(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 under a variety of names (once estimated to exceed 200 in number), though the huge canon of unsigned and pseudonymous works once attributed to him has been convincingly diminished to somewhere slightly in excess of 300 titles in all. 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; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself: With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates: Written by Himself (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/]
- The King of Pirates: Being an Account of the Famous Enterprises of Captain Avery, the Mock King of Madagascar: With his Rambles and Piracies: Wherein all the Sham Accounts Formerly Publish'd of Him, are Detected: In Two Letters from Himself, One During his Stay at Madagascar, And One Since his Escape from Thence (London: A Betteworth et al, 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/]
- A Narrative of All the Robberies, Escapes, &c of John Sheppard: Giving an Exact Description of the Manner of his Wonderful Escape from the Castle in Newgate ... Written by Himself ... to which is Added, a True Representation of his Escape from the Condemn'd Hold (London: John Applebee, 1724) [chap: binding unknown/]
- The True and Genuine Account of the Life and Actions of the Late Jonathan Wild: Not Made up of Fiction and Fable, but Taken from his own Mouth, and Collected from Papers of his own Writing (London: John Applebee, 1725) [chap: binding unknown/]
- Tales of Piracy, Crime, and Ghosts (New York: Penguin Books, 1945) [omni of the two above: plus A True Relation of the Apparition of One Mrs Veal and The King of Pirates above: plus other stories: edited by Carl Withers: pb/uncredited]
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