The Fugitives (2)
May 5, 2014
HiLoBooks is pleased to serialize Morley Roberts’s 1900 novel The Fugitives, an adventure set against the backdrop of the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The author was once known for his novel The Private Life of Henry Maitland (1912), but he quickly passed into obscurity. How obscure? In a 1966 story about plagiarism (“The Longest Science-Fiction Story Ever Told”), Arthur C. Clarke attributed an 1898 sci-fi story of Roberts’s (“The Anticipator”) about the same topic to H.G. Wells; in a 1967 guest editorial in If (“Herbert George Morley Roberts Wells, Esq.”), a contrite Clarke noted that not a single Morley fan had emerged to point out this error. HiLoBooks — in conjunction with the Save the Adventure book club, which under the editorship of HiLobrow’s Joshua Glenn is issuing The Fugitives as an e-book — is rectifying this situation. Enjoy!
There was no one within ten miles of Cowley who had not a soft place in his heart for Gwen Middleton, and when she drove up to the booking-office entrance the old station-master received her himself.
“Bad weather for the hunting, Miss,” he said, as he touched his cap.
“So it is, Mr. Thomas,” said Gwen; “but whom have we left to go hunting?”
“To be sure, they are all off to the war,” said Thomas. “It’s a pity — a great pity.”
“And is there any fresh news?” asked Gwen.
“None that I’ve heard of, Miss. But are you come to meet anyone?”
Gwen jumped to the ground.
“My brother, Mr. Thomas, and a friend of his.”
She walked onto the platform and looked south along the line of rails. The refrain of an old song came into her mind — “Somebody’s coming”; and she sang it, and then checked herself.
“He’s only interesting,” she declared. “And how I can sing, with Clarry so ill and miserable, and the courteous Demon having it all her own way, I don’t know.”
But war or none, and winter or none, the heart’s blood has its way and youth its song. She sang again, and then saw the distance signal drop, just as a white cloud as big as a child’s hand rose above a clump of polled willows far down the line. The rails shone in the gleaming sun; every hedge was white save where red holly-berries yet clustered. And then the train swept nearer and the home-signal arm said, “Yes, come on!” and the locomotive was visible. It rushed onward, opening out and growing larger, and then swept past her with a roar as the brake-blocks ground harsh music and the sparks flew from the icy rails that now were hot. In another moment she saw Tom’s head at a window; ten seconds later his youthful moustache brushed her cheek, and she was shaking hands with Gordon Hardy as if they were very old friends.
“If you’ve much luggage Thomas will get it sent up. If you’ve little I’ll take it,” she cried, as her cheeks glowed.
“It’s a three-days’ trip only,” said Hardy, “and I can carry all mine.”
But Tom was encumbered. He had not travelled and learned how little a man may do with. He found a trap, but no man to drive it. In ten minutes Hardy, who was something of an organizer, had Tom and his load in one vehicle and was off with Gwen by himself.
“Will you drive?” she asked.
“I prefer to see you working,” he declared, “unless you want to see me.”
She touched up the horse and shot out of the station at ten miles an hour. The hard road rang, and the keen air smote her glowing face. Decidedly, with the sun shining and a clear way, it was a very good world in spite of Mrs. Middleton and Clarry’s woes.
“How have you been these two years?” asked Hardy.
“Fighting,” said Gwen.
He laughed, and their eyes met.
“Then you are not better friends? Tell me all about it.”
Gwen was usually self-contained. Clarry, though her sister, was not a friend. She had no confidant, and needed none. What sorrows she might have she kept to herself, and the world was none the wiser. She did not even talk much, and now, suddenly and for the first time in her life, she opened her mouth to a man whom she had seen two years before and with whom she had then exchanged but a hundred words.
She told Hardy about the Demon, and denounced her in set terms. And all about Clarry, and about Ned Blake, who was in Pretoria as a prisoner. And about her father, and about Tom’s future, if indeed he had any. And about herself. As she talked she drove fast and drove with skill. Hardy noticed how she held the reins, crossed in her palm with her knuckles up. When they slipped a little she shifted her grip just as she should have done. He knew how to drive himself, and liked doing it. But if he had done so she would not have talked. She was restraining the horse and letting herself go. When she pulled up she would be surprised at herself. He knew that.
“Oh, it’s a shame,” said Gwen, “a horrid shame. She is really a bully, Mr. Hardy, but her manners are just splendid — almost always. And she wants to rule for the sake of it. If she finds anyone wants anything her nature makes her want the other. And it’s no use in the world being clever with her, — for I’ve tried it. For instance, let us say we are going out for a drive, — and I do go with her sometimes, to please the governor. If I want to drive through Cowley I will suggest we go to Horton. And then she looks at me and says, ‘Very well, we will go to Horton,’ — and I’m done, of course. I believe she can read all inside me, and I feel like a glass house. Do you believe in that?”
“Of course I do,” said Hardy. “It’s what people call thought-reading. They think it difficult, and yet all the world does it. Some are better at it than others, — your stepmother is perhaps very good at it. She trusts her intuition. Do you trust yours?”
Gwen shook her head.
“I’m not sure I have any. Have you?”
“What advice do you want me to give you?” asked Hardy, looking straight ahead of him.
“Oh,” said Gwen, with a start, “how do you know I am going to ask your advice?”
Hardy laughed quietly and looked at her with a bright glance that was shrewd in an extraordinary degree.
“I’ve learned to trust my intuitions,” he said. “What do you want to do?”
“I want to beat the Demon,” said Gwen, “and I want to get Blake out of Pretoria, and I want him to marry Clarry. She’s as weak and silly as a girl in the stories of last century, and Ned Blake is big and strong and will look after her. Jim Carruthers is all right with horses and with women that are like my stepmother. He’ll never be happy unless he’s henpecked. And how am I to do it all?”
“I’ll think of it,” said Hardy, and they lapsed into silence.
If Gwen had been well and happy enough before, in spite of those troubles which were really not her own, she was doubly happy now. No man who is accustomed to rely on himself knows what a strain it is till someone else takes up his burden for a time. And with a woman the relief is a hundredfold greater. She found herself saying it would now be all right. Why, she did not know. Hardy could have told her.
“I’ll tell her, before I go, why she trusts me,” he said. “Why not?”
He had not the least dread or shyness of any woman, and never had. It was the proper thing for a youth to be shy, he had heard. It might be normal, but if so he was abnormal. The notion of being shy was absurd: he saw into their minds. They were good or bad or indifferent, in varying degrees. The good were pleasing to watch; the bad were interesting to study; the indifferent were delightful to play upon. After all, much of humanity was indifferent and could be made anything. And here was a girl who was clear as crystal to his gaze.
“The dear!” said Hardy, and he knew how angry she would be if she knew how crystal-like she was to him.
“I’ll think it out, Miss Middleton. And just one word. You are going to dislike me.”
“Why do you say that? I like you all right.”
“It will be more or less than all right,” said Gordon Hardy to himself as they drove through Cowley.
“If you’ll tell me what to do I shall be very grateful,” said Gwen, with carefully constructed aloofness.
“Thanks!” cried Hardy in a queer dry tone. And suddenly he turned to her.
“Shake hands!” he said.
They shook hands.
“What an absurd creature you are!” said Gwen, — and they did not speak till they reached Cowley House half an hour ahead of Tom.
“I wonder what a man like him can see in Tom,” said Gwen. It half occurred to her that he really saw nothing in Tom at all. But then — all these two years — oh, that was impossible, she declared, as she shook her head. But, somehow, something was different!
Dinner at Cowley House was usually a dull enough function, for Mrs. Middleton talked little and her husband not at all, while if Gwen was glum, Clarry was mum-chance and hardly opened her mouth even to put anything into it. When Jim Carruthers came in she was like a faded lily in dry glass. But to-night everything was different. Gordon Hardy ran the table, and he ran it with such complete discretion that he might have been a stage manager of forty years’ successful experience. How he knew, Gwen could not understand, but he got on everyone’s weak side. The windy side of argument he eluded like a seaman; he poured oil on troubled waters, and made dinner a feast. Mrs. Middleton twice laughed distinctly and smiled beyond the powers of numbering. Oddly enough her one real interest was farming, and Hardy talked about a new method of growing onions.
“He positively raised eighteen tons to the acre, Mrs. Middleton,” he declared with the warmest interest. “How he did it I can hardly tell you, but he had the sense to see (as you see) that land is nothing but matter meant to hold fertilizers. If one understands that, he has the secret of modem successful farming.”
He talked “dog” to her father, and gave him the address of a man in Ireland who had some perfectly splendid Irish setters for sale at a ridiculously low price.
He promised to show Jim Carruthers how to make a horse lie down without more gear than a headstall.
He found a quiet moment to describe Pretoria to Clarry, and the girl brightened up like a watered flower.
He told stories which were fresh even to his admiring friend Tom, who naturally imagined he knew the man’s repertoire.
And when the conversation became general, — as it did when he wanted it to, — he retired like a stage manager and looked on. He made Gwen look on too, and she felt that she was his accomplice.
“Now, didn’t I say he was a clever chap?” said Tom. “Bless you, he’s always just as good.”
And next morning at seven he found Gwen in the garden. He was as fresh as paint, though he had been up till two o’clock playing billiards with her father.
“You breakfast at nine. We have time for a walk. Will you come?” he asked.
And Gwen went with him on the hard high road to Horton.
“You wonder, I daresay, why I didn’t go to the war, Miss Middleton?” he said when they were outside the garden.
“I did wonder,” said Gwen. “But perhaps you like the Boers.”
She did not think he did.
“Well, I do,” said Hardy. “The Boers are first-rate savages and very decent chaps, and it’s a great pity Kruger and his Hollanders ever led them into such a mess. I really should not have liked to kill any of them I met, and besides, the reason I didn’t go was partly because I didn’t want to get killed myself.”
“That’s nonsense,” cried Gwen indignantly; “as if you were afraid!”
“No, I don’t suppose I was afraid. But I’ve been shot at more or less in the interests of the Empire before, when I was at Nupe, up the Niger, and I thought it was someone else’s turn. Be sides, this war has given a lot of chaps a chance to see things and to suffer for their country who mostly couldn’t get the chance. They had no money. I have just a little, and it wouldn’t have been fair for me to steal the chance of a chap who hadn’t. Besides——”
“I’ll tell you before we get back to breakfast,” said Hardy. “In the meantime, what do you want to do? I suppose you want to euchre Mrs. Middleton and that duffer Carruthers. Why doesn’t your sister pluck up and give him the mitten?”
“She can’t,” said Gwen sorrowfully. “Don’t you see she’s as weak as water?”
“I really haven’t much sympathy for the weak,” he declared. “But what would you like me to do?”
Gwen stopped dead and looked at him. He turned and faced her.
“What would you like me to do?” repeated Hardy.
“I —— I —— only wanted your advice,” stammered Gwen.
Hardy walked on and she followed.
“Advice is rot,” said Hardy. “But I’ll give it you. Go and get this Blake’s release from Pretoria. Or send your sister to him!”
Gwen stopped again and stamped on the ground.
“Mr. Hardy, you are mad. What nonsense! How can I do either?”
“You must,” said Hardy, shrugging his shoulders; “if you don’t, your sister will marry Carruthers.”
“Oh, it will break Ned’s heart!” cried Gwen. “And he is the dearest chap, worth a countyful of Jim.”
“You see I don’t know him,” he said, “but I’ve seen your sister and your mother and Jim. I’m telling you what will happen.”
“How do you know?”
Hardy made an impatient gesture.
“My dear Miss Middleton, how can I tell you how I know? But your sister is clay in the hands of the potter, and this particular potter is very good at her business. You must get Blake home.”
“I’d rather kill Clarry than let her marry a man who will neglect her in a week, and then ——”
“And then ——”
But Gwen flushed uncomfortably, and Hardy did not ask her to finish the sentence. He finished it himself. Jim would come dangling at the Demon’s apron-strings. It was tolerably easy to see.
“Very well,” he said, “don’t you worry. I believe I’ve got an idea. Your stepmother shan’t have her own way, even if I have to get Jim Carruthers doing some trick with horses which will break his neck. I never saw so suggestible a man.”
And Gwen, who was burning to know what his idea was, asked what “suggestible” meant.
“It means that he will do what one suggests. He could be hypnotized easily, — that’s all. But most people are suggestible in varying degrees. You are not so easy to influence. Might I venture to ask if you were ever in love?”
From a thousand men the question would have been impertinence. From Hardy it was a scientific question, and, though Gwen gasped a little, she shook her head without visible indignation.
“Ah,” said Hardy. “Now it’s a remarkable fact, and one which few will believe, but up to twenty-seven I had not the faintest idea of what being in love meant.”
Up to twenty-seven! Gwen began to think.
“I’m twenty-nine now,” said her companion.
And then Gwen knew.
“It is a fact,” went on Hardy with the utmost coolness, “and all the novels and so on were so much folly to me. And when my friends came raving joyfully to me about someone whom they meant to marry, or raving gloomily about someone who wouldn’t marry them, I used to think they were qualifying for a lunatic asylum. It was very odd.”
“Of course,” said Gwen.
“I’m telling you this — oh, shall we turn? — I’m telling you this, Miss Middleton, because I now want to marry.”
“Ah — yes,” said Gwen.
“And — perhaps it may startle you, but I want to marry you,” said Hardy quietly, without looking at her. She stopped dead, and then walked on fast.
“Of course,” said Hardy, keeping at a respectful distance from her, “this may seem sudden and unconventional. But I never was conventional, that I know of; and as to its being sudden, I may as well say I had made up my mind to ask you before I lifted you across that pool in the lane. Do you remember that?”
“So it’s not really sudden,” said the lover. “The only real difficulty I had in my mind was whether I was justified in asking you. You see I have only five hundred a year and no great prospects. I am promised a good consulship in the Mediterranean, though, and from what Tom said I know you will not be penniless. I should like you to think it over.”
And he walked on by her side. She was speechless and thunderstruck. Whether it was winter or not, she did not know. If it had been the middle of summer she could not have been warmer. The whole earth was shaken. If the sky had fallen, if the trees had walked, — these unlikely and prodigious phenomena would not have startled her greatly. And the real reason of her surprise was not the unheard-of manner of the proposal; not the lover’s cool and queer audacity; not the hour and the season, — though it certainly was not a common thing to be proposed to at eight o’clock in the morning in a hard frost on a highway. The real reason of her surprise was that she had been choking down an intrusive thought ever since she met him that morning in the garden. Something — herself and not herself — that she did not understand had been asking her, with the pertinacity of a recurrent insistent dream, whether, if she ever married, she would like to marry a man of Hardy’s stamp. That imagination which is not individual, but racial and human, which deals with the future and those unborn, had been busy within her. And now, suddenly, she, the individual, was face to face with the problem that all the world shared with her. Had he known? How did he know? Had he read her heart, seen it vacant, determined to storm it?
As she walked he read her, saw the storm and the surprise, knew the conflict, and felt joyful.
“Oh!” said Gwen; and then the world shook and shivered through a tear that fell and was not followed. She saw him and herself apart; saw them with eyes not her own; and, in the trance that was the trance of a moment, imagined him kiss her. She revolted — struggled — yielded — and was again Gwen Middleton at eight o’clock in a black frost on a bright morning, coming back from Horton.
“Have I hurt you?” asked Hardy.
“Oh, no,” said Gwen, with a strange accent of lamentation in her voice. Was it good-bye to the past?
“Ah, my dear, I love you,” said her lover.
“No — no, you mustn’t,” cried Gwen. “Oh, if you please, don’t. I ——”
And then she weakened and cried. He took her hand.
“Look, Gwen,” he said, “don’t cry. I meant to marry you two years ago — if I could. And I’ve thought of you ever since, and I know you have thought of me. Now I understand what was a puzzle to me. But I won’t ask you for an answer. I’ll show you I can do something for you, though it’s not much.”
“Oh, what?” asked Gwen.
“I’ll settle things as you want them. I’ll go and fetch your sister’s lover, if, when I bring him, I may bring you yours.”
Silence fell between them, and the silence was broken only by a blackbird’s whistle.
“I can’t ——”
“You can’t promise,” said Hardy. “No, you shan’t promise, — I won’t let you. I’ll make no bargain. Clarry shall have her lover, if it can be managed. Do you forgive me now?”
She tried to speak and could not. Then she nodded and at last said — “Yes.”
But she had nothing to forgive, if indeed so great an astonishment as lies in the sudden performance of a miracle does not require an apology. Her mind was in confusion; she lost touch with present reality, was aware of a world beyond a veil, and, as in a strange dream, stretched out to touch something that she saw, and found nothing. And again, where nothing had been, realities grew; it was as though she had come out of a mist upon meadows of narcissus. What she had thought of love in her youth (which was yesterday and a thousand years ago) was childish. It had seemed wonderful and desirable. Now, for all its beauty, it held elements of terror, of repulsion. He, the lover, had indeed lifted her across the pool, across a river, over a sea, into a land where she walked in such solitude, so far from all she knew, that she was compelled to turn to him for aid, for comfort, for companionship.
For such an uprooting she could have turned upon him with anger; for such gifts she could have knelt.
He followed her mind in triumph, and was pitiful and proud. His own illusions covered him, and he, too, strode upon magic ground. She was so infinitely desirable, so sweet, so strong, so brave. She had been in his mind for two years, and he had pictured her surrender. Now that she did not surrender, but only gave a half promise that was even more enticing, she was lovelier still. It was a world to live in. The sun shone and the heavens were blue. He felt like a giant, and could have undertaken the tasks of Hercules in a new day of heroes.
But they came back to the hour of little things.
“How will you do it?” she asked suddenly, as they saw the smoke of her home above the elms about the house.
“It can be done,” he said. For indeed what could not be done when Love illumined the path? “Let me have a talk with your sister. Poor dear! I’ll love her too. May I, Gwen?”
“Yes, yes,” said Gwen. What would she feel now when he was gone? Partly it would be a relief, though why she knew not, and yet a greater sorrow than she had known. Did Clarry feel like that about Ned? She could not feel like it, or she would be strong, — strong and fearless, fearful only for him.
“Now, you trust me, don’t you?” said the lover, and Gwen nodded.
“To-morrow I’ll start for Africa ——”
She turned to him with alarm.
“—— for Pretoria.”
“But you are an Englishman. How will you get there?”
Hardy rubbed his hands. She noticed that they were long and lean and brown.
“It can be done. I have many friends there. And a public war does not always break private friendships. Trust me, I’ll get there. But if I should get him out, by evasion or persuasion, on parole, you must then do what I ask. I mean with regard to your sister.”
She looked up.
“Supposing I can get him out on a very strict parole, he might be able to return to England. But if I should procure his escape only, he will have to return to his regiment. You must keep me informed as to how things go. Perhaps I might ask you to bring her to South Africa.”
“Oh!” said Gwen, and her eyes sparkled. Romance clothed the day; she sped beyond great seas, stood, up on the great southward. Cape and saw the Empire. “Oh, could I?”
“Why not? But only if it is necessary. Gwen, shake hands.”
She put her hand in his shyly. Then the tears sprang to her eyes.
“Oh, I oughtn’t to ask you to go.”
“You haven’t asked. I want to go.”
Why could she not ask him something difficult? This was easy if it would win her. He could have undertaken to pull the autocrat of all the Russias from his throne. Illusion ruled him too. The earth itself was too little to give her.
And overhead the rooks cawed in the dry, bleak sunshine. In another moment they were back in the world whence they had but just now issued. The cadence of the overture of their story echoed in their hearts, but their voices took on other tones, and Hardy spoke to the Demon in courteous accents of the Horton road. If he exaggerated its beauties who shall blame him? Mrs. Middleton thought him rather given to hyperbole, but did not guess the cause of his artistic intoxication.
After breakfast Hardy caught Gwen alone for a moment.
“Tell your sister that I have to go to Africa on private business and that I go at once. She must say nothing about it to anyone. I was going to stay here three days, but I’ll go to-day. She must give me a letter to Blake. But it mustn’t come out in any way that I’m going there; especially not to Pretoria. Do you understand?”
“You can see her in the library just before lunch,” she said hurriedly. “My stepmother is lunching over at Horton with the Dunstables and won’t be back till four.”
Then Tom claimed Hardy and they went off on bicycles through Cowley.
“I want to send a telegram,” said Hardy, as they reached the village. “There is something I forgot.”
But what he wired he did not say. Rightly distrusting the discretion of country officials, he put it in French.
“Now it’s done,” he told himself, and as he rode through the intense frost and fine upland air his mind worked bravely on a possibly impossible scheme. Tom found him rather silent, but did not know that he was interviewing Dr. Leyds in Brussels and getting a pass to Pretoria, and was once more having a talk under strange conditions with President Kruger at his house in Church Street.
“I don’t see why it can’t be done,” said Hardy. “And even if it can’t, I’ll do it!”
By the time they reached home his scheme was in working order. He found a telegram for him. Gwen gave it him on the steps. It read:
He read it out.
“Oh, must you?” asked Tom in a voice of disappointment.
“I must,” said Hardy.
“What a beastly shame. Whom is it from?”
“From a friend of mine,” said Hardy. “I sometimes act as a kind of King’s Messenger to a big political Johnny I mayn’t mention. I’ll pack; there is a train at four, isn’t there?”
“Yes,” said Tom.
“Then you’ll arrange for my catching it?”
And when Tom had sworn a little he went round to the stables.
“You’ll find Clarry in the library,” said Gwen. “I’ve told her nothing.”
So Hardy went into the library and found Miss Middleton.
“By the way,” he said cheerfully, after he had made a few casual remarks upon nothing, “I have to go to South Africa, and I want to know if I can take any letters for you. Anything I take will be sure to reach its destination, which is more than can be said for letters going by Delagoa Bay.”
“Oh, yes, I shall be glad if you will take one for me,” she said in visible agitation.
“I will,” cried Hardy, “but I don’t want it mentioned that I am going. I got a telegram just now telling me to start, but the message said Brussels. I may take Brussels in the way, but it meant South Africa really.”
“I won’t tell anyone,” said Clarry as she sat down to the desk.
“Your sister knows,” said Hardy. “But that’s all. I shall leave at half-past three, so there is no hurry, Miss Middleton.”
He found Gwen outside.
“I’ve only said I’m going out and have offered to take a letter. If you think it well you may tell her why I have gone. Or you may say that I had to go and meant to try and do something for Blake if I could. It’s not well to excite her too much.”
And Gwen agreed.
They stood by the door as Clare opened it.
“I’ll write upstairs,” she said to them.
“Come inside for a minute,” said Hardy. And when he had closed the door he stammered a little.
“I want to say good-bye to you,” he said. “I shan’t get another chance. Oh, how many years have I known you?”
And then something that was stronger than death took hold of Gwen and sent her suddenly into her lover’s arms.
“You’ll come back?”
“Oh, Gwen, I’ll come back,” he said, shaking. “I’ll come back.”
“Good-bye, dear, good-bye,” said Gwen. “What you ask I will do.”
“If I send for you?”
“I will come.”
And they spoke no more.
* As she talked she drove fast and drove with skill. Hardy noticed how she held the reins, crossed in her palm with her knuckles up. When they slipped a little she shifted her grip just as she should have done. — This is apparently some English fetish. James Bond is always noticing how women drive, too.
* “It’s what people call thought-reading. They think it difficult, and yet all the world does it.” — Note that Morley Roberts also wrote science fiction, sometimes with the theme of thought-reading.
RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION: “Radium Age” is HiLobrow’s name for the 1904–33 era, which saw the discovery of radioactivity, the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. This era also saw the publication of genre-shattering writing by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon, Karel Čapek, H.P. Lovecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Philip Gordon Wylie, and other pioneers of post-Verne/Wells, pre-Golden Age “science fiction.” More info here.
READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.
SERIALIZED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | Helen MacInnes’s The Unconquerable |
Geoffrey Household’s Watcher in the Shadows | William Haggard’s The High Wire | Hammond Innes’s Air Bridge | James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen | John Buchan’s “No Man’s Land” | John Russell’s “The Fourth Man” | E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” | John Buchan’s Huntingtower | Arthur Conan Doyle’s When the World Screamed | Victor Bridges’ A Rogue By Compulsion
ORIGINAL FICTION: HiLobrow has serialized three novels: James Parker’s The Ballad of Cocky The Fox (“a proof-of-concept that serialization can work on the Internet” — The Atlantic); Karinne Keithley Syers’s Linda Linda Linda (which includes original music); and Robert Waldron’s roman à clef The School on the Fens. We also publish original stories and comics. These include: Matthew Battles’s stories “Gita Nova“, “Makes the Man,” “Imago,” “Camera Lucida,” “A Simple Message”, “Children of the Volcano”, “The Gnomon”, “Billable Memories”, “For Provisional Description of Superficial Features”, “The Dogs in the Trees”, “The Sovereignties of Invention”, and “Survivor: The Island of Dr. Moreau”; several of these later appeared in the collection The Sovereignties of Invention | Peggy Nelson’s “Mood Indigo“, “Top Kill Fail“, and “Mercerism” | Annalee Newitz’s “The Great Oxygen Race” | Charlie Mitchell’s “A Fantasy Land” | Joshua Glenn’s “The Lawless One”, and the mashup story “Zarathustra vs. Swamp Thing” | Adam McGovern and Paolo Leandri’s Idoru Jones comics | John Holbo’s “Sugarplum Squeampunk” | “Another Corporate Death” (1) and “Another Corporate Death” (2) by Mike Fleisch | Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer and Frank Fiorentino’s graphic novel “The Song of Otto” (excerpt) | John Holbo’s graphic novel On Beyond Zarathustra (excerpt) | “Manoj” and “Josh” by Vijay Balakrishnan | “Verge” by Chris Rossi, and his audio novel Low Priority Hero | EPIC WINS: THE ILIAD (1.408-415) by Flourish Klink | EPIC WINS: THE KALEVALA (3.1-278) by James Parker | EPIC WINS: THE ARGONAUTICA (2.815-834) by Joshua Glenn | EPIC WINS: THE MYTH OF THE ELK by Matthew Battles | TROUBLED SUPERHUMAN CONTEST: Charles Pappas, “The Law” | CATASTROPHE CONTEST: Timothy Raymond, “Hem and the Flood” | TELEPATHY CONTEST: Rachel Ellis Adams, “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” | OIL SPILL CONTEST: A.E. Smith, “Sound Thinking | LITTLE NEMO CAPTION CONTEST: Joe Lyons, “Necronomicon” | SPOOKY-KOOKY CONTEST: Tucker Cummings, “Well Marbled” | INVENT-A-HERO CONTEST: TG Gibbon, “The Firefly” | FANFICTION CONTEST: Lyette Mercier’s “Sex and the Single Superhero”