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Fire in the Stone: Prehistoric Fiction from Charles Darwin to Jean M. Auel (The Wesleyan Early Classics of Science Fiction Series) by Nicholas Ruddick
Cover Artist: Simon Harmon Vedder
Review by Ernest Lilley
Wesleyan Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780819569004
Date: 30 April 2009 List Price $35.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

If SF asks "Where do we go from here?" PF (prehistoric fiction) asks "How did we get here in the first place?" It's a good question. In fact, it's a great question. The Fire In The Stone takes us on a tour of prehistory in literature, a form that started 150 years ago when Darwin (as well as Daniels and Evans) published their papers on evolution. Before that, Western Civilization operated under the pleasant premise that man had sprung full formed out of whatever womb held him, and any resemblance to other simian's was due solely to deistic humor. Author Nicholas Ruddick gives us an excellent overview of the subject, and in doing so reveals not so much what our lives before history were like, but how our view of man's place in the world has changed over time.

From official release/information:

Product Description: The genre of prehistoric fiction contains a surprisingly large and diverse group of fictional works by American, British, and French writers from the late nineteenth century to the present that describe prehistoric humans. Nicholas Ruddick explains why prehistoric fiction could not come into being until after the acceptance of Charles Darwin's theories, and argues that many early prehistoric fiction works are still worth reading even though the science upon which they are based is now outdated. Exploring the history and evolution of the genre, Ruddick shows how prehistoric fiction can offer fascinating insights into the possible origins of human nature, sexuality, racial distinctions, language, religion, and art. The book includes discussions of well-known prehistoric fiction by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, J.-H. Rosny Aine, Jack London, William Golding, Arthur C. Clarke, and Jean M. Auel and reminds us of some unjustly forgotten landmarks of prehistoric fiction. It also briefly covers such topics as the recent boom in prehistoric romance, notable prehistoric fiction for children and young adults, and the most entertaining movies featuring prehistoric humans. The book includes illustrations that trace the changing popular images of cave men and women over the past 150 years.

(Source: Wesleyan)

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