Speculative Modernism: How Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Conceived the Twentieth Century
William Gillard James Reitter and Robert Stauffer
Speculative modernists—that is, British and American writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror during the late 19th and early 20th centuries—successfully grappled with the same forces that would drive their better-known literary counterparts to existential despair. Building on the ideas of the 19th-century Gothic and utopian movements, these speculative writers anticipated literary Modernism and blazed alternative literary trails in science, religion, ecology and sociology. Such authors as H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft gained widespread recognition—budding from them, other speculative authors published fascinating tales of individuals trapped in dystopias, of anti-society attitudes, post-apocalyptic worlds and the rapidly expanding knowledge of the limitless universe. This book documents the Gothic and utopian roots of speculative fiction and explores how these authors played a crucial role in shaping the culture of the new century with their darker, more evolved themes.