Friday, May 08, 2009

Early science fiction

Lucian of Samostata wrote "True Story" in the second century AD as a satire of Greek and Roman historians who portrayed myths as being factual events. At one point in this novel, the protagonists' ship lands on the moon and Lucian gives this description of life on the moon:

"When a man becomes old, he does not die, but dissolves in smoke into the air. There is one universal diet; they light a fire, and in the embers roast frogs, great numbers of which are always flying in the air; they then sit round as at table, snuffing up the fumes which rise and serve them for food; their drink is air compressed in a cup till it gives off a moisture resembling dew. Beauty with them consists in a bald head and hairless body; a good crop of hair is an abomination...There is a large mirror suspended over a well of no great depth; any one going down the well can hear every word spoken on our Earth; and if he looks at the mirror, he sees every city and nation as plainly as though he were standing close above each. The time I was there, I surveyed my own people and the whole of my native country; whether they saw me also, I cannot say for certain. Any one who doubts the truth of this statement has only to go there himself, to be assured of my veracity."


Blogger kinglear said...

I always thought Jules Verne's moon story rather better than even 20,000 leagues. I also always thought his " science" prediction was extremely good.
Best of all was the strip cartoon in the old Daily Express which predicted the moon landing in 1969, by showing a plaque on the moon with the date on it decades later...

7:00 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

Hi KL - I haven't read the JV moon story

8:53 am  
Blogger Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I like that . I'm just thinking of all the money on hairdressing I could save!

10:40 pm  
Blogger Winchester whisperer said...

But you would miss Raffael, WL

8:09 am  

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