ATTENTION STEAMPUNKS! (and other beautifully alternative miscreants)

October 26, 2009

Roll up, roll up,

For the first time in over a century the marvelously malicious, devastatingly delectable, catastrophically creative tale of “HARTMANN THE ANARCHIST” is back in print.

hartmann new

Originally published in 1892 by public schoolboy, E. Douglass Fawcett,  it tells the tale of Rudolph Hartmann; an anarchist who uses a dirigible named ‘The Attila’ to rain “pitiless death and destruction from the skies on Parliament, St Pauls and the City [of London]”. This is a classic piece of Victorian Sci-Fi which is 100 years ahead of its time. Not only does it predict the Steampunk‘s passion for airships it provides a stinging critique of the institutions that are causing immense suffering in today’s Britain.

Hartmann’s victims are the sly politicians and greedy bankers who caused the current economic crisis; Fawcett may have been a schoolboy, but he proves himself to be politically astute for his tender years. As Ian Bone say’s in his introduction “His analysis of the reasons to bomb the City of London show his prescient awareness of the evils of globalisation years before anyone else.” Hartmann’s ‘propaganda by the deed’ may be a little extreme (to say the least), but we ‘moderns’ can easily sympathise with his motivations. If Jules Verne were alive to witness today’s global recession he would have written this book.

The original edition was illustrated by Fred T. Jane who once abducted a politician for a ‘publicity stunt’ and would go on to found the infamous Jane’s Information Group who publish Jane’s Defence. The modern version is equally well illustrated, this time by Stanley Donwood who is responsible for some of Radiohead‘s best album cover artwork.

‘Hartmann’ is an authentic example of what was once called a ‘ripping yarn’, but it also puts the ‘punk’ back into Steampunk. What’s more it is a real bargain, you can order your copy from Tangent Books for the ridiculous sum of £5 – including postage!

Vistit for more great reads.


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