Moorish allies and restore the Emir to power. But that is only the beginning; the men from the future set out to bring the future to the benighted city, spreading the teachings of the European Enlightenment, launching a mini-industrial revolution and even introducing paper money. Renard fantasizes going beyond Valencia itself (“In six months, Spain will be ours.”[lxvii]) and even bringing about the French Revolution 400 years ahead of time.
But the French are running low on ammunition even as they are running high on hubris. Renard’s troops spend much of their time boozing and wenching – even the nuns are hot for them – but they also bring the clap. They show reckless disregard for local sensibilities, punishing those who disrespect them with menial labor; some even bust heads and loot homes on the slightest pretext. Geronimo, meanwhile, has gotten high on the thoughts of Rousseau and Marx, and is so full of himself that he welcomes a crown offered by the French as a new “pope.” It is all too much, too soon for what is essentially a conservative society. Resentment against the French and the ways they bring erupts into violence when the factories fail for want of raw materials, throwing people out of work; and Tortorado makes good on the opportunity to stage a counter-revolution.
“Progress is an admirable thing, but it can only be realized in a propitious atmosphere, in its own time,”[lxviii] Renard realizes too late – only a few of his men make it back to their own time, where they take a vow of secrecy about their ill-fated venture in liberation. And make no mistake about it; they did see themselves as liberators; critics of the Said-Rieder school who imagine that Western rationalism devalues only non-Western culture overlook the fact that the Enlightenment began as a challenge to the European social and religious order of its time.
Yet Renard and his men end up behaving just like the colonialists Said and Rieder condemn, and Timeslip Troopers can thus be seen as a critique of colonialism in the classic sense. But it can also be seen as a critique of the kind of supposedly benevolent efforts to bring peace and progress to non-Western cultures that are currently called “nation building.” In the same context, it can be seen as a critique of past and present revolutionary movements, social or religious, that reduce people to Believers and Unbelievers and treat them accordingly.
The views Rosny and Blandin-Varlet expressed in their novels surely weren’t fashionable in their time for most of their countrymen, any more than were those of Edmond Hamilton with “A Conquest of Two Worlds” in the United States a decade later. The same can be said of the attitude towards women in the sf works of Stanley G. Weinbaum, who created intelligent and capable heroines in stories like “Parasite Planet” and “The Red Peri” (both 1935) – not to mention his treatment of aliens beginning with “A Martian Oddysey” (1934). But they were popular with genre readers, which belies the idea that genre science fiction was only a pipeline for the worst kind of prejudices.
[i] http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/sep/06/science-fiction-racism-sexism-discrimination, retrieved Sept. 14, 2013
[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Barnett, retrieved Sept. 28, 2013
[iv] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throne_of_the_Crescent_Moon, retrieved Sept. 28, 2013
[v] Ahmed, Saladin, Throne of the Crescent Moon (DAW, 2013), front-end blurbs
[vi] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick_bibliography#Book-length_critical_studies, retrieved Sept. 14, 2013
[vii] http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/55/baudrillard55art.htm, retrieves Sept. 24, 2013
[viii] http://mlg.eserver.org/about/a-short-history-of-the-mlg/, retrieved Sept. 26, 2013
[ix] http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/57/nixon57art.htm, retrieved Sept. 1, 2013
[x] Piercy, Marge, He, She and It, Alfred A, Knopf, 1991, p. 445
[xiii] Brackett, Leigh, Shannach – The Last, Farewell to Mars (Haffner, 2011), p. 546
[xv] Quoted in Rieder, John, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, Wesleyan University Press, 2008, p. 3, from Said, Edward W., Culture and Imperialism, Vintage Books, 1994, pp. 70-71
[xvi] Said, Culture and Imperialism, p. 59
[xvii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadia_Drury, retrieved April 5, 2013
[xviii] Drury, Shadia B., “Have the Arab Revolutions Defeated the Orientalist Discourse?” in Free Enquiry, June-July 2011, p.13.
[xix] http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/anglophone/postcolonial.html, retrieved Jan. 15, 2013
[xx] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Simoqin_Prophecies, retrieved Oct. 11, 2013
[xxi] http://www.strangehorizons.com/2013/20130930/2menonsingh-a.shtml, retrieved Oct. 11, 2013
[xxii] Isaacson, Nathaniel, “Science Fiction for the Nation” Tales of the Moon Colony and the Birth of Modern Chinese Fiction,” Science Fiction Studies, March 2013, p. 33
[xxiii] Ibid., pp. 40-41
[xxiv] Ibid., p. 48
[xxv] Wu, Yan, “‘Great Wall Planet:’ Introducing Chinese Science Fiction,” Science Fiction Studies, March 2013, p. 6
[xxvi] Wu, Yan, and Xing He, “Chinese Science Fiction: An Overview,” Pathlight, Spring 2013, p. 37
[xxvii] Wang, David Der-wei, Fin de Siècle Spendor: Repressed Modernities of Late Qing Fiction, 1849-1911, Stanford University Press, 1997, pp. 306-312,
[xxviii] http://asianhistory.about.com/od/china/f/zhenghefaq.htm, retrieved Sept. 21, 2013
[xxix] New York Times Sunday Review, April 1, 2012, p. 8
[xxx] http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/barton-s-bunk-religious-right-historian-hits-the-big-time-tea-party-america, retrieved Sep. 17, 2013
[xxxi] Flammarion, Camille, Omega: The Last Days of the World, translator not given (University of Nebraska Press, 1999), p. 43
[xxxii] Wells, H.G., Seven Fanous Novels (Alfred A. Knopf, 1933), p. 818-19
[xxxiii] Wells, H.G., Selected Stories of H.G. Wells, ed. Ursula K. Le Guin (Modern Library Classics, 2004), p. 203
[xxxiv] Ibid., p. 201
[xxxv] Collins, Samuel Gerard, All Tomorrow’s Futures, Anthropological Engagements with the Future, Berghahn Books, 2008, p. 13
[xxxvii] Wells, Seven Famous Novels, p. 166
[xxxviii] Wells, Three Prophetic Novels (Dover, 1960), p.184
[xxxix] Wells, Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress Upon Human Life And Thought. Harper, 1901, p. 342.
[xl] Wells, Selected Stories, p. 357
[xli] http://galton.org/essays/1900-1911/galton-1904-am-journ-soc-eugenics-scope-aims.htm, retrieved Sept. 17, 2013
[xliii] Wells, A Modern Utopia (Penguin Classics, 2005), pp. 226-27
[xliv] Burroughs, Edgar Rice, Beyond Thirty, ERBville Press, 2008, p. 110
[xlv] Ibid., p. 114
[xlvi] Ibid., p. 115
[xlvii] Ibid., p. 116
[xlviii] Porges, Edward, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Man Who Created Tarzan, Ballantine Books, 1975, Vol. 2, p. 1080
[xlix] Burroughs, Edgar Rice, The Moon Maid, University of Nebraska Press, 2002, p. 350
[l] Lupoff, Richard A., Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, University of Nebraska Press, 2005, p. 78
[li] “Armageddon 2419 A.D.,” Project Gutenberg download of text in Amazing Stories, August 1928)
[lii] Nowlan, Philip Francis, Armageddon 2419 A.D., Ace Books, 1963, p. 190; verbatim from Project Gutenberg download of text for “The Airlords of Han” in Amazing Stories, March 1929
[liii] Nowlan, Armageddon 2419 A.D., Ace Books, p. 96
[liv] Manning, Laurence, The Man Who Awoke, Ballantine, 1975, p. 119
[lv] Eller, Jonathan R., Becoming Ray Bradbury, University of Illinois Press, 2011, pp. 233-37
[lvi] “The Citadel of Lost Ships,” by Leigh Brackett.pdf, downloaded from On-Read.com, p. 4
[lvii] Planet Stories, Fall 1943, p. 126
[lviii] Planet Stories, Winter 1943, p. 121
[lix] Brackett, Leigh, ed., The Best of Planet Stories, Ballantine, 1975, p. 7
[lx] Rieder, op cit, pp. 99-101
[lxi] Ibid., p. 87
[lxii] Wells, Seven Famous Novels, p. 30
[lxiii] Ibid., p. 154
[lxiv] Ibid., p. 141
[lxv] Ibid., p. 143
[lxvi] Varlet, Théo, and André Blandin, Timeslip Troopers, trans. Brian Stableford, Black Coast Press, 2012, p. 92.
[lxvii] Ibid., p. 155.
[lxviii] Ibid., p. 208