The 100 best stories from Radium Age sci-fi, which ruled the early 20th century

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You’ve probably heard of science fiction’s Golden Age, that incredible period in the 1940s and ’50s when masters of the genre like Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, and Jack Vance were in their primes. But the early 20th century was an even weirder and more fantastic time for science fiction, when the genre was still in flux and the atomic bomb hadn’t yet transformed our ideas about the future forever. Sci-fi historian and editor Joshua Glenn has just finished a multi-year project to bring what he calls the Radium Age back into the public eye. He has brought ten Radium Age classics back into print through his indie press HiLo Books, and he has written a number of fascinating guides to the great books of that era. Now, with his definitive list of the 100 best stories and novels of the Radium Age (1904-33), he’s bringing the project to a close. But the journey for you, dear reader, is just beginning.

I’ve always been intrigued by the excavation of forgotten sci-fi, which is why I asked Glenn to write some of his first essays about Radium Age books several years ago for io9. “With Radium Age sci-fi, I wanted to surface and read all the best novels from that overlooked era and then introduce the era to others—so at first, I figured that writing a series for io9 would suffice,” he told Ars via e-mail. “But once I realized that some of the best sci-fi from the 1904-33 period had fallen into utter obscurity, I felt compelled to start an imprint and reissue 10 of the titles that seemed most worthy of resurrecting.” Now that other publishers have started releasing some of the novels on his best-of list, it seems that Glenn was on the cutting edge of a cultural revival of futuristic tales that are a century old. What’s incredible about looking back on the Radium Age is that you realize so many of the science fiction themes we think of as solidly contemporary—from post-humans and the singularity, to zombie-populated dystopias—actually got their start way back in the early 1900s.

Describing some of these themes, Glenn told Ars:

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Read Original: ArsTechnica