A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder claimed in our Challenge

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Meta SFFaudio - SFFaudio Contest - Make audiobook win an audiobookRobert A. Graff, a truck driver from Rochester, NY, has accepted our challenge! Bob wrote in to claim A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder by James De Mille, which is of course, one of the titles from our first SFFaudio Make An Audiobook Challenge! Bob is aiming to complete the novel by November 1st, 2007 – that works out to about one chapter per week. As Bob puts it:

“I’ve always been a fan of the more baroque-style SF/horror authors such as Verne, Wells, Bellamy, and Poe. I really enjoy the style of writing and especially the dialogue – far enough in the past that it expresses a romantic era now gone but not old enough that it degenerates into Beowulf.”

A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder was originally serialized in Harper’s Weekly in 1888. The publication was posthumous for its author De Mille, who was variously a professor of classics, rhetoric and history at Canadian universities. De Mille was the son of a United Empire Loyalists and has the distinction of being Canada’s first Science Fiction author. The novel itself has been much admired as a Swiftian satire. The setting for A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder is that of an Antarctic “lost world” inhabited by pre-historic creatures and an insidious death cult. Some have compared it to Edgar Allan Poe’s Narrative of Gordon Pym others to H. Rider Haggard’s She and King Solomon’s Mines or even to Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. The title and locale were likely inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s Ms. Found in a Bottle.

The main story of the novel is the narrative of the adventures of Adam More (keep that last name in mind), a British sailor shipwrecked on the homeward voyage from Tasmania. After More passes through a subterranean tunnel of volcanic origin, he finds himself in a lost world of prehistoric animals, plants and people, all sustained by a natural volcanic heat despite the long Antarctic night (which may remind you of Marvel comic’s Ka-Zar and his “Savage Land”). A secondary plot about the persons who find the manuscript of the title, written by More, and forms the frame for the main narrative. In his strange volcanic world, More finds a highly developed human society comparable to Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, Erewhon by Samuel Butler and Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The copper cylinder’s manuscript describes a society that has reversed the values of Victorian life: wealth is scorned and poverty is revered, death and darkness are preferred to life and light. Rather than accumulating wealth, the natives seek to divest themselves of it as quickly as possible.

Expect to see the wondrous 19th century novel, the only one of this vintage from our Challenge, coming to the LibriVox catalogue by November 2007:Audiobook - A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder by James De Mille

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