Radium Age 100 (61)

By: Joshua Glenn
December 14, 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.


Frigyes Karinthy’s Capillaria (1921).

Gulliver, protagonist of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, who in Karinthy’s 1916 Voyage to Faremido: Gulliver’s Fifth Voyage (1916) visited a planet of intelligent machines, now finds himself saved from drowning in an underwater empire ruled by women. The males (“bullpops”) of this planet are fighters and builders, creative and rational… yet they are dominated by the emotional, illogical womenfolk. Not only do the women of Capillaria devote themselves entirely to pleasure, and tear down the (phallic) towers erected by the men, but they feed on the brains of their menfolk! A misogynistic adventure influenced by August Strindberg, who often made pronouncements like, “Woman, being small and foolish and therefore evil… should be suppressed, like barbarians and thieves.”

Fun fact: Karinthy’s fifth and sixth journeys of Gulliver’s aren’t the earliest example of Gulliveriana — but they’re among the most influential.


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