Dickens, Charles

Note: This is an older version of this revised entry.

(1812-1870) UK editor and author, almost certainly the greatest novelist in the English language. Dickens wrote considerable fantasy – including most famously A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (1843) – but no sf proper, though Ebenezer Scrooge's vision of Christmas Past is recounted in a manner that comes close to being a direct description of actual Time Travel, being narrated in the third person and presenting him "objectively" as an observed character; as Scrooge himself does not interact with these scenes, it is perhaps more accurate to suggest that he is seeing Christmas Past through a form of Time Viewer. It has also been suggested – for example by John Clute in Horror: 100 Best Books (anth 1988; rev 1992) edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, – that the nightmarish, half futuristic, half chthonic London which figures in several of his later novels was a central influence – via G K Chesterton, Robert Louis Stevenson and others – in the creation of a vision of nineteenth-century urban England (see Cities) that became a stamping-ground for Steampunk. The opening of an almost geological Time Abyss at the beginning of Bleak House (1853), where he imagines "a Megalosaurus ... waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn-hill" in the fog, has become iconic (see Dinosaurs). Like William Morris, Lord Dunsany and J R R Tolkien after him, Dickens is central to the geography of sf.

It is arguable that Mugby Junction: The Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round: Conducted by Charles Dickens (anth 1866 chap), a self-contained volume published as an extra Christmas number of Dickens's magazine All the Year Round, may constitute the first Shared-World anthology of genre interest; the protagonist of Dickens's own "No 1 Branch Line: The Signalman", the most famous story included in this volume, has a premonition of his own death sufficiently detailed to be readable as an early version of sf Precognition. Dickens is also responsible for an early use of the term Scientific Romance, in his review (24 March 1866 Household Words) of Henri de Parville's Un habitant de la planète Mars: roman d'anticipation (1865; trans Brian Stableford as An Inhabitant of the Planet Mars 2008). [JC]

see also: Amnesia; Entropy.

Charles John Huffham Dickens

born Portsmouth, Hampshire: 7 February 1812

died Higham, Kent: 9 June 1870

works (highly selected)

A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas (London: Chapman and Hall, 1843) [Christmas Books: illus/Leech: hb/]

  • The Chimes: A Goblin Story of Some Bells That Rang an Old Year Out and a New Year In (London: Chapman and Hall, 1844) [Christmas Books: hb/]
  • The Cricket on the Hearth: A Fairy Tale of Home (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1846) [Christmas Books: hb/]
  • The Battle of Life: A Love Story (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1846) [Christmas Books: hb/]
  • The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain: A Fancy for Christmas-Time (London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848) [Christmas Books: hb/]
  • works as editor

    about the author

    The critical literature on Dickens, after a slow start, has become immense. A tiny sample is given here, mostly titles by authors otherwise represented in this encyclopedia.


    Website design and build: STEEL

    Site ©2011 Gollancz, SFE content ©2011 SFE Ltd.

    重庆快乐10分技巧 华东15选5专家预测号 陕西快乐10分平台 好股票推荐金股领取 中原风釆22选5走势图 排列3近10期试机号 股票k线图怎么看图 福建11选5前三遗漏 51配资 云南11选5计划 上证指数吧股吧