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Top Ten Tuesday: Books Written before I was Born

Gawd damn, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, from Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, is Books Written Before I was Born. Which in and of itself, is going to prove difficult. Do you know when I was born? Right, when the US was dropping bombs on Bikini Atoll and in the deep desert, when Russia was launching satellites into space for the first time and … well, you get the picture. 

I’m old. I’m that old. I feel like my contemporaries were dinosaurs and, well, you know, they didn’t write much. No opposable thumbs and all. So I’m scrambling here to list ten books but here goes nothing. 

Let’s go back to the mother and father(s) of fantasy and science fiction, I’ve read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (and, quite frankly, who hasn’t) along with some of H.G. Wells’ books:

  • The Time Machine (1895)
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896)
  • The Invisible Man (1897)
  • War of the Worlds (1898)
  • The First Men in the Moon (1901)

It’s really weird to think most of these were written at the end of the 19th century, and are still relevant today, as they ever were.

Then there is Jules Verne (1828-1905), who wrote tales of the fantastical that I loved including:

  • Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1864)
  • From the Earth to the Moon (1865)
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1872)
  • The Mysterious Island (1875)

Again, all these come at the end of the century at a very special time, which seemed to have inspire all these authors to write about the fantastical. Who knows, all I know is that even after all this time, these stories and adventures still resonate with us as readers. I mean, who doesn’t think about War of the Worlds, and alien invasion, or us all ending up like the Morlocks from Wells’ The Time Machine, or feel the horror emanating from The Island of Doctor Moreau!

I know I for one, would sure love to have been on the Nautilus with Captain Nemo, or journeying to the centre of the earth with Axel, wouldn’t you? And don’t forget, Arthur Conan Doyle didn’t just write about Sherlock Holmes, he also wrote the Professor Challenger fantasy series starting with The Lost World (1912) and The Land of Mists (1926), a really great fantasy series if ever there was one.

And no, I’m not insinuate that I’m that old to have been collecting first editions of these books. But at least these books are older than I am, and all give me fond memories of childhood and where what started me reading science fiction and fantasy from a very early age. 

12 comments on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books Written before I was Born

  1. Avatar

    Someday I ought to read The Island of Dr. Moreau!

    My post.

    • Alex

      I would love to reread them all, one day. I’ve quite forgotten but remember the language being so different.

  2. Avatar

    I should read some more of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells… Propeller Island is one of my favorites! Back then that was science fiction, but it so accurately describes how we do things nowadays. It’s funny to read it while thinking about it like that!

    • Alex

      When all these were written, the weird thing is, no one was coining terms like science fiction or fantasy. I think it was called maybe fantastical or words like that. And how prescient it all seems now.

  3. Avatar

    Alexandra don’t tell me you are born in 1906 as the most recent of your choices is 1905 or I’d ask for your face cream!!!

    • Alex

      Ha! Ha! No … nowhere near then, but I thought it would be more fun to write about the original authors who, in effect, were the mother and father(s) of SFF. The authors of my day were pulp fiction writers and, well, nowhere near as interesting or exciting as HG Wells, or Jules Verne. 😉

  4. Avatar

    Oh, I do love those Jules Verne covers!

    • Alex

      They really are quite amazing aren’t they. I think these are the French editions if memory serves me right!

  5. Avatar

    Awesome post! I’ve read two by H G Wells (Time Machine and Doctor Moreau), and want to read more!

    • Alex

      I’m so excited to see just how many of us have read Wells, and yes, I would love to read more.

  6. Avatar

    Those are some gorgeous Jules Verne covers! I first read Journey to the Centre of the Earth when I was barely ten (a kids’ adapted version) and didn’t like it much. Not quite the right age to appreciate Verne’s vintage scifi work at the time! But now, now I look back and can see what the whole fuss is/ was about. 🙂

    • Alex

      Yeah, all these books are not exactly accessible sometimes because of the language as in, it’s a little archaic by today’s standards as is the way the authors treated any women that did feature in their writing. But still, the ideas are still way out there beyond their time.

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