Paul Alkon analyzes several key works that mark the most significant phases in the early evolution of science fiction, including Frankenstein, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, A Connecticut Yankee in King arthur's Court and The Time Machine. He places the work in context and discusses the genre and its relation to other kinds of literature.
"Anyone looking for a lively, impassioned, and knowledgeable survey of the early texts that helped shape and define . . . science fiction would be well served by seeking out Paul Alkon's informative volume Science Fiction Before 1900: Imagination Discovers Technology. . .Alkon is authoritative and passionate; clearly a lifelong love for SF has guided his research; that love, his excitement at unravelling the evolutive thread of SF's various tropes and shared ideas, and his deep and broad appreciation for the visionary writers who created the most influential early SF texts all combine to create an infectiously enthralling historical narrative. . .The bulk of the book is a cornucopia of SF history, painstakingly researched and vividly and lovingly brought to life - a thrilling and exciting read for those wanting to explore SF's origins." -- Claude Lalumière, Locus Magazine