| || Anthropology Applied to the|
American White Man and Negro
by Robert Gilbert Wells
First publication: 14 Apr 1905
I met the amiable and widely read John Clute in New Hampshire in the summer of 2014. He introduced me to this work, which he describes in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction as a satire of race relations in post-Reconstruction America. For the most part, the story takes place as a conversation between a black man, Sam Brown, and his white brother, Boss Jones. As such, it’s a subtle satire, using the “science of Anthropology” to warn us of the laziness of the Negro, the greed of the white man, and the evils of incompatible matings, among other things.
Clute classifies the work as having numerous fantastic elements including when Sam and the author Bob Wells leave their bodies to invisibly view other happenings, at least one small bit of time travel, and the one item that’s of most interest: a potion that changes Mr. Jones into a Negro for the span of a train journey.
Whatever time travel does exist, such as a possible visit by Mr. Jones to 16th century Greece, is subtle compared to the other aspects of the satire.
The doors and windows were opened, Sam and Mr. Jones walked out of the room, then to the depot purchased tickets and started for Chicago, but when the two men arrived at the depot, to Mr. Jones surprise, the ticket agent told him to get out of that waiting room or he would take a club to his head, and that pretty quick.
| || Marooned in 1492, or Under Fortune’s Flag |
by W.W. Cook
First publication: Argosy, Aug-Dec 1905
Two adventurers, Trenwyck and Blinkers, answer a strange ad and eventually find themselves stranded in 1492 without enough of the time-travel corn for the entire party to return, so they send Columbus into the future to procure more of the precious kernels.