Monday, March 31, 2014

"An Interesting Story in the Jules Verne Manner"

By John Mastin, R.B.A., F.L.S., F.C.S., F.R.A.S., F.S.A.Scot., F.R.M.S. (1865-1932).
Philip Wellby.
1906. 282 pages. 6s. Currently at Amazon it's going for $987.25.
No e-texts seem to be available.
"Five hundred miles an hour". . . for 1906, that's impressive:
At school Fraser Burnley displayed scientific attainments resembling those of Tom Browne's friend MartinHe lost no opportunity of trying to blow himself and his friends up. A few years later he made a surprising discovery which enabled him to control the force of gravity and to utilise it for the propulsion of his marvellous air-ship, the "Regina," which could speed through space at the rate of five hundred miles an hour. It is this voyage which is described in The Stolen Planet, by John Mastin, an interesting story in the Jules Verne manner, which quite realises its ambition "of giving to our youth technical instruction, combined with excitement of a healthy kind, every incident related being based on scientific facts." — "Notes on New Books," THE BOOKMAN [U.K.] (August 1906)
Some idea of the sort of 'market' he [Mastin] aimed to break into is suggested by The Boy's Playbook of Science, but he was not exclusively concerned to attract juvenile readers: his novels are for the most part scientific romances, and their thematic content has some affinity with the genre associated with such writers as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. In The Stolen Planet (1905), for example, two young friends from 'Derwent' (Sheffield)—'Jervis Meredith' (John Mastin?) and 'Fraser Burnley' (?)—manage somehow to conquer the force of gravity and visit the outer atmosphere in their spaceship. Incredibly, they manage to conquer the force of gravity so successfully that they are able to harness a satellite and bring it back to earth (!) The effect of this is devastating since the coastal waters all around Britain recede—with appalling results for all those who go down to the sea in ships. — MASTIN FAMILY TREE
Mastin also wrote THROUGH THE SUN IN AN AIRSHIP (1909).

- Listings for John Mastin are in the THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION HERE and the ISFDb HERE.
- More biographical information about Mastin is HERE.

Category: Science fiction

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