This 19th century short story writer may be one of the fathers of science fiction

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The Scotsman Robert Duncan Milne has published over a hundred stories in newspapers and other magazines. This short story not only inspired other successful authors, but he especially anticipated in the 19th century certain elements of our current society such as climate change, the democratization of television or the arrival of remote monitoring.

A visionary short story writer

Robert duncan milne (1844-1899) is a relatively unknown author. This short story writer was born in Cupar, a small town in Scotland before studying at the prestigious University of Oxford. Without a diploma, he went into exile in California (United States) where he became a shepherd, cook or even a worker. Fast enough, his talent for writing made talk and the person concerned is having some success. He regularly publishes his news in various newspapers or in the magazine The argonaut, based in San Francisco and active between 1878 and 1956. And as the Scottish daily explains The press and the newspaper on January 20, 2021, Robert Duncan Milne can be considered to be one of the fathers of science fiction Thanks topioneering aspect of his works.

It must be said that this 19th century author predicted many components of our current society and possibilities for the future. These include television, remote monitoring, as well as long distance communications by satellite and cell phones. In his works he has also mentioned climate change, cryogenics or even drone warfare.

Credit: Cryonics Institute

According to Dr Keith Williams of the University of Dundee (Scotland), Robert Duncan Milne envisioned the world in which we were currently aiming. He then depicted a world of interconnected networks, immersed in digital technology. And yet, in his time, only the telegraph and the first forms of telephones could inspire him on such subjects.

Inspirational works

A true pioneer, the author notably inspired Herbert George Wells and his famous book The Time Machine (1895). Moreover, how not to mention The Eidoloscope ? This news gave ideas to the inventor of one of the very first film projection devices of the same name. This machine patented in 1895 is subsequent to the news which described a tool able to review and plan any past action.

After an alcohol-plagued end and a tragic accident, it will be a long time before some of his work be returned in the book Into The sun and other stories (1980) edited by Sam Moskowitz in the United States. Today, Dr Keith Williams is supporting doctoral student Ari Brin at the University of Dundee. Its mission is to collect all the writings of Robert Duncan Milne in the collection The essential Milne.

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