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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. My latest books are THE TYRANNY OF OPINION: CONFORMITY AND THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM (2019); AT THE DAWN OF A GREAT TRANSITION: THE QUESTION OF RADICAL ENHANCEMENT (2021); and HOW WE BECAME POST-LIBERAL: THE RISE AND FALL OF TOLERATION (2024).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where is this passage from?

I'm going to change a few words here and there to disguise it, etc. But let's see what you think. Someone will recognise it, for sure, despite the changes.

I suppose:
A sullen darkness now surrounded us - but from out the milky depths of the galaxy a luminous glare arose, and stole along the sleek metal loins of our space craft. We were nearly overwhelmed by the brilliant shower that settled upon us and the ship, but melted into the vacuum as it fell. The source of the cataract was utterly lost in the darkness and the distance. Yet we were evidently approaching it with a hideous velocity. At intervals there were visible in it wide, yawning, but momentary rents, and from out these rents, within which was a chaos of flitting and indistinct images, there came the rushing, mighty, soundless winds of space, tearing through stars and planets in their course.
Don't look it up or google for it. Who is the author?


Chris Fellows said...

The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes? (And you've changed a lot of words?)

Miranda Celeste Hale said...

Is it Poe?

AShR said...

It is Poe, I'm sure. "The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym"? A ship instead of a space-ship, Antarctic waters instead of space?

Russell Blackford said...

Anyone think it might be Stapledon or Arthur C. Clarke?

Russell Blackford said...

No? In fact, the people who said Poe - and more specifically The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket - are exactly right.

I've been thinking a fair bit, of late, about the great sea-voyage narratives of Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. Specifically abou the way extraordinary experiences are conveyed by these authors, and how their techniques compare to those of modern writers dealing with, say, space voyages or journeys to fantasy worlds.

Anyone else want to comment before I go on?

Mike said...

I had been going to say Olaf Stapledon.

Felix said...

I was going to say HG Wells.

My reading of old SF is limited so my options were: Wells, Stapledon, Verne, EE Smith.

Russell Blackford said...

The pasasage is from the end of the book, by which stage things are getting science fictionish.

But when we restore the references to the boat, the ocean, etc., the style can be seen as not greatly different from what we've experienced throughout, with a great deal of realistic detail - Poe actually knew a lot about sailing, the ocean, water in general, and geography.