Science Fiction Studies

# 14 = Volume 5, Part 1 = March 1978

Darko Suvin

On What Is and Is Not an SF Narration; With a List of 101 Victorian Books That Should Be Excluded From SF Bibliographies

The annotated list of books that concludes this essay derives from a research project1 for which I had to establish a list of SF books published in the United Kingdom in the period 1848-1900.2 Since the existing bibliographies of science fiction deal only with such subgenres as "the tale of the future" or "voyages in space," I had to supplement them with information from the more general bibliographies of "fantasy," "utopias," "the novel of science," etc. At the conclusion of the project I found that I had read about 100 novels (many in 3 volumes) that could not be regarded as SF. I offer the resulting list to future researchers in hope that they will be able to avoid going off on the same or similar tangents. After all, in research a negative result is sometimes as important as, or even more important than, a positive one, for — as Spinoza figured out for us all even before Hegelian dialectics — "Omnis determinatio est negatio."

If any determination is also a negation, each negation is also a determination. My list does not escape that general law, for it was compiled on the basis of a determining and excluding premise: that SF is distinguished by the narrative dominance of a fictional novelty (novum, innovation) validated both by being continuous with a body of already existing cognitions and by being a "mental experiment" based on cognitive logic. This is not only nor even primarily a matter of scientific facts or hypotheses, and critics who protest against such narrow conceptions of SF as the Verne-to-Gernsback orthodoxy are quite right to do so. But such critics are not right when they throw out the baby with the bath by denying that what differentiates SF from the "supernatural" genres or fictional fantasy in the wider sense (including mythical tales, fairy tales, etc., as well as horror and/or heroic fantasy in the narrower sense) is the presence of scientific cognition as the sign or correlative of a method (way, approach, atmosphere, world-view, sensibility) identical to that of a modern philosophy of science.

This is not the place to go into all the consequences that follow if one accepts some such determination of SF as the one stated above. Nonetheless, I shall try — proceeding from the general to the particular — to indicate a few categories or ensembles of writings that are excluded by it.

1. Non-Fiction. The inclusion of a non-fictional work on science or pseudoscience in an SF bibliography presumably arises most often from a sloppy bibliographer's listing a work on the basis of its title or of hearsay. We may find such errors amusing and even say that they have the value of indicating which kinds of writing are sufficiently near SF in the topology of literature for errors to be likely, but the confusion of science or pseudoscience with science fiction is not a trivial matter. For some of the most pernicious ideological impostures in or near SF are perpetrated exactly when the fundamental condition of "as if" is forgotten or wilfully violated. From Mr Hubbard's Dianetics and Scientology to Mr. von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods, there are unfortunately many examples of the obscurantist fringe near or even in SF whose basic procedure is to blur the firm boundaries between imaginative literature and empirical reality. I do not, of course, argue for art for art's sake; I do, however, argue that the contribution of art (literature, SF) to the human reality from which it springs and to which it returns can be useful, or even sane, only if one keeps firmly and continuously in mind that it is an imaginative construct. When any art — e.g. SF literature — sets itself up as a "real ontological alternative rather than as a stimulus for understanding and changing our collective reality, it becomes a branch of the dope trade, an opium for the people. Hopefully, even the most fervent fans usually know that even the most "mind-expanding" wishdreams of a Clarke or Heinlein are only imaginatively and not ontologically real — but did Charles Manson?

This confusion between fact and fiction applies also, as I have argued elsewhere (Studies in the Literary Imagination, Fall 1973), to the confusion of non-fictional political writings with utopian or sociopolitical SF, from Cabet to Skinner.

2. Non-Realistic Mode. A category that cannot be called SF consists of those works for which the question of whether they possess a novelty cannot even be posed, because they use novel worlds, characters, or relationships not as coherent albeit provisional ends but instead as immediately transitive and narratively non-autonomous means for direct and sustained reference to the author's empirical world and some system of belief in it. In other words, the question whether a writing is SF is meaningless for works written in a non-realistic mode such as moral allegory, whimsy, satire, and the lying tall-tale (Muenchhauseniade, as the Germans call it). The moral allegory by "Lookup" in my list, for example, will use an allegorical character such as General Power to bring justice to the USA and then the world in a manner not too dissimilar — though desiccated and degenerated — from medieval allegories, only with reference to Jeffersonian, Jacksonian, or Lincolnian politics rather than to scholastic philosophy or troubador erotic casuistry. And though I am in favor of retroactive traditions in culture, where each new significant work or genre rearranges our perception of the past, it would seem rather absurd to call the Roman de la Rose or Dante's Comedy SF. Whimsy can well be exemplified by Delorme in my list, with his seas of fried fish on the moon; the Munchhausen-type tall tale by Carruth; and the transparent satire with contemporary allusions that prevent the narration from ever developing an SF novelty in its own right, by Burnand.

Coming into the 20th century, this means that most of Kafka, Borges, and a number of other writers around and after them cannot be claimed for SF. No doubt, as in all distinctions I am making here, there are borderline cases, such as Barth's Giles Goat Boy and Kafka's Metamorphosis, as well as exceptions that use a predominantly science-fictional narrative procedure of letting the novelty develop on its own and underlie in its turn the whole narrative logic, as in Borges's Library of Babel, Kafka's In the Penal Colony, or Book 3 of Gulliver's Travels. But all such gray areas and exceptions should not prevent us from employing our time better than in comparing incommensurables — fiction in which a novelty is used in the realistic mode with fiction in which it is used in the "transitive" mode, tenor with vehicle.

3. Naturalistic Fiction with Minor SF Elements. Within fiction of the realistic mode it is of course necessary to distinguish between SF and such tales as possess no innovation or novum that is unknown in the author's empirical environment: the events do not happen in a different space or time, nor with characters that are not Homines sapientes, nor with any significant and as yet unknown modification of basic relationships (as by the introduction of a startingly new invention). This should be clear, for it is the usual watershed between SF and the naturalistic "mainstream." The difficulty here lies in borderline cases such as were mentioned in section 2 and will be mentioned in later sections. There are many writings — hundreds if not thousands in the 19th century alone — that contain one or even several minor elements or aspects of an SF kind but still do not strike us as SF stories. When SF — it seems so long ago! — was being defined as fiction about science and scientists, Sinclair Lewis's Arrowsmith was usually mentioned as being on the other side of the watershed, dealing as it does with the ethics of present-day science. No doubt, this is correct; but on what basis do we erect the watershed? Clearly, on the basis of differentiating between part and whole, the peripheral and the central. Therefore, I would like to propose the concept of an SF narration as an important tool in analysis. An SF narration is not just a story that possesses this or that SF element or aspect: utopian strivings, as with Lookup; visions of other worlds, better or worse than our own, as in Milton, Swedenborg, and thousands of their popular imitators (of whom more in section 4); new technological gadgets; or anything else of the kind. An SF narration is a fiction in which the SF element or aspect is hegemonic — i.e., so central and significant that it determines the whole narrative logic, or at least the overriding narrative logic, regardless of any impurities that might be present. For example, although Grant Allen's Recalled to Life has a new invention, an automatic electric camera, whose existence becomes a factor in the search for its inventor's murderer, this strand in the story is quite minor and quite overwhelmed by Allen's usual sensationalist melodrama, in this case a long account of how the inventor's daughter is shocked into amnesia and has dream-visions by which she is "recalled to life" and without which no one would have thought of using the new invention as a piece in the destruction puzzle. Typically and confusingly enough, Allen's novel is a detective-cum-supernatural-fantasy tale with a subordinate SF element. Similarly, Andrew Lang had five years earlier used a newly invented flying machine for the purpose of having its inventor witness a crime in one of the 16 chapters of The Mark of Cain, otherwise a standard detective-mystery novel, which to my mind can only be called a detective tale with one SF element (tenuous at that, though no doubt there).

To claim for SF both those tales whose narrative logic is, and those whose narrative logic is not determined by the SF novum, seems to me insensitive, confusing, and useless. This is my major objection to "thematic" studies of SF elements and aspects. From J.O. Bailey's Pilgrims, which had of course an excuse in being a pioneering work, down to the present-day practitioners of SF criticism in the atomistic and positivistic vein, strongly present in e.g. Extrapolation, these studies seem to me to ignore the basic and determining feature of what they are studying: the narrative logic of a fictional tale. (Correlatively, they also tend to become boring catalogs of raisins picked out of a narrative cake, and shriveled in the process.) Of course all this does not necessarily mean that a discussion of cameras or flying machines in fiction (whether SF or not) cannot be, for some strictly limited purposes, found useful; and for such limited purposes we should probably know where new cameras or satellites or creatures first appeared (a task facilitated by the delight it gives to squirrelly fact-gatherers, especially to "who was there first" collectors such as Mr Moskowitz). But we should not be lured by this very peripheral necessity into annexing any and every tale with a new invention or such into SF, as e.g. Bailey does with Bulwer-Lytton's A Strange Story, Wilkie Collins's Moonstone, and Thomas Hardy's Two on a Tower by putting them into his bibliography of "Scientific Romances" at the end of Pilgrims. SF scholarship that does this (without the excuse that Bailey may have had) is sawing off the branch on which it is — on which we are — sitting; for if these three works are SF just like (are not radically different animals from), say, The Invisible Man, then in fact there is no such thing as SF.

4. Supernatural Fantasy. Within fiction whose narrative logic is determined by a novelty strange to the author's empirical reality, it is necessary, if we accept the italicized premise in the second paragraph of this essay, to distinguish between SF and fantastic fiction — i.e. fiction in which the novelty is not validated by reference to both existing cognitions and intrinsic cognitive logic. Of the two, the second — the intrinsic, culturally acquired cognitive logic — seems the crucial one to me. Though I would at the moment be hard put to cite an SF tale whose novelty is not in fact directly continuous with (extrapolated from) or at least analogous to existing "scientific" cognitions, I would be disposed to accept theoretically a faint possibility of a fictional novelty that would at least seem to be based on quite new, imaginary cognitions, beyond all real possibilities known or dreamt of in the author's empirical reality. (My doubts here are not so much theoretical as psychological, for I do not see how any author could imagine something not even dreamt of by anyone else before; but then, I don't believe in individualistic originality.) But besides the "real" possibilities there are also the much stricter (though also much wider) limits of "ideal" possibility, meaning any conceptual or thinkable possibility whose premises and/or consequences are not internally contradictory. Any tale based on metaphysical wishdreams — e.g. omnipotence — is "ideally impossible" (can an omnipotent god create a stone he won't be able to lift?, etc.) according to the cognitive logic humanity has cumulatively acquired in its culture from the beginnings to the present day. It is this, and not positivistic scientism, which separates boys from men, supernatural fantasy from SF. (I cannot enter here into the complications that stem from the very different narrative role the supernatural or metaphysical elements may play according to whether they are vehicle or tenor, signifier or signified; suffice it to say that in the great majority of cases, and certainly in those discussed below, they are a muddled blend of both.)

In my list of non-SF books, allowing for both borderline cases and the occasional skimpiness of my notes (since I was not interested in whether a given tale was or was not supernatural fantasy, but only in whether it was or was not SF), much the largest group, about 45 of the 101 books, is constituted by tales of more or less supernatural fantasy. This is not accidental, but is instead a result of the ideological and commercial habit, stimulated by irrational capitalist conditions of life and still very strong in our field of research, of confusing SF and supernatural fantasy on the purely negative basis that their imagined realities are not identical with the author's empirical reality. This habit has resulted not only in bibliographies such as Bleiler's and Day's, but on a deeper and more pathological level in tales that incongruously mingle science-fictional and fantastic narrative. A misshapen subgenre born out of such mingling is "science fantasy," about which I could only repeat the strictures of the late James Blish in More Issues at Hand (US 1970, pp 98-116). I can add a historical point: the subgenre did not begin with Merritt or such, but much earlier, and it is represented in my list by Chambers's The Maker of Moons. Nonetheless, I would guess that the flowering of "science fantasy" does come in our century, since the 19th was much more straightforward about basing tales on ghosts, occultism, and such, without the shamefaced alibi of a super-science lurking in the background, which seems necessary for 20th-century readers.

In supernatural fantasy proper, the supposed novelty (usually going back to 18th-century gothic novels or even to Renaissance Neo-Platonism) rejects cognitive logic and claims for itself a higher "occult" logic — whether Christian, or a-Christian, or indeed atheistic (as will be the case in Lovecraft), or, as is most usually the case, an opportunistic blend of Christian and a-Christian, such as Corelli's "Electric Christianity." This type of writing, well known to Romantic poets and a number of cognoscenti among earlier writers, was rediscovered for English 19th-century prose by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in his tales Zanoni (1842) and A Strange Story (1861), and all subsequent writers have cribbed from and watered down these tales of his. Recent research (Robert Lee Wolff, Strange Stories [US 1971]; Allan Conrad Christensen, Edward Bulwer-Lytton [US 1976]) has shown how the central postulate of this type of writing is the existence of a "sympathetic" quasi-electric fluid pervading both Man and Nature, so that an adept can — for good or evil — command this Principle of Existence or "Soul" of the Universe (these writings are much given to pseudo-allegorical capitalization). The adept, trained in ancient Chaldean lore, can thus command both Nature beyond "our mere science" (Bulwer) and Man's mind (by mesmeric or other forms of hypnotic will-control or by telepathy and such); since Time and Space do not exist for the World Soul, the adept can achieve clairvoyance and/or immortality (in such variants as the Wandering Jew, the transmigration of souls, or the posthumous spirit-life impinging on the "lower life").

The character system of such tales includes usually some combination of an older adept-mentor, an evil adept abusing his powers, our hero hesitating between the two, and a pure woman taming or channeling the hero toward the Good. The energies unleashed are clearly to be connected with sex — openly in Bulwer, coyly and titillatingly in later Victorian fiction, e.g. Corelli, and the proper analysis of these works would to my mind have to be a Freudo-Marxist one. The Marxist aspect would follow up the insights of the Bulwer research by going more thoroughly into Bulwer's avowed association of Evil with Materialism, the French Revolution, Communism, and the Theory of Evolution. Bulwer is interesting and important, first because he both knows and avows what he is doing, and second because he is uneasily fascinated by his principle of Evil (most clearly, of course, in his SF novel The Coming Race, where the vril-fluid is borne by emancipated females).

Among later writers, the most popular prolific practitioner, who might well be called the Haggard of the occult tale, is Marie Corelli, represented in my list by half a dozen entries. I think that her first, and probably most developed, novel of this kind is A Romance of Two Worlds (1886). In it a young woman musician narrates the story of how she met a Chaldean wiseman who uses "human electricity," who gradually and fascinatingly teaches her the existence of twin souls for each of us (her second soul is off Earth, as it happens), and who in a trance shows her life on other planets (Saturn, Venus, Jupiter — probably from Flammarion). The inhabitants of Saturn can communicate directly with spirits, and they know no sickness or aging because of the "electric belt" around their planet, which is a Terrestrial Paradise, as are all the other planets, except Earth, which is unique in having humans so corrupt as to doubt God. The character of the Chaldean wiseman obviously fuses the good adept with the sexually fascinating young man, just as that of the woman musician fuses the young protagonist (usually male) with the pure girl, reminding us that the main readership of Corelli must have been middle-class females. Among other matters in the melodramatic plot, our narrator can in her vision do a "Miniature Creation" to understand Christ better, and the occult science propounded is finally revealed to be the "Electric Principle of Christianity." Of course, the narration itself is much less coherent and much more boring (it goes on for 500 pages!) than this résumé in which I have loyally focused on the elements nearest to SF. Nonetheless, although a number of SF writings, from J.J. Astor to C.S. Lewis, have cribbed from Corelli, so that SF historians have to know that she existed, I hope it is clear that her type of narration is not only fraudulent (e.g., in reconciling a totally superordinated world with all the Victorian sexual, religious, political, and ethical taboos), is not only a proto-Fascist revulsion against modern civilization, materialist rationalism, etc., is not only a narration based on ideology unchecked by any cognitive logic, but is also (even in Bulwer, but much more so in his followers) cobbled together from parts and scraps of esoteric metaphysics, so that the narrative logic is simply ideology plus Freudian erotic patterns. If SF exists at all, this is not it.

A limit-case of considerable importance which I have left out of my list, is Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Stevenson is, no doubt, a better literary craftsman than any of the supernatural-fantasy writers in my list after Bulwer; nonetheless, he is cheating in terms of his basic narrative logic. On the one hand, his moral allegory of "good and evil" takes bodily form with the help of a chemical concoction. On the other hand, the transmogrification Jekyll-Hyde becomes not only unrepeatable because the concoction contained unknown impurities, but Hyde also begins "returning" without any chemical stimulus, by force of desire and habit. This unclear oscillation between science and fantasy, where science is used for a partial justification or added alibi for that part of the readership that would no longer be disposed to swallow a straightforward fantasy or moral allegory, is to my mind the reason for the elaborate — clever but finally not satisfying — exercise in detection from various points of view, which naturalistically shelves but does not explain the fuzziness of the narrative nucleus. This marginal SF is therefore, in my opinion, an early example of "science fantasy," with its force not stemming from any cognitive logic, but rather from the anguish of Jekyll over his loss of control and from the impact of the underlying moral allegory (which is both so very cognate to Victorian bourgeois repressions of the non-utilitarian or non-official aspects of life, and holding out the unsubstantiated promise that the oscillation between SF and fantasy does not matter anyway since we are dealing with an allegory).

5. The Lost-Race Tale. The final ensemble of writings discussed here is the one based on a geographic or ethnographic novelty foreign to the author's time, place, and social mores, which has for historical reasons evolved into a genre contiguous to and sometimes overlapping SF, but still, in my opinion, to be distinguished from it; i.e. the lost-race tale. It is true that a number of such tales — e.g. H. Rider Haggard's She, the most famous work by the codifier of the genre, though probably not typical of the genre itself — are dominated by a supernatural-fantasy element, but that is not a necessary characteristic of the genre; this would at worst prove that a number of important works in it are "science fantasy" in the Blishian sense. Instead, my argument for sundering the lost-race tale from SF is that, although the formal framework of the lost-race tale — i.e. a fictional community whose history develops in radical isolation from the author's known world — is potentially quite orthodox SF in that it can be used to show us a cognitively strange new relationship in sociopolitics (as in More's Utopia), in technology (as in Bacon's New Atlantis), in biology (as in Foigny's La Terre australe connue or Paltock's Peter Wilkins), or in other matters, and with the most significant works usually combining several such headings (e.g. technology, biology and politics in Book 3 of Gulliver's Travels); nonetheless, the very listing of the above titles makes it immediately apparent that the lost-race tale, as it has been developed in 19th-century English fiction, does not as a rule actualize these potentialities. Only in exceptional cases is there a sociopolitical (utopian-dystopian), technological or other novum present, and such cases are of course SF to the extent that such a novum is narratively dominant. But as a historical genre, the lost-race tale uses instead (and on the contrary) uncouth combinations of tribal, slave-owning, and feudal societies, usually with a beautiful princess and wicked high priest in trio with the virtuous white explorer-protagonist. This nostalgia of primitivism has been highly influential in the historical development of SF, but that does not make the lost-race tale SF. As Professor Mullen has noted, in an unpublished MS, "the lost-race concept is latently science-fictional in that it raises a what-if question: what would happen to a civilized society isolated for centuries from the Ekumene?" The trouble is that in Haggard and his imitators "the community's economy is simply ignored [modern SF follows the lost-race tale faithfully in this, DS]; its pre-modern technology is simply taken for granted; and its politics appears only in a hierarchy of royalty, nobility, priesthood, and common people. In sum, the latent SF remains merely latent" — or, I would add, preempted. These writings, then, should only be investigated as SF in those exceptional cases where a real novum is present, and I have used my sources (mainly Teitler) only to check on such potential exceptions.


1. I am grateful to the Canada Council for a two-year grant for research into 19th-century SF given to Professor Angenot and myself, as well as to the Montreal Interuniversity Centre for European Studies for a 1977 travel grant; and I owe Marc Angenot many insights into modern narratology and the possibilities of its application to SF.

2. In some cases the publication consisted simply in the wholesale importation of books from the USA (which is in the following list indicated by the initials US before the date of publication), as evidenced either by an entry in the English Catalogue or by the book's having a US+UK imprint. My reason for counting such books as UK books is simple: I am not interested primarily in any "national genius," but in actual historical situation, e.g. what books would have been available to an average UK reader at a given time.


Bailey, J.0. Pilgrims Through Space and Time: Trends and Patterns in Scientific and Utopian Fiction. US 1947, rpt 1972. Like the Bleiler Checklist in the next entry, this is a pioneering and still necessary research tool; unlike the Bleiler, it lists only titles the author has actually read. Methodologically, however, its insistence on thematic analysis leads to a strong atomization, very rarely taking into account the narrative whole that determines the use of the themes, which has aged it heavily. This is responsible for the strange inclusion into "Scientific Romances" of Bulwer-Lytton, Collins, and Hardy.

Bleiler, Everett F. The Checklist of Fantastic Literature: A Bibliography of Fantasy, Weird, and Science Fiction Books Published in the English Language. US 1948, rpt. 1972. Still a basic tool, though the original errors (e.g. in dates and pseudonyms) have aged it greatly. Its main drawback for SF research is twofold: first, it did not set itself the goal of distinguishing between SF and supernatural fantasy; second, within its own frame of reference, it succumbs from time to time to the temptation of listing books (books that turn out to be neither SF nor fantasy) simply on the basis that the author was prominent in the field (as with some titles by Haggard and Wells, and in my list titles by Allen, Besant, Boothby, Chambers, Corelli, Cromie, Hyne, and Le Queux) or on the strength of likely plots or even titles (as with Chamerovzow, Farjon, Hodgson, and Oliver in my list).

Clarke, I.F. The Tale of the Future From the Beginning to the Present Day.... UK 1972, superseding first edn of 1961. Again a basic tool, with a few marginal items included that to my mind are not SF (Ferrar, Nisbet in my list).

Day, Bradford M. The Supplemental Checklist of Fantastic Literature. US 1962. A simplified supplement to Bleiler, with numerous mistakes, relatively few titles that are SF, and many that are not even fantasy.

Henkin, Leo J. "Problems and Digressions in the Victorian Novel (1860-1900), Part 13: Science," Bulletin of Bibliography 19(1948):156-59. Can be a useful research tool only if its often one-sided and not wholly trustworthy annotations are re-checked.

Locke, George. "An Annotated Addendum to Bleiler and Day," Ferret Fantasy's Christmas Annual for 1972. UK 1972. A useful tool, much better in its range than Bleiler or Day since the reliable annotations strive to differentiate SF from fantasy; I disagree in only a few cases.

Messac, Régis. Esquisse d'une chrono-bibliographie des utopies. Lausanne 2962 [i.e. 1962]. A checklist of titles 1502-1940 called "utopias" by any one of 38 sources. Left in MS by the author at the time of his death at the hands of the Gestapo, and published with notes by Pierre Versins. Very useful, especially for non-English titles, but subject to the vagaries of Messac's sources.

Rooney, Charles J., Jr. "Utopian Literature as a Reflection of Social Forces in America, 1865-1917," Diss. George Washington University, 1968. Pages 249-81 contain a rich but, in spite of some annotations, very unclearly classified primary bibliography. The lack of clarity begins when utopian fiction is defined as works advocating extensive change in the status quo. Two sections relevant but exasperating to the SF researcher are not annotated: "Romances," which throws together clearly SF titles with those that are either fantasy (Chambers) or neither SF nor fantasy (Dement, Glasgow, Hillhouse, Prince, Webster, and Westcott in my list); "Science Fiction and Fantasy," which defines SF as "works of fantasy whose wonders violate present laws of nature" and lists at least one UK title that is neither.

Teitler, Stuart A. Eureka!: A Survey of Archeological Fantasies and Terrestrial Utopias. Kaleidoscope Books Catalogue #29, US 1975. An invaluable annotated list of lost-race tales. As explained above, I do not think such tales are SF unless they contain narratively important sociopolitical, technological, or other novelties of an SF kind. I have listed from this source only those titles whose annotations suggest that they might be SF in my sense but which turned out not to be SF.


Adderly, James Granville. Stephen Remarx: The Story of a Venture in Ethics. 1893. Messac. Ideal young nobleman-priest works and dies in Franciscan poverty to Christianize and better the lot of the lower classes.

Alldridge, Lizzie. The World She Awoke In: A Narrative. 1879. Henkin. The world in which the heroine awakes (from illness) is simply the everyday world. Though the main male characters are scientists, this story has no SF component.

Allen, Grant. Babylon. 1885. Henkin. The lives and loves of artists in the US, England, and Italy. There is no trace of the "utopian story" Henkin finds in it.

——. The Desire of the Eyes. 1895. Bleiler. Short stories, love melodramas.

——. The Great Taboo. 1890. Bleiler (as US 1891). English gentleman and pure white maiden shipwrecked on a cannibal island in the Pacific, where they are faced with a mysterious savage taboo that is finally revealed by a parrot.

——. Hilda Wade. 1900. Bleiler (as US & UK with subtitle). Medical shenanigans and dastardies.

——. The Jaws of Death. 1889. Bleiler. Two stories: the first concerns a murdering Chinese in San Francisco, the second an English poet gone native in Jamaica, whose manuscript masterpiece is burned after his death.

——. Recalled to Life. nd [1891]. Henkin. The minor SF element is an automatic electric machine that takes six photographs a minute, but it is smothered by the melodrama of the inventor's daughter, who becomes amnesiac, by the dream-visions by which she is "recalled to life," and by the detective story. I do not find Henkin's "chemicals powerful enough to reduce a man to ashes."

Arnold, Andrew W. The Attack on the Farm and Other Stories. 1899. Day. Stories of the Franco-Prussian war with some hints of supernatural fantasy.

Arnold, Edwin Lester. The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician. 1891. Bleiler (as US). Metempsychosis of hero and heroine through the ages, but no SF narration.

Besant, Walter. All Sorts and Conditions of Men: An Impossible Story. 1882. Bleiler (as US, without subtitle, and with James Rice as co-author). Rich heroine lives incognito in poor district working for reform. Love and politics but no SF.

——. and James Rice]. The Case of Mr. Lucraft; And Other Tales. 1876. Bleiler (as US). Some supernatural fantasy but no SF.

Black, William. The Magic Ink and Other Stories. 1892. Bleiler (as US). Three tales, two of them supernatural fantasy, but no SF.

——. Strange Adventures of a Phaeton. 1878. Bleiler. The "phaeton" is a coach implicated in strange adventures, but not SF adventures.

Boothby, Guy [Newell]. A Bid for Fortune: Or, Dr. Nicola's Vendetta. 1895. Dr. Nicola. 1896. Dr. Nicola's Experiment. 1899. Bleiler. A series with a mesmerizing villain in melodramatic plots; no SF narrations.

——. The Lost Endeavour. 1895. Bleiler (as A Lost Endeavor, US). Colonial romance, with no SF content.

——. Pharos the Egyptian. 1899. Bleiler (as US). Supernatural fantasy: ancient black magician and hypnotist, after being revived, loosens plague upon the world, but is defeated by ancient gods.

Bourdillon, Francis William. Nephelé. 1896. Bleiler (as US, with subtitle). Ghost story.

[Braddon, Mary E., pseud. of Mary Maxwell]. Ralph the Bailiff and Other Stories. London: Maxwell, nd. Bleiler (different publisher, 1862). Realistic criminal stories, and some supernatural fantasy.

[Bulwer-]Lytton, Edward George. A Strange Story. 1861. Bailey. Occult supernatural fantasy with elixir of life and mesmerism. Bulwer's earlier tale, Zanoni (1842) is also occult fantasy.

Burnand, F.C. Mokeanna!: A Treble Temptation, etc. 1873. Day. Four satirical stories with contemporary allusions. In "Chikkin Hazard" (pp 79-222), some strange races, but not developed as an SF narration.

Canton, William. The Invisible Playmate: A Story of the Unseen. 1894. Bleiler. Letter about a little girl and her "invisible playmate," a child who had died earlier.

Carrel, Frederic. The Adventures of John Johns. 1897. Day. Career of a philandering adventurer; no SF elements.

Carruth, Hayden. The Adventures of Jones. 1895. Bleiler (as US). Muenchhausen-type tall tales.

Chambers, Robert W. In the Quarter. 1895. Bleiler (as US 1894). Bohemian life in Paris during Franco-Prussian war, with love and crime.

——. The Maker of Moons. 1896 Bleiler (As US). Series of "science-fantasy" stories. Chamerovzow, Louis Alexis. The Man of Destiny: A Romance of Modern History. 1860. Bleiler. About Napoleon III during and after 1848.

Cheney, Walter T. An Apocalypse of Life. US 1893; imported 1894. Bleiler. Christian spiritualism: in dream, the narrator flies through "celestial spheres," meeting Beings from various stars and Christ.

Clarkson, L. (pseud. of Louise Clarkson Whitelock). The Shadow of John Wallace. US 1884; imported. Bleiler. Sentimental story of a mysterious stranger with a vague "magnetism"; there is occurrence of clairvoyance a la Jane Eyre, but this novel is no more a supernatural fantasy than Jane Eyre is.

Coleridge, Christabel. The Thought-Rope. 1898. Locke. Old woman with second-sight helps in love story.

Collins, W. Wilkie. The Moonstone. 1868. Bailey. The only novelties are the mysterious Brahmins and the assumption that sleepwalking under the influence of opium leads to a re-enactment of past behavior. I do not know why Bailey calls this assumption a "relatively scientific theory"; it is not such, and even if it were, that would not make the whole narration SF.

Conrad, Joseph. Tales of Unrest. 1898. Bleiler (as US). Adventure tales, one with a haunted Malay. Alas, one ghost (illusory or real) doth not a fantasy make (not to speak of SF).

Corelli, Marie. Ardath: The Story of a Dead Self. 1889. Bleiler (as US 189?). Occult supernatural fantasy oscillating between horror and redemption, including dream trips to the past, a woman-angel incarnating, etc.

——. A Romance of Two Worlds. 1886. Bleiler (as US 1888). Occult supernatural fantasy of the "Electric Principle of Christianity" and trance communication with spirits on other planets, all earthly paradises, unlike our corrupt Earth, where some humans doubt God (a theory better known today from C.S. Lewis).

——. The Sorrows of Satan: Or, the Strange Experiences of One Geoffrey Tempest, Millionaire: A Romance. 1895. Bleiler (as US 1896). The narrator, Tempest, meets sorrowful Satan.

——. The Soul of Lilith. 1892. Bleiler (as US). Occult supernatural fantasy, similar to A Romance of Two Worlds, but the trance shows the planet of a double sun with immortal happy people.

——. Vendetta! or, The Story of One Forgotten. 1886. Bleiler (as US). A Neapolitan nobleman buried alive during a plague takes a 3-volume revenge on his wife. Neither fantasy nor SF.

——. Ziska: The Problem of a Wicked Soul. 1897. Bleiler (as US). Occult supernatural fantasy, with posthumous life, etc.

Cromie, Robert. The King's Oak and Other Stories. nd [1897]. Bleiler. Certainly not SF, and so far as my skimpy notes serve, not supernatural fantasy either.

——. The Lost Liner. 1899. Bleiler. A shipwreck story; neither SF nor supernatural fantasy.

Curtois, M[argaret] A[nne]. The Romance of a Country: A Masque. 1893. Henkin. A proto-Tolkien fantasy.

Delorme, Charles (pseud. of Charles Rumball). The Marvellous and Incredible Adventures of Charles Thunderbolt in the Moon. 1851. Bleiler. Whimsical tale; the hero finds a sea of fried fish, dragons, etc.

Dement, R[ichmond] S[heffield]. Ronbar: A Counterfeit Presentment. US 1895. Rooney (with author's given name as Richard S.). Love intrigues and illegal coining of silver; at the end free minting for all is foreshadowed, but that's not enough to make the story SF.

Denison, Tho[ma]s S[tewart]. My Invisible Partner. nd [1898]. Bleiler (as US). Fantasy about an invisible second self.

Dering, Ross George (pseud. of Frederic H. Balfour). Dr. Mirabel's Theory: A Psychological Study. 1893. Bleiler (as US). Supernatural fantasy; hypnotism is used for murder, but not in an SF narration.

Diehl, Mrs. A[lice] M. Dr. Paull's Theory: A Romance. nd [1893]. Bleiler [as US]. Supernatural fantasy: the transmigration of souls.

Doyle, Arthur Conan. The Parasite. 1894. Bleiler (as US 1895). Criminal story about a professor and his mesmerico-hypnotic medium; not an SF narration.

Du Maurier, George. Trilby: A Novel. 1894. Bleiler. This well-known melodrama turns on Svengali's use of mesmerism to make Trilby into a great singer; no SF development is given to the premise of mesmerism, which thus remains occult supernatural fantasy.

Ellis, Henry Havelock. The Nineteenth Century: A Dialogue in Utopia. 1900. Messac (as The Twentieth Century, a title I was unable to verify). A strong critique of the 19th century from a utopian perspective, but truly a dialogue and not a fictional story.

Falkner, John Meade. The Lost Stradivarius. 1895. Bleiler. Supernatural fantasy of music and deviltry.

Farjeon, B[enjamin] L[eopold]. The Last Tenant. 1893. Bleiler. A "haunted" house turns out to harbor a banal crime mystery; neither SF nor supernatural fantasy.

Fenn, Geo[rge] Manville. The Golden Magnet: A Tale of the Land of the Incas. 1884. Bleiler (as US 1900). Adventure story of search for Inca gold; neither SF nor supernatural fantasy.

——. The Man With a Shadow. 1888. Bleiler. Villains and occult secrets of nature in medical research, but with no SF narration.

[Ferrar, William M.]. Artabanzanus: The Dream of the Great Lake: An Allegorical Romance of Tasmania: Arranged from the Diary of the late Oliver Ubertus by William M. Ferrar. 1896. Bleiler; Teitler. Religious fantasy visions of a subterranean land, mixing balloons and fiends. Possibly allegorical; certainly not SF.

Frith, Walter. The Sack of Monte Carlo: An Adventure of To-day. 1897. Day. Robbery of the gambling casino; neither SF nor supernatural fantasy.

Glasgow, Ellen. Phases of an Inferior Planet. 1898. Rooney. Love and religion in New York; the planet of the title is simply Earth.

Gordon, Lord Granville. Notes from Another World. 1886. Bleiler. Life after death; a satirical fantasy of sorts.

Halliday, Andrew, ed. Savage Club Papers for 1868. Day (author's first name as Arthur). A collection of stories and poems; none is SF.

Hardy, Thomas. Two on a Tower. 1882. Bailey. Love and astronomy; no SF or fantasy.

Hatch, Mary R. [Platt]. The Missing Men. US 1892?; imported 1893. Bleiler (as 1893). The setting of the narration in 1917 is mentioned once in the first chapter and then promptly and totally forgotten. For the rest it is a melodramatic fantasy with magnetic mind-reading, unknown twins, amnesia, crime, dastardy, and love triumphant.

Hildreth, Charles L[otin]. Oo: Adventures in Orbello Land. US 1889; imported 1890. Bleiler. Lost white race similar to ancient Greeks found in Australia.

Hillhouse, Mansfield Lovell. Iola, The Senator's Daughter: A Story of Ancient Rome. 1894. Rooney. Life of the "Business classes" in ancient Rome, with clear parallels to 19th-century New York, but no SF narration.

Hocking, Joseph. The Weapons of Mystery. 1890. Bleiler. Crime and mesmerism; no SF narration.

Hodgson, William Earl. Haunted by Posterity. 1895. Bleiler. Spiritualist interviews.

——. Unrest: or, The Newer Republic. 1887. Bleiler. Contains a little speculation on psychic research, but neither SF nor supernatural fantasy.

Holland, Clive. Raymi; or The Children of the Sun. 1889. Teitler. Adventures on sea and land in the 18th century; hero finds Inca chief, his daughter Raymi, and their treasure.

Hyne, [Charles J.] C[utcliffe W.]. The Adventures of Captain Kettle. 1898. Bleiler (as US). Outrageous nautical tall tales.

Jane, Fred[erick] T. The Incubated Girl. 1896. Bleiler. Secret from Egyptian papyrus used by sinister professor in his lab for creating a new race of chaste women. His first sample, a girl constituted both chemically and with the help of supernatural influences, is also used as an innocent eye on London. Oscillates between satire and horror fantasy, with the small SF element overridden by these two types of narration.

Lang, Andrew. The Mark of Cain. 1886. Locke. A crime-mystery narration that uses SF for a moment (but only a moment) in the 11th of its 16 chapters with the appearance of a flying machine whose inventor witnesses the crime.

Le Queux, William. England's Peril: A Novel. 1899. Bleiler. In spite of the title exploiting the popularity of future-war SF, this is simply a spy story.

——. The Great White Queen: A Tale of Treasure and Treason. 1896. Bleiler (as 1898). Lost-race tale (or more precisely, as Mullen's unpublished MS. suggests, a "forbidden world" tale).

Lockhart-Ross, H.S. Hamtura: A Tale of an Unknown Land. 1892? Day. Unknown island in the Pacific contains treasure; a magic prophecy comes true; perhaps supernatural fantasy but not SF.

Lookup, Alexander (pseud.). Excelsior; or, The Heir Apparent. 1860. Bleiler. Political allegory-drama about reform of US government.

——. The Soldier of the People: Or, The World's Deliverer. 1860. Bleiler. Dramatic allegory of General Power bringing justice to the world.

M'Crib, Theophilus (pseud. of Henry Boyle Lee). Kennaquhair: A Narrative of Utopian Travel. 1872 (1871?). Bleiler. Description of a world in which literary characters live as long as people remember. Fantasy rather than utopian fiction or SF.

[Mackay, Charles.] Baron Grimbosh: Doctor of Philosophy and Sometime Governor of Barataria. A Record of His Experience. 1872. Messac (as anonymous). Whimsical political satire, with no utopian or SF narration.

Mason, Eveleen Laura. Hiero-Salem: The Vision of Peace. US 1889; imported 1890. Rooney. Occult supernatural fantasy of spirits, religious salvation, metempsychosis, etc., in tandem with political reform.

Mathew, Frank. At the Rising of the Moon: Irish Stories and Studies. 1893. Bleiler. No SF stories included.

Mendum, Bedloe. The Barbarian and Other Stories. 1899. Teitler. Short short stories, one a satire on Vulgaria (i.e. USA) as seen by a Chinese visitor, but without SF narration.

Moody, Dr. H.A.. The City Without a Name. 1898. Bleiler. Lost-race story of a hidden Inca city, with only faint echoes of a better state.

[Newman, John Henry]. Callista: A Sketch of the Third Century. [1855]. Day. Historical story by the future cardinal about Christian martyrs.

Nisbet, Hume. The Great Secret: A Tale of Tomorrow. 1895. Clarke. Despite the subtitle, this is merely a confused tale of anarchists taking people to an island in the Indian Ocean where they find the abode of dead spirits and the Garden of Hesperides (!).

Oliver, J[ohn] A. Westwood. The Doomed Comet and the World's End. 1882. Bleiler. A real goof proving Bleiler did not read some of his titles: not fiction but an introduction to "Cometic Astronomy" combating alarmism.

Peek, Hedley. The Chariot of the Flesh. 1897. Locke. The discovery of a MS by Descartes on thought-reading and mesmeric "will-force." The initial pretense at rational explanation, making for an SF narration, is soon abandoned for occult supernatural fantasy.

Phillips, L[undern] M. The Mind Reader. 1898. Day. Occult supernatural fantasy where hypnotism, clairvoyance, mind-reading, and astral protection foil dastardly capitalist swindlers.

Prince, Helen Choate. The Story of Christine Rochefort. 1895. Rooney. Religious reformism in conflict of capital and labor.

Rowel, M. [pseud. of Valdemar Adolph Thisted]. Letters from Hell. 1886. (Danish original 1866). Locke. Religious fantasy.

Russell, W[illiam] Clarke. The Frozen Pirate. 1887. Bailey (as US). The potential SF element of a frozen pirate thawed out after 48 years is lost in an adventure-story narration.

Sewell, Elizabeth M[issing], "editor." Uncle Peter's Fairy Tale for the Nineteenth Century. 1869. Locke. Fairy pills fulfilling wishes for improving the world; no SF narration.

[Shorthouse, J. Henry]. John Inglesant: a Romance. 1880. Day. Historical romance of the 17th century about Catholic plots, etc.; neither supernatural fantasy nor SF.

Slosson, Annie Trumbull. Seven Dreamers. 1899 (US 1891). Day. Fantasy stories.

Smeaton, [William Henry] Oliphant. A Mystery of the Pacific. 1899. Teitler. Lost-race story of a large island with ancient Romans, magic Atlanteans, etc., with Vernean adventure elements, but no SF.

Smith, Mrs. J. Gregory. Atla: A Story of the Lost Island. 1886. Bleiler (as US). Love and intrigue in Atlantis up to its destruction; pseudo-historical romance but with all the cliches of the lost-race story.

Stebbing, W[illiam], "edited by." Probable Tales. 1899. Teitler. Grotesque and whimsical European Ruritanias; e.g. Ipsiland, the land without comparisons. No SF narration.

Taylor, U[na] Ashworth. The City of Sarras. 1887. Bleiler. Fantasy of love and religion in Galahad's city for souls of the elect.

Wait, Frona Eunice [Smith Colburn]. Yermah, The Dorado: The Story of a Lost Race. 1897. Teitler (as US). Adventure story of Atlantis colony in California 11,000 years ago, with no SF narration.

Webster, Henry K. The Banker and the Bear. 1900 (US 1898). Rooney. Muckraking social comment about a stock-market "corner."

Westcott, Edward Noyes. David Harum: A Story of American Life. 1899. Rooney (as US 1898). This well-known story has really no SF elements at all.

Wright, Thomas. The Blue Firedrake; or, The Wonderful and Strange Relation of the Life and Aduentures of Nathan Souldrop. 1892. Day. Story of the last English witch in the 18th century, with no SF elements.



The annotated list of books that concludes this essay derives from a research project for which I had to establish a list of SF books published in the United States in the period 1848--1900. Since the existing bibliographies deal only with such subgenres as "tales of the future" or "voyages in space," I had to supplement them with information from more general bibliographies of fantasy, Utopia, the novel of science, etc. By the conclusion of the project, I had read about 100 novels that could not be regarded as SF. I offer this list to future researchers in the hope they will be able to avoid going off on similar tangents. My list was compiled on the basis of a determining and excluding premise: that SF is distinguished by the narrative dominance of a fictional novelty (novum, innovation) validated both by being continuous with a body of already existing cognitions and by being a "mental experiment" based on cognitive logic. Among the categories of works sometimes seen on SF bibliographies that are excluded here: works of non-fiction, non-realistic narratives, naturalistic fiction with minor SF elements, and supernatural fantasies. I offer an annotated guide to nine standard bibliographies of the field, concluding with the 101 works excluded, with notes on why they cannot be regarded as SF.

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