The Gadfly

The Gadfly

Ethel Voynich

Set in 1840s Italy, which at the time was under the dominance of Austria, The Gadfly centres on the life of the protagonist, Arthur Burton, a member of the Youth movement, and his antagonist Padre Montanelli. Arthur becomes a journalist, expounding radical ideas in brilliant satirical tracts published under the pseudonym “the gadfly”. The local authorities are soon dedicated to capturing him…

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Armageddon 2419 A.D.

Armageddon 2419 A.D.

Philip Francis Nowlan

Armageddon 2419 A.D. features the introduction of Anthony ‘Buck’ Rogers, the famous sci-fi adventure hero of early comics, radio, and tv shows. Originally published in Amazing Stories in 1928, this novella was later combined with Nowlan’s sequel, The Airlords of Han, and re-published under this same title in the 1960s. In Armageddon 2419 A.D., we follow Buck Rogers and his mysterious transportation to far-future…

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The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin

George MacDonald

A children’s fantasy novel that tells the story of 8 year old Princess Irene. She lives a lonely life in a castle in a mountainous kingdom, with only her nursemaid for company. Her father, the king, is normally absent, and her mother is dead. Unknown to her, the nearby mines are inhabited by a race of goblins, long banished from the kingdom and now anxious to take revenge on their human neighbours.

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A Voyage to Arcturus

A Voyage to Arcturus

David Lindsay

A Voyage to Arcturus is set at Tormance, an imaginary planet orbiting Arcturus, which, in the novel, is a double star system, consisting of stars Branchspell and Alppain. The lands through which the characters travel represent philosophical systems or states of mind, through which the main character, Maskull, passes on his search for the meaning of life.

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Suspiria de Profundis

Suspiria de Profundis

Thomas De Quincey

Considered by some to be the ‘supreme prose fantasy of English literature’, Suspiria de Profundis (‘sighs from the depths’) is a collection of short essays in psychological fantasy. Includes; The Affliction of Childhood; The Palimpsest of the Human Brain; Levana and Our Ladies of Sorrow; The Apparition of The Brocken; and, Savannah-la-Mar.

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The Moon Pool

The Moon Pool

Abraham Merritt

Within the earth’s core, lives an advanced race who have created an offspring. This offspring (the Dweller) gradually turns from good to evil, and at times will rise to the surface of the earth to capture men and women. Scientist Dr Goodwin and pilot Larry O’Keefe follow the Dweller down and O’Keefe finds himself caught between the attentions of two beautiful women; one good, one evil.

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His Masterpiece

His Masterpiece

Emile Zola

Also translated as ‘The Work’, this is the fourteenth novel in the Rougon-Macquart series and tells of the struggles of the protagonist Claude Lantier to paint a great work reflecting his talent and genius. Depicting the bohemian art world of 19th-century Paris, the book explores the rise of Realism, Naturalism and Impressionism in painting, as well as being a fictional account of Zola’s friendship with the French artist Paul Cézanne.

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The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, after losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. She is given to the care of her uncle, whom she has never met, and when she arrives at his house in Yorkshire, she is rude, stubborn, and prone to temper tantrums. However, she undergoes a transformation when she learns of the tragedies…

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On the Shortness of Life

On the Shortness of Life

Seneca

Originally written around 49 AD for his father-in-law Paulinus, Seneca here brings up many Stoic principles on the nature of time, namely that people waste much of it in meaningless pursuits. According to Seneca, nature gives people enough time to do what is really important and it is up to the individual to allot it properly.

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Father Goriot

Father Goriot

Honore de Balzac

Part of the Scènes de la vie privée section of Honore de Balzac’s series La Comédie humaine. Set in Paris in 1819, it follows the intertwined lives of three characters: the elderly doting Goriot; a mysterious criminal-in-hiding named Vautrin; and a naive law student named Eugène de Rastignac.

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Rasselas

Rasselas

Samuel Johnson

Also called ‘The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia’, this is a fable about happiness, telling the story of Rasselas, son of the King of Abyssinia, who is shut up in a beautiful valley called The Happy Valley, “till the order of succession should call him to the throne”.

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