RD Milne, the unknown Victorian father of science fiction

Robert Duncan Milne. Hardly anyone knows his name or his contribution to science fiction literature. Nevertheless, this Scottish writer can be considered one of the fathers of the genre: he published more than 110 stories at the end of the nineteenth century.H Century, and influencing the works of brilliant authors, including Herbert George W. Wells and Time Machine (1895).

Milne’s story is a science fiction novel. Born in 1844 in a small town called Cobar, Scotland, he studied in Oxford before leaving for California without a diploma.

There, after being a pastor, chef and then part-time worker, his literary talent shines through and published regularly. His works are in the magazine Argonaut From San Francisco.

The uniqueness of Milne’s work lies in the pioneering aspect of his stories. In particular, it provides television, remote monitoring, long-range communications via satellites and mobile phones, but also climate change, drone warfare and refrigeration science, Transfer Conversation. He published several stories long before HG Wells about time travel techniques.

Forgotten precursors

Imagine the world we live in right now, Explanation to the media The Press and Magazine Keith Williams, University of Dundee. He really imagined this interconnected, digital, and connected world we were in when he only had the telegraph and the phone to inspire him to imagine this. ”

His imagination was such that one of his stories, LidoloscopeIt may have been the inspiration for the inventor of one of the first movie projectors, the name … telescope. A patent was filed in 1895, and it is possible that the machine is actually an afterthought of Milne’s story, as he invokes a tool capable of revising and dropping any earlier work.

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Why is a talent like Robert Duncan Milne falling into limbo? Two tragic elements in the author’s life offer some answers.

On the one hand, Milne was an alcoholic. His lifestyle was privately funded by his wealthy uncle, Duncan James Kay. Perhaps the bottle didn’t help him secure his offspring Press and magazine reporter He would have spent all the money his uncle sent him to spread his stories.

On the other hand, the tragic ending of the author may have contributed to this sudden erasure of his writings. While on his way to a meeting to put his stories together in book form, Milne was hit by a streetcar in San Francisco in 1899. His work cannot be edited in one volume.

It took decades before American Sam Moskowitz met, in 1980, Part of Milne’s work In The Sun and Other Stories.

The work of the Scottish writer has since been researched at the University of Dundee, thanks in part to Dr Keith Williams and Ari Breen, a PhD student who brings the author’s writings together in a collection called Milne Core.

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