By: Robinson Jeffers
June 1, 2023

A (pro- or anti-) science-, mathematics-, technology-, space-, apocalypse-, dehumanization-, disenchantment-, and/or future-oriented poem published during sf’s emergent Radium Age (c. 1900–1935). Research and selection by Joshua Glenn.

Óscar Domínguez’s Machine à coudre électro-sexuelle (1934/1935)

Man, introverted man, having crossed
In passage and but a little with the nature
     of things this latter century
Has begot giants; but being taken up
Like a maniac with self-love and inward
     conflicts cannot manage his hybrids.
Being used to deal with edgeless dreams,
Now he’s bred knives on nature turns them
     also inward: they have thirsty points
His mind forebodes his own destruction;
Actaeon who saw the goddess naked
     among leaves and his hounds tore him.
A little knowledge, a pebble from the
A drop from the oceans: who would have
     dreamed this infinitely little too much?

— A 1925 poem, which can be found in the 1965 collection Selected Poems.


RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF POETRY: Stephen Spender’s THE PYLONS | George Sterling’s THE TESTIMONY OF THE SUNS | Archibald MacLeish’s EINSTEIN | Thomas Thornely’s THE ATOM | C.S. Lewis’s DYMER | Stephen Vincent Benét’s METROPOLITAN NIGHTMARE | Robert Frost’s FIRE AND ICE | Aldous Huxley’s FIFTH PHILOSOPHER’S SONG | Sara Teasdale’s “THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS” | Edith Södergran’s ON FOOT I HAD TO… | Robert Graves’s WELSH INCIDENT | Nancy Cunard’s ZEPPELINS | D.H. Lawrence’s WELLSIAN FUTURES | & many more.


Poetry, Radium Age SF