Locating the Victorians

Robert Bud looks at the background to the major conference and displays at the Science Museum.

Strangely, not many noticed how bizarre it was that a piece of Victorian science fiction could provide the basis of fantasy a century later. H.G. Wells’s 1896 account of a doctor attempting to engineer animals into people was still a forbidding nightmare. Again we are living through an era of intellectual and technological change so far-reaching and rapid it is difficult to know what is true or even could be true. Our need to cope with such extraordinary times was paralleled by the experiences of those Victorian worthies now peering down from their ornate frames with an appearance of such certainty, along with those of their poorer, less commemorated contemporaries.

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