(1660-1731) UK merchant, professional spy and man of letters born Daniel Foe, becoming Defoe in the 1690s after he began to write; the extremely prolific author of many works of various kinds, though the huge canon of unsigned works once attributed to him has been convincingly diminished (to somewhere slightly in excess of 300 titles). He is best known today for his novel The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner (1719) and its sequels [for fuller details, see Checklist], which, while not sf, provided a fundamental model for many sf stories (see Robinsonade). A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), in effect a historical novel set in 1665, a year Defoe could presumably barely remember, is a prototype of the Disaster novel. Some supernatural stories can be found in Tales of Piracy, Crime, and Ghosts (coll 1945), including a reprint of A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs Veal, the Next Day After her Death; to One Mrs Bargrave at Canterbury the 8th of September 1705 (1706 chap), which is in fact more reportage of a claimed sighting than an actual ghost story.
Of interest as an example of Proto SF is The Consolidator: Or, Memoirs of Sundry Transactions from the World in the Moon: Translated from the Lunar Language (1705) [for savagely cut editions under vts 1705 and later, see Checklist] as by The Author of the True-born English Man, the consolidator itself being a mechanical but feathered flying machine whose feathered wings are powered by a Machine fueled by spirits (it is not entirely sure if angels or gin are the spirits in question); it is, in fact, an extremely early – perhaps the first – example of what would later be known as an Airship.Over and above the Consolidator, invented centuries earlier in China in consultation with the inhabitants of the Moon, Inventions proliferate; but they are universally introduced to make satirical points. The Moon itself is identical to Earth, though it does boast one device, a Cogitator which, when sat in, connects one's mind with clarity to the workings of the world, via a system of gears and springs. [JC/PN]
see also: Space Flight.
born London: 13 September 1660
died London: 24 April 1731
- The Consolidator: Or, Memoirs of Sundry Transactions from the World in the Moon: Translated from the Lunar Language (London: Benjamin Bragg, 1705) as by The Author of the True-born English Man [binding unknown/]
- A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs Veal, the Next Day After her Death; to One Mrs Bargrave at Canterbury the 8th of September 1705 (London: Benjamin Bragg, 1706) as by The Author of the True-born English Man [chap: pb/]
- The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who Lived Eight and Twenty Years All Alone on an Un-Inhabited Island on the Coast of America, Near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque (London: W Taylor, 1719) [binding unknown/]
- The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe: Being the Second and Last Part of his Life, and of the Strange Surprizing Account of his Travels Round Three Parts of the Globe (London: W Taylor, 1719) [binding unknown/]
- A Journal of the Plague Year: Being Observations or Memorials of the Most Remarkable Occurrence, as Well Publick as Private, Which Happend in London During the Last Great Visitation in 1665 (London: E Nutt, 1722) [binding unknown/]
- Tales of Piracy, Crime, and Ghosts (New York: Penguin Books, 1945) [coll: pb/]
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