Imagining Life on the Moon During the Rise of the Telescope

Scheduled for Autumn of 2020

Front Cover Mock-Up for Website

In the early 1600s, the first telescopes were being used by astronomers such as Thomas Harriot in England and Galileo Galilei in Italy. These instruments were often aimed at the Moon. By mid-century, lunar cartographers debated if the Moon’s dark spots were seas, if it had an atmosphere, and if life existed there. Already, the scientific discoveries and debates were inspiring fiction writers to imagine what life on the Moon might be like.

Telescopes improved as the decades advanced. In 1780, eminent astronomer William Herschel reported on his study of the Moon, referring to “the great probably, not to say almost absolute certainty, of her being inhabited. . . .” A new wave of science-fiction writers launched readers to the Earth’s satellite and introduced them to its indigenous people. However, within about a century, evidence gained from even bigger and better telescopes convinced most scientists that the Moon was uninhabitable — and as telescopic technology waxed, fiction about life on the Moon waned. Imagining Life on the Moon During the Rise of the Telescope presents lunar fiction from this enlightening era of science and science fiction, spotlighting key works by Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Adams Locke, and others.

Telescopes versus the Moon People

I created a timeline to chart the introduction and development of the telescope interwoven with the history of scientific commentary and fictional works about life on the Moon. I call this illustrated chronology: Telescopes versus the Moon People.

The Moon at Sunrise

Phantom Traditions Library

PTL Spine LogoImagining Life on the Moon During the Rise of the Telescope will be the fourth volume in the Phantom Traditions Library, a series of anthologies featuring unusual and forgotten genres of fiction that flourished in the 1800s.

The other volumes are:

Future anthologies will feature additional distinctive sub-genres of speculative fiction!

Go to the Catalog of Books.


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