Boitard, Pierre

Tagged: Author

(1787-1859) French botanist, geologist and author, whose two works of sf interest are composed for young readers; each title appeared separately in 1830s journals, and was subsequently assembled in revised form in Paris avant les hommes (coll 1861; trans Brian Stableford as Journey to the Sun 2016). The framing narrative, in which a demon conducts a human interlocutor on a guided tour of regions of interest, is shared. "Etudes astronomiques" (1839 Musèe des familles – lectures pour tous; trans Stableford as "Journey to the Sun") is a Fantastic Voyage through the Solar System, each planet unveiling a different stage of Evolution. In Paris avant les hommes [for full title see Checklist below] (title story pub in two parts, June 1836 and November 1837 Musée des familles – lectures pour tous; coll 1861; pp 1-95 trans Stableford as "Paris Before Humankind"), the interlocutor is transported via a metaphorical form of Time Travel to earlier eras, gaining sight of at least one Apes as Human culture. Though there was an Italian translation as early as 1840, the importance of "Paris Before Humankind" as a pioneering work of Prehistoric SF, and as a remarkably prescient vision of evolution through the ages, was obscured until its posthumous French-language release in 1861. [JC]

Pierre Boitard

born Mâcon, Sâone-et-Loire, France: 27 April 1787

died Montrouge, near Paris: 1859

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