Thursday 18 October 2018

Book Review: The Speculative Fiction of Mark Twain (Classics/Short Stories)

Title: The Speculative Fiction of Mark Twain
Author: Mark Twain
Dover Publications

Publication Date: 17 October 2018
eBook - PDF
Spec Fic/Classics/Short Stories
ARC via NetGalley


Although best known for his novels, Mark Twain was a prolific writer of short stories, many of which involved elements of science fiction—and this compilation highlights his finest works of speculative fiction. Twain applies his wit and imagination to the spinning of tales about mental telepathy, instantaneous communication, alternative histories, and utopian worlds.

The collection begins with Twain's first science fiction story, an 1862 piece entitled "Petrified Man." The satirical newspaper item was interpreted literally by many readers and became an accidental hoax. Other selections include "Earthquake Almanac," "From the 'London Times' of 1904," "The Loves of Alonzo Fitz Clarence and Rosannah Ethelton," "Mental Telegraphy," "Mental Telegraphy, Again," "Extracts from Adam's Diary," "Eve's Diary," "The Great Dark," and "Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven," concluding with "The Mysterious Stranger."

The Speculative Fiction of Mark Twain was a fun and eclectic collection of tales, all most enjoyable. I loved "The Mysterious Stranger", but I think my favourites were the two telegraphy pieces, because we've all experienced things such as letter crossings or people phoning just as we were thinking about them. There were some amusing and intriguing ideas in these stories, and they've certainly inspired me to fill in the gaps in my Mark Twain reading. Highly recommended to short story and speculative fiction readers.

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