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.