Writing the Futures : A Short History
By Henry Wessells

Bibliographical notes (in chronological sequence) to accompany a talk given as the keynote address to the Near-Future Fictions readings organized by Virtual Futures, Friday 6 April 2018:

VOLNEY, C.F. de Chasseboeuf, comte de. Les Ruines, ou méditation sur les révolutions des empires Paris: Desenne, Volland, Plassan, 1791.
— —. The Ruins; Or, a Survey of the Revolutions of Empires London: J. Johnson, 1792. This is one of the books that the monster read in his course of self-education, in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).
For Volney, and a detailed discussion of the origins and implications of Ruins and Futurity, see the entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by John CLUTE and David LANGFORD, http://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/ruins_and_futurity

[SHELLEY, Mary]. The Last Man. by the author of Frankenstein. 3 vols., London: Henry Colburn, 1826.
Modern editions: University of Nebraska Press, 1965, with introduction by Hugh J. Lake, Jr.; Bison Books paperback, 2006, with introduction by Judith Tarr. |

JEFFERIES, Richard. After London; or, Wild England. [. . .] In Two Parts: Part I – The Relapse into Barbarism. Part II – Wild England. London: Cassell and Company, 1885.
Modern edition: Edinburgh University Press, 2017, edited and with an introduction by Mark Frost.

FAIRBURN, Edward. The Ships of Tarshish; Being a Sequel to the “Wandering Jew” by Mohoao. London: Hall and Co, 1867.

CHESNEY, George. The Battle of Dorking. Reminiscences of a Volunteer. Edinburgh: William Blackwood, 1871.
Paradigm for the novels and cautionary tales of Future War.

BELLAMY, Edward. Looking Backward 2000-1887. Boston: Ticknor and Company, 1888.

MORRIS, William. News from Nowhere; Or, an Epoch of Rest: Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1890 (pirate edition). London: Reeves & Turner, 1891 (with additional material).

WELLS, H. G. The island of Doctor Moreau. London: William Heinemann, 1896. The “ultimate science-fiction novel” (Gene Wolfe).

WOOLF, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own London: Hogarth Press, 1929).
Including Woolf’s remarkable thought experiment: “Let me imagine, since facts are so hard to come by, what would have happened had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith, let us say.”

SQUIRE, J. C., editor. If It Had Happened Otherwise. Lapses into Imaginary History. London: Longmans, 1931.
Includes “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg” by Winston S. CHURCHILL.

[BURDEKIN, Katharine]. Swastika Night by Murray Constantine. London: Gollancz, 1937.
Modern edition: Feminist Press, 1985, edited and with an introduction by Daphne Patai.

FRANK, Pat. Alas, Babylon. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1959.

MILLER, Walter M., Jr. A Canticle for Leibowitz. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1959.

MERLE, Robert. Malevil. Paris: Gallimard, 1972.
— —. Malevil. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974 (translated by Derek Coltman).

HOBAN, Russell. Riddley Walker. London: Jonathan Cape, 1980.
Expanded edition: Indiana University Press, 1998 (with much additional material).

LE GUIN, Ursula K. Always Coming Home. Harper and Row, 1985.

BROWN, Christopher. Tropic of Kansas. New York: Harper Voyager, [2017].
— —. “Dystopia Is Realism: the Future Is Here If You Look closely.” Literary Hub, 10 July 2017. http://lithub.com/dystopia-is-realism-the-future-is-here-if-you-look-closely/ Back to the Endless Bookshelf.