While reading ↑Brian Aldiss‘ ‘Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction’ (1973) [a revised and expanded edition was published as ‘Trillion Year Spree’ (Aldiss & Wingrove 1986)] Joshua Glenn thought that Aldiss unfairly neglected the period from 1904 to 1933:
I’ve concluded that it’s an era of which science fiction historians and fans ought to be proud, not ashamed! I’ve dubbed this unfairly overlooked era ↑science fiction’s “Radium Age” because the phenomenon of radioactivity—the 1903 discovery that matter is neither solid nor still and is, at least in part, a state of energy, constantly in movement — is a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. I’m on a crusade to redeem this era’s reputation; […] Join the crusade!
Well, I already did join and am proud that on my barely started ↵listing of cyberpunkish literature since the beginning there are three radium age titles: ‘The Iron Heel’ and ‘The Scarlet Plague’ by Jack London (1907 and 1910) and E. M. Forster’s ‘↵The Machine Stops‘ (1909). ‘The Scarlet Plague’ [which I haven’t read yet] is a favourite of Joshua’s, but he seems to have missed ‘The Iron Heel’ [with which I am halfway through]—highly recommended!
In order to convert all of you into radium-age believers I urge you to read ↑Joshua Glenn’s great essays. In his crusade Joshua goes well beyond just writing about the radium age:
I’ve enlisted two visionary bookfuturists (my HiLobrow colleague ↑Matthew Battles, and publisher ↑Richard Nash) and we’ve started ↑HiLoBooks. This year, we’re ↑serializing (at HiLobrow) and then publishing in paperback form six classics Radium Age science fiction titles. The first three—Jack London’s ↑The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s ↑With the Night Mail, and Arthur Conan Doyle’s ↑The Poison Belt—are coming out this spring; they are available for pre-ordering now. Join the crusade!