The 1926 satirical sf novel King Goshawk and the Birds, by Irish playwright and novelist Eimar O’Duffy, is set in a future world devastated by progress. When King Goshawk, the supreme ruler among a caste of “king capitalists,” buys up all the wildflowers and songbirds, an aghast Dublin philosopher travels via the astral plane to Tír na nÓg. First the mythical Irish hero Cúchulainn, then his son Cuanduine, travel to Earth in order to combat the king capitalists. Thirty-five years before the hero of Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, these well-meaning aliens discover that cultural forms and norms are the most effective barrier to social or economic revolution.
HiLobrow is pleased to serialize King Goshawk and the Birds, which has long been out of print, in its entirety. A new installment will appear each week.
Chapter 11: How the Universities received the New Evangel
CUANDUINE, however, not yet despairing of his countrymen, and feeling that perhaps something of unpremeditation and of haphazard in his choice of a pulpit might have been a contributing cause of their unwillingness to hearken to his message, by the advice of the Philosopher made announcement in the press and by placard that he would address a public meeting the following Sunday in the Phoenix Park. Thither, accordingly, just before the appointed hour, the pair of them made their way, and having set up a board and trestles as a platform, awaited the arrival of the populace.
Now, when word of the meeting had been brought to the two Universities, namely, the National University of Ireland and the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity near Dublin, it had been resolved by the students of each that the occasion called for action on their part which would be consonant with the character and traditions of those seats of learning. They assembled, therefore, after Divine Service at their respective headquarters, each supplied with ammunition according to his taste: the men of Trinity carrying bad eggs, stink bombs, and slap-bangs; the Nationals having stones, lumps of lead, and rolls of lavatory paper. Marching to the Park Gate the two magnificent bodies of young men met face to face and halted of one accord. Of one accord also the two leaders, George Face, Sen. Mod., B.A., of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, and Patrick Mohone, B.A., of the Sea-divided Gaels, stepped forward and shook hands. It was an historic moment. Mr. Mohone, speaking in a voice that trembled with manly emotion, said that at last the longed-for day had arrived, and two noble colleges, hitherto estranged, stood united in a cause worthy of both. Mr. Face said: “Not at all, old chap. Trinity has always been ready to patronise you fellows if you’d only have given us the chance.” Cheers and embraces followed. Then the whole mass of enthusiastic youth advanced gallantly towards the scene of action.
Cuanduine, sighting them from afar, questioned the Philosopher; and on being informed of their identity was at first inclined to rejoice that the vanguard of his audience should be the alumni of two such venerable seats of religion and learning: but on their nearer approach, discerning the wickedness and folly of their hearts, as also their immediate intention of evil, he was moved to anger that flamed forth immediately from his splendid eyes. At that the further progress of the students was manifestly retarded, in so much that in half a minute they had receded more than two hundred yards. As to the actual sequence of events: whether the holy and undivided men of Trinity, who were in front, were first seized with panic and swept away the sea-divided Gaels in their flight; or whether the latter fled first and the men of Trinity, demoralised by finding themselves without supports, fled after them: on these points historians are divided according to the source from which they draw their salaries. The fact, however, which is beyond dispute is that the students of both seats of learning fled with equal celerity and lack of ceremony, overthrowing and trampling upon one another in their youthful impetuosity, and scrambling over hedges, ditches, stone walls, and barbed wire fences (whereby many limbs and necks were broken and many trousers ripped beyond repair) until they came at length to a place called Malahide, nine miles away, where they were held up by an arm of the sea; into which several in their blind haste were precipitated and perished miserably: in whose regard some historians say that they were men of the National, maintaining that, as these were in the rear of the advance, they must have been in the van of the retreat; while others assert that they were men of Trinity, arguing that these, being in the front at the beginning, must have been the first to take alarm, and had broken clean through the National ranks before the latter were aware of what was happening. Many historians, however, of undoubted repute dismiss both versions, and declare that those who were drowned did not belong to either university, but were only natives of Malahide whom the students threw into the water for scoffing at their plight.
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.
REDISCOVERED 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 | John Buchan’s Huntingtower
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) | “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”