RD Milne, unknown and Victorian father of science fiction

RD Milne, unknown and Victorian father of science fiction

Robert Duncan Milne. Almost no one knows his name or his contribution to science fiction literature. Yet this Scottish writer can be regarded as the father of the genre: he published more than 110 stories at the end of XIXI The century influences the works of illustrious writers including Herbert George Wells and Time machine (1 (95)).

Milne’s story is itself a science fiction novel. Born in the small town of Kapar, Scotland, in 1844, he studied at Oxford before leaving without a diploma from California.

There, after being a shepherd, cook and activist for some time, his literary talent shone and he published regularly. His works in the magazine Argonaut From San Francisco.

The uniqueness of Milne’s work lies in the leading aspect of his stories. In particular, it provides long-distance communication via television, remote monitoring, satellite and mobile phones, but also for climate change, drone warfare and cryogenics. Report good chit chat. He published several stories before HG Wells on techniques for time travel.

Forgotten forerunner

“He imagines the world in which we currently live, Explain media The Press and Journal Dr. Keith Williams, University of Dundee. He really envisioned this network, the digital and intercomed world we live in when it was originally just the telegraph and telephone that led him to imagine this. ”

His imagination was such that he had a story, L’Eidoloscope, Perhaps the first film inspired by the inventor of one of the projection devices, named Bear … Eidoloscope. Patented in 1895, the machine is actually behind Milne’s story, in which he develops a tool capable of reviewing and presenting any previous action.

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Why might a talent like Robert Duncan Milne fall into oblivion like this? Two tragic elements in the writer’s life provide some answers.

On the one hand, Milne was a notorious alcoholic. His lifestyle was particularly financed by his wealthy uncle, Duncan James. The bottle probably did not help secure her husbandry and Synergy of press and journal He would have spent all the money to send his uncle to publish his stories.

On the other hand, the tragic ending of the author may have contributed to this sudden elimination of his writing. Milne was hit by a streetcar in San Francisco in 1899, while getting drunk at a meeting to put his stories together in book form. His work could never be edited into a single volume.

It took decades for American Sam Moskowitz to gather in 1980, Part of milking In the sun and other stories.

Since then, the work of the Scottish author has been researched at the University of Dundee, thanks to Dr Keith Williams and Eric Brin, a PhD student who brings together the author’s writings in a collection. The Essential Milan.

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