Victorian and Edwardian proto-science-fiction

David Malki sez, "I moderated a panel at Worldcon the other week on Victorian & Edwardian (proto-)science fiction, and my co-panelist Matt Bennardo kept notes on everything both the panelists and the audience brought up. A lot of great work was mentioned, including tons of titles I'd never heard before. Now Matt's compiled this list of links to free etexts of everything we could find! Months of reading at the very least. Hope you enjoy!"

Over the course of the Victorian and Edwardian science-fiction panel, about 50 books and short stories were mentioned or discussed. It’s not possible to reproduce all the discussion here, but the list makes a fair starting point for those who may be looking for a general introduction to the science-fiction of the period.

This list has many shortcomings. It is nowhere near comprehensive. In fact, the panel largely jumped over the well-known catalogues of writers like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. This doesn’t mean that the unnamed books by those writers aren’t worth reading. But most readers are likely to already be aware of many of them, and the discussion veered more often towards some less commonly read works.

In a few places, the list strays from all reasonable definitions of “Victorian” and “Edwardian”. Some books and stories that fall into different periods were discussed as points of comparison. I’ve included all those that I remember, whether or not they are technically “Victorian” or “Edwardian”. Finally, the list is not very diverse — it consists almost entirely of books written by American, English, and French men. Mary Shelley and Charlotte Perkins Gilman are the only women mentioned, and no writers from other countries make an appearance.

A Brief Survey of Victorian Science Fiction (Thanks, David !)