Radium Age 100 (36)

By: Joshua Glenn
October 1, 2015

One in a series of 100 posts about the best science fiction novels published from 1904–33. HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn has named that era science fiction’s Radium Age; more info here. The complete Radium Age 100 list can be found here.


Gustave Le Rouge’s Le Prisonnier de la Planète Mars (1908).

Amateur astronomer Robert Darvel arranges to have himself transported to Mars in a capsule propelled (how else?) by a psychic energy produced by thousands of Indian yogis gathered together as one cosmic soul. Among other observations he makes about Mars’s flora (carnivorous grass) and fauna (giant crabs, jelly-like octopi with pseudo-human faces), Darvel discovers that the planet is inhabited by dull-witted humanoids who are herded and harvested by three species of vampire creatures. The vampires are controlled by squid-like, invisible beings haunting an abandoned city. Even worse, a Great Brain, which inhabits a crystal mountain surrounded by magnetic storms, is controlling the squid-vampire creatures! Mars, it seems, is like an evil version of Oz; L. Frank Baum’s books began appearing in 1900. Darvel finally returns back to Earth, with some of the invisible vampires in tow… thus setting up this book’s 1909 sequel, La Guerre des Vampires.

Fun fact: “The best novel of one of the most important SF writers in France at the dawn of the twentieth century,” according to Arthur Evans, author of Jules Verne Rediscovered and managing editor of Science Fiction Studies. Reissued by Bison Frontiers of Imagination.


MORE RADIUM AGE SCI FI ON HILOBROW: HiLoBooks homepage! | What is Radium Age science fiction? |Radium Age 100: 100 Best Science Fiction Novels from 1904–33 | Radium Age Supermen | Radium Age Robots | Radium Age Apocalypses | Radium Age Telepaths | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophes | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Radium Age Science Fiction Poetry | Enter Highbrowism | Bathybius! Primordial ooze in Radium Age sf | War and Peace Games (H.G. Wells’s training manuals for supermen) | Radium Age: Context series | J.D. Beresford | Algernon Blackwood | Edgar Rice Burroughs | Karel Čapek | Buster Crabbe | August Derleth | Arthur Conan Doyle | Hugo Gernsback | Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Cicely Hamilton | Hermann Hesse | William Hope Hodgson | Aldous Huxley | Inez Haynes Irwin | Alfred Jarry | Jack Kirby (Radium Age sf’s influence on) | Murray Leinster | Gustave Le Rouge | Gaston Leroux | David Lindsay | Jack London | H.P. Lovecraft | A. Merritt | Maureen O’Sullivan | Sax Rohmer | Paul Scheerbart | Upton Sinclair | Clark Ashton Smith | E.E. “Doc” Smith | Olaf Stapledon | John Taine | H.G. Wells | Jack Williamson | Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz | S. Fowler Wright | Philip Gordon Wylie | Yevgeny Zamyatin

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