A Vue From the Attic: the Space Opera, first part

At the time of Chasseurs de rêves (this link leads to a French speaking website), part of my work was to write overviews of chosen subjects: I was looking for and presenting works fitting with these subjects. I tried to present both the most well known works and less known jewels. I must admit: I liked making these overviews, it made me rummaging in bookshops, media libraries, and find something to surprise readers. Besides, I miss it a bit.

So I decided to start this series, A Vue From the Attic, which will explore the links between fantasy culture on the one hand, and classical and avant-garde cultures on the other hand. This will also allow me to emphasise connections between science and other cultural forms. For a start, I chose a subject that brings me back to the origins of science fiction: space opera. As I have to present works from various media, the most relevant and attractive seemed to do it on video. As web accessibility is essential to me, for the visually impaired, I tried to ensure that the audio track allows getting the essentials. For the hearing impaired, as well as those troubled with my accent, subtitles are available.

With few prides (mainly to have achieved this video), but mostly with some concerns and aware of its limitations, I present to you the first episode of this series of videos:

Vignette: detail from the frontispiece of the original edition of Histoire comique des états et empires du Soleil.


  • The article in which I talk, among other things, of Giordano Bruno and Johannes Kepler;
  • the article in which I explain why I do not have a Facebook account;
  • Crossed, Karim Debbache’s video series on Jeuxvideo.com (videos are French speaking);
  • Λουκιανὸς ὁ Σαμοσατεύς, Ἀληθῆ διηγήματα. An English version in: Lucian of Samosata, 2010. True History, Nabu Press. Available on-line;
  • Johannes Kepler, 1634. Somnium, seu opus posthumum de astronomia lunari. An English version: Johannes Kepler, 1967. Kepler’s Somnium: The Dream, Or Posthumous Work on Lunar Astronomy, Courier Dover Publications;
  • Francis Godwin, 1638. The Man in the Moone or the Discovrse of a Voyage thither by Domingo Gonsales, John Norton, London. It is regularly reprinted, for instance in: Francis Godwin, 2009. The Man in the Moone, ed. William Poole, Broadview;
  • Jonathan Swift, 1726 for the censored version and 1735 for the complete version. Gulliver’s Travels, Benjamin Motte, London. It is regularly reprinted, the version I have used as a reference is: Jonathan Swift, 2003. Gulliver’s Travels, Penguin Classics;
  • Umberto Eco, 1994. L’isola del giorno prima, collana Tascabili, Bompiani. Translated into English by William Weaver: Umberto Eco, 1995. The Island of the Day Before, Secker & Warbug;
  • Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, 1657. Histoire comique des États et Empires de la Lune, Henry Le Bret, Paris. Followed with: Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac, 1662. Histoire comique des États et Empires du Soleil, Charles de Sercy, Paris. An English version: Cyrano de Bergerac, 1965. Other Worlds: The Comical History of the States and Empires of the Moon and the Sun, Oxford University Press. Available on-line;
  • Edmond Rostand, 1898. Cyrano de Bergerac, Librairie Charpentier et Fasquelle, Paris. An English version by Anthony Burgess: Edmond Rostand, 2000. Cyrano de Bergerac, Bantam Classics reissue. Available on-line;
  • Voltaire, between 1750 and 1752. Micromégas, Grangé, Paris. An English version: Voltaire, 2011. Micromegas, Aegypan. Available on-line;
  • John Locke, 1689. An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. It is regularly reprinted, for instance: John Locke, 2015. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: With Thoughts On the Conduct of the Understanding, Sagwan Press. Available on-line;
  • Voltaire, 1734. Traité de métaphysique, Kehl. An English translation: H. Temple Patterson, 1938. Voltaire’s “Traité de Métaphysique”, The Modern Language Review.

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Yoann Le Bars

A researcher and teacher with slightly too many interests to sum this up …

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