23 August 2013

Review: The Diamond Lens and Other Stories by Fitz-James O'Brien

Trade paperback, 132 pages
Published 2011 (originally 1858-59)
Acquired January 2012
Read October 2012
The Obverse Quarterly, Book Three: The Diamond Lens and Other Stories 
by Fitz-James O'Brien

I'm glad this book exists: "The Diamond Lens" is a magnificent short story and deserved to have been reprinted more (the others here I can take or leave), with an obsessed scientist and a strange new life-form. But this Obverse Books edition could have been done much better; there are many errors of typesetting, including that the type fluctuates in size between stories, and chapter headings are done inelegantly at best. The cover is attractive, but with these interiors, you should probably just stick to Project Gutenberg.

1 comment:

  1. I ran the story with some extensive commentary on Fantastic Worlds at:


    One interesting aspect of the story is that for its age it was mostly hard science-fiction. In 1858 no one knew about subatomic structure, let alone quantum mechanics, and spiritualism was thought to be roughly as plausible as is, say, telepathy today. There was no particular reason known to the science of 1858 why what Linley did should have been impossible.