‘↑Captain Nemo was a technical anarcho-terrorist.’ wrote Bruce Sterling (1991: 39) about the main protagonist of ↑Jules Verne‘s ‘↓20,000 leagues under the sea‘ (1870). The same can be said about the character Robur appearing in Verne’s ‘↓Robur the Conqueror‘ (1886) and its sequel ‘↓Master of the World‘ (1904). By way of his submarine ‘Nautilus’ Captain Nemo rules the oceans. Robur rules everything above through his vessels, the ‘Albatross’ and the ‘Terror.’ Just recently I learned that around the same time yet another literary ‘technical anarcho-terrorist’ appeared: ‘↓Hartmann the Anarchist‘ by Edward Douglas Fawcett (1893):
↑A sensational tale of the evil Mastermind of Nihilism destroying London and everything else he could get his grimy hands on. A typical ‘nineties tale of urban anxiety and the feeling of politics out of hand. The author (a Socialist—of a sort) gets to fly on the ATTILA, Hartmann’s aerial destroyer made of a specially hardened metal. Hartmann—a member of the professional classes gone bad because of the influence of a malign political theorist, aims to destroy the fabric of a rotten exploitative society stirs up the mobs beneath and watches from above.
The illustrations by Fred T. Jane very much convey the Jules-Verne-touch as you can see especially below. The illustration above is from the first page of the story’s serialization in The English Illustrated Magazine. With Guy Fawkes all around these days I found it apt.