March 12, 2024

Under the direction of HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn, the MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE series is reissuing notable proto-sf stories from the underappreciated era between 1900–1935.

In these forgotten classics, sf readers will discover the origins of enduring tropes like robots (berserk or benevolent), tyrannical supermen, dystopias and apocalypses, sinister telepaths, and eco-catastrophes.

With new contributions by historians, science journalists, and sf authors, the Radium Age book series will recontextualize the breakthroughs and biases of these proto-sf pioneers, and chart the emergence of a burgeoning literary genre.

Today marks the publication of the following Radium Age series title…


Introduction by PHILIPPA LEVINE
(March 12, 2024)

In a eugenics-driven future society, will one young woman’s defiance make a difference?

In the not-too-distant future, England’s population quality and quantity are under scientific control: Only those deemed the fittest are permitted to procreate. Women are either groomed to be “vocational mothers,” or sterilized and put to other uses. Written by an author married to one of the world’s most prominent eugenics advocates, this ambivalent adventure anticipates both Brave New World and The Handmaid’s Tale. When a young woman rebels against her conditioning, can she break free?

“A volatile admixture of feminist revelations with racially biased eugenic theorizing, nearly a century after its first publication Man’s World offers unique insight into its historical moment — and our own.” — Alexandra Minna Stern, Dean of Humanities, and Professor of English, History, and in the Institute for Society and Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles; and founder and co-director of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab.

Press for Man’s World includes the following…

“Haunting, complex, profound, and relevant, Man’s World is a compelling novel that forwards intriguing commentary on questions of gender, race, and social order.” — Foreword

“[Haldane’s] tale of a futuristic society haunted by eugenics remains deeply relevant nearly a century after it was first published.” — Reactor (formerly

Note that HILOBROW will serialize Man’s World soon.


CHARLOTTE HALDANE (1894–1969) was a journalist who advocated for divorce reform and married women’s employment… while also idealizing motherhood. In 1926, the year that Man’s World was published, she married the eminent biologist J.B.S. Haldane. Her 1927 book, Motherhood and Its Enemies, made a progressive argument for easier access to contraceptives for women… while enraging feminists by arguing that only after having borne children could a woman be regarded as “normal.” She went on to found the Science News Service, and reported on WWII from the Russian Front.

PHILIPPA LEVINE is Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas, and Director of British, Irish and Empire Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of, among other books, Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction (2017), The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (3d edition, 2019), and the forthcoming The Tree of Knowledge: Science, Art and the Naked Form. With Alison Bashford, she is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010).

Cover designed by Seth. See this book at The MIT Press.


RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF FROM THE MIT PRESS: VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, ed. Joshua Glenn | J.D. Beresford’s A WORLD OF WOMEN | E.V. Odle’s THE CLOCKWORK MAN | H.G Wells’s THE WORLD SET FREE | Pauline Hopkins’s OF ONE BLOOD | J.J. Connington’s NORDENHOLT’S MILLION | Rose Macaulay’s WHAT NOT | Cicely Hamilton’s THEODORE SAVAGE | Arthur Conan Doyle’s THE LOST WORLD & THE POISON BELT | G.K. Chesterton’s THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL | MORE VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, ed. Joshua Glenn | William Hope Hodgson’s THE NIGHT LAND | Hemendrakumar Roy’s THE INHUMANS | Charlotte Haldane’s MAN’S WORLD | Francis Stevens’s THE HEADS OF CERBERUS & OTHER STORIES | Edward Shanks’s THE PEOPLE OF THE RUINS | J.D. Beresford’s THE HAMPDENSHIRE WONDER | John Taine’s THE GREATEST ADVENTURE | Marietta Shaginyan’s MESS-MEND | & more to come.

RADIUM AGE PROTO-SF: “Radium Age” is Josh Glenn’s name for the nascent sf genre’s c. 1900–1935 era, a period which saw the discovery of radioactivity, i.e., the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. More info here.


Kudos, Radium Age SF