Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Sunday September 25 2016, @05:25AM   Printer-friendly

I ran across this book a month or so ago when I was reading about Illinois' upcoming bicentennial. It's a speculative fiction look at the year 2018 from a 1918 standpoint. Its author, Vachel Lindsay, was a very popular poet at the turn of his century, and this is his only novel. He started writing it in 1904, hoping to publish by Illinois' centennial, but it was finally published in 1920.

The Golden Book of Springfield is speculative fiction, but rather than science fiction, this is future fantasy fiction. The Golden Book flies into a room, but it isn't a drone as someone in our time would presume, but magic. His war is fought on horseback with swords. He has a character shouting from a platform, Lindsay being unaware that in a hundred years a thing called a "bullhorn" would be commonplace.

He does introduce a very few innovations, such as a "lens gun," "a new kind of" movie projector, and the "corn-dragon engine," which isn't an internal combustion engine running on ethanol or methanol, but a new kind of steam locomotive. A "corn-dragon" was a steam train driving past a cornfield, the "dragon" being what was called then "smokestack lightning".

It's surrealism, and going by what Wikipedia has to say, some of the first, although a college history class told me it started in Germany. It's about his and friends of his (whether the friends are real or fictional) dreams of his city a hundred years in his future, two years in my future as I write this.

It's also a ghost story, written by a ghost. It's about the 1918 Vachel Lindsay haunting our present. It reads "And my bones crumble through the century, like last year's autumn leaves. Then there is, alternating with drouth, bitter frost. And roots wrap my heart and brain. And there is sleep.

"Then a galloping and gay shrieking, away on the road, to the East of Oak Ridge! And though I am six feet beneath the ground the eyes of the soul are given me. I see wonderful young horsewomen..."

Lindsay committed suicide in 1931. If that's not a ghost story, what is?

JNCF asked "I find myself wondering how reasonable you think your depiction of 23rd century Mars is." The answer is a definite, loud, "HELL NO." Reading this book (or any old SF) will tell you why.

Original Submission

Related Stories

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25 2016, @05:33AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25 2016, @05:33AM (#406175)

    Your favorite Tar Baby the former Senator from Illinois will be a Lame Duck President real soon now when the Obamanation becomes Trumpland. But you go ahead and glorify Illinois the fucking flyover state that absolutely nobody will give one shit about as soon as Chicago becomes a ghost town deader than Detroit. Also fuck you.

  • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Sunday September 25 2016, @08:31AM

    by Dr Spin (5239) on Sunday September 25 2016, @08:31AM (#406199)

    Sometime in the 1960's, my grandfather said to me:

    "In 1914, we looked back on 1898, and so much had changed: in 1898, there were no cars, no planes, barely
    any phones, and women dressed in huge clothes (and a lot of things I forgot). By 1914, we had cars,
    the road numbering we have today, regular scheduled international flights, and the beginning of
    1920's style clothes. 1898 was the last Century. If you live that long, when you reach 2014
    and look back on 1998, the changes will be bigger - 1998 will be the last millenium".

    Hmmm - iPhones, drones, self driving cars, Facebook, Google, Amazon ... sharks with fricking lasers ...

    My grandfather was pretty close on this one!

    I often think of what people would have thought in the 1960's if I had shown them a smart phone
    - with a touch screen and video calls - look - we can see what is happening live, all over the world!
    perform incredible calculations, draw things and have then 3D printed - all of these would have
    been considered the things that witches do.

    Earlier this year, I met a teenage girl in Africa who complained "all the 7 year olds in school have
    mobile phones". (When she was 7, there were virtually no working phones of any kind in Africa).

    What 2060 will be like? I might live live to find out!

    "Those things they call Hoverboards in the media are definitely not the real thing!" - me

    Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25 2016, @08:56AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 25 2016, @08:56AM (#406201)

      Uh-huh. Your "futurefulness" is all about the cell phones. Star Trek of the 1960s predicted cell phones. Star Trek of the 1980s predicted asshats would use cell phones to annoy people. Star Trek of the 1990s predicted hackers would use cell phones to fuck up your shit. Star Trek also predicted primitive screwheads like you would be enamored with cell phones.

      Relevant quotes:

      MCCOY: I left my communicator.
      KIRK: In Bela's office?
      SPOCK: Captain. If the Iotians, who are very bright and imitative people, should take that communicator apart
      KIRK: They will, they will. And they'll find out how the transtator works.
      SPOCK: The transtator is the basis for every important piece of equipment that we have.

      PICARD: We may indeed. Those comm. panels are for official ship business.
      RALPH: If they are so important, why don't they need an executive key?
      PICARD: Aboard a starship, that is not necessary. We are all capable of exercising self-discipline. Now, you will refrain from using them.

      DAX: He's serious. Worf, what did you do? Build an uplink so you could take control of the weather grid?
      WORF: The grid has been deactivated. It will take three or four days to restore the system to normal operation. During that time, the inhabitants of Risa and their guests will experience the planet's natural weather cycle.
      ARANDIS: And for most of Risa that means rain, and plenty of it.