Prospero’s Isle

Latest articles

  • "Humans, Go Home!" (1969) by A. E. van Vogt

    by A. E. van Vogt

    Miliss and Dav are the only two humans on the Jana planet, and their mission is to help the population evolve progressively towards a more advanced state of civilization, more compatible with the ultra-developed nature of the rest of the human-controlled galaxy. But there are big problems, not (...)

  • "The Universe Maker" (1953) by A. E. van Vogt

    by A. E. van Vogt

    We are in 1953 and Lieutenant Morton Cargill is on leave from the Korean War when he stumbles into a young woman who is also leaving the dive he has been binge-leavng in. The next thing he knows is that he’s running away from a car crash that the young acquaintance hasn’t survived. However, when (...)

  • "The Golden Pot" (1814) by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    An extravagant fairy-tale for grown-ups, the story of how the student Anselmus blundered his way to eternal happiness through a maze of mysterious not to say magical water-snakes, elder-trees, a golden pot and fantastic events of all sorts — one of the celebrated master of German Romanticism E. (...)

  • "Little Zaches, called Zinnober" (1819) by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    by E. T. A. Hoffmann

    Little Zaches is a very small, misshapen, evil-tempered, utterly selfish and vainglorious little boy who’s a complete burden to his poverty-stricken mother, until one day the kindly Fräulein von Rosenschön — actually the Fairy Rosabelverde in the shape of the mistress of a convent — takes pity on (...)

  • "The War of the Worlds" (1898) by H. G. Wells

    by H. G. Wells

    This was, we do believe, the first novel on the theme of conflict with alien civilisations in the history of literature.
    It has remained justly famous for its dramatic story line — the invading Martians have superior tecHnology and are more advanced scientifically than mankind — and its (...)

  • "The Metamorphosis" (1915) by Franz Kafka

    by Franz Kafka

    One of the strangest stories of its time, a moving account of Gregor Samsa’s sudden transformation into a giant beetle that has retained his sensibility and understanding — but not the ability to express himself in ordinary language that his family can understand — and how he has to contend with (...)

  • More of A. E. van Vogt’s best late-period stories

    by A. E. van Vogt

    1. RESEARCH ALPHA (1965) A ruthless doctor in a research lab secretly tries out his new serum for accelerating evolutionary development on two unsuspecting office workers, with variable but amazing results, astounding even the superiorly-intelligent aliens who are monitoring the lab’s results — (...)

  • "Waiting for the Barbarians" (1904) by Constantin Cavafy

    by Constantin Cavafy

    Constantin Cavafy (1863-1933) , who lived all his life in the ancient Greek community in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the most important poets of modern times.
    His legacy has been celebrated by writers and poets around the world, notably by Laurence Durell in his monumental Alexandria Quartet (...)

  • "The Time Machine" (1895) by H. G. Wells

    by H. G. Wells

    H. G. Wells (1866-1946) was a prolific author in many diverse domains (novels, short stories, social commentary, history, satire and biography) and a very engaged social commentator and critic. He was nominated four times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
    But he is best remembered today for (...)

  • "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" (1865) by Lewis Carroll

    by Lewis Carroll

    Written in 1862 by the Oxford lecturer in mathematics Charles Dodgson (1832-1898) to amuse Alice Liddell, one of the daughters of the dean of his Christ Church faculty, this brilliant, inventive, very original and very funny tale gained immediate world-wide attention when it was published in (...)

  • "The Overcoat" (1843) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    The story of Akaky Akakiyevich, an administrative assistant in a government office, who is constantly treated with arrogance and mockery by one and all, particularly on account of his threadbare coat that is falling apart to such an extent that it cannot even be repaired. When, at the price of (...)

  • "Dead Souls" (1842) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    The account of the not-always-successful attempts of the traveling schemer Chichikov to make his way in the world by ingratiating himself with important people and devising complicated schemes to achieve financial and social success by wile and charm — notably to purchase deceased surfs (“dead (...)

  • "The Portrait" (1842) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    An impoverished painter finds an unusual portrait in a market shop that he buys for 20 kopecs, and finds on cleaning it that the piercing gaze of the mysterious man in the portrait has a bizarrely ominous effect on him and on his whole life — and indeed on all those who possess it in turn.
    One (...)

  • "The Nose" (1836) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    The adventures of a government official in search of his nose, that’s apparently gone off on adventures of its own.
    Recounted in a semi-serious, semi-farcical tone, this imaginative, very original tale with a light, fantastic touch effortlessly sweeps the reader along wondering with Major (...)

  • "The Diary of a Madman" (1835) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    Extracts from the diary of an employee in a government office, documenting his frustrations with the rigid hierarchical system of his time, his aspirations for recognition, his libertarian impulses, his infatuation with the director’s daughter, his dreams of grandeur, his persecution complex and (...)

  • "Nevsky Prospect" (1835) by Nikolai Gogol

    by Nicolai Gogol

    Nevsky Prospect in Saint Petersburg is one of the most famous streets in Russia and this account by Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852) of the goings-on in and around it is one of the most famous stories of all Russian literaature.
    Combining an elegant evocation of Saint Petersburg, that magnificent (...)

  • "Nineteen Eighty Four" by George Orwell (1949)

    by George Orwell

    One of the most famous novels of its time and certainly the best-known and most widely-read science-fiction novel of all time, Nineteen Eighty Four is an extrapolation some forty years into the future of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union — that had just been extended to a significant part (...)

  • "Animal Farm" (1945) by George Orwell

    by George Orwell

    This brilliant parable describes in simple, clear and convincing terms the revolt of the animals in an English farm that at first succeeds in establishing an egalitarian society only to evolve relentlessly into an system of oppression under the leadership of a small group of intelligent, (...)

  • "Homage to Catalonia" (1938) by George Orwell

    by George Orwell

    George Orwell, a convinced left-wing socialist, went to Barcelona in December 1936 to join the forces in Catalonia fighting against the military uprising led by the General Franco. He joined the extreme-left party P.O.U.M. there and spent six months on duty in their section of the front line (...)

  • "Down and Out in Paris and London" (1933) by George Orwell

    by George Orwell

    George Orwell (1903-1950) was a passionate defender all his life of the underdogs in the society of his time, and in spite of his background as a member of the upper middle class — he was well educated and spoke with a „posh“ accent — spent several years in his late twenties working as a dishwasher (...)

  • Great music

    by Ray

    A selection of musical texts and interpretaions of the very highest level of artistic inspiration. Date Composer Work/Movement_______ Artist(s) Label time Comments________________________ 1 1708 Bach Cantate BWV 106 "Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit"/ Chœur Süddeutscher Madrigalchor & (...)

  • "The Mind Cage" (1957) by A. E. van Vogt

    by A. E. van Vogt

    A brilliant scientist has been condemned to death for suggesting that the collectivist social system of the government that’s on the verge of taking over control of the entire world needs to be seriously called into question, and when his close friend comes to deliver the verdict to him he (...)

  • "Dombey and Son" (1846) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    After the huge popular successes of his first four novels and the lukewarm reception by the mass public of the next two, but encouraged by the success of his Christmas Carol stories published in 1843, Dickens raised his sights and clearly aimed at impressing the arbiters of literary good taste, to show them just what he could do.

    Dombey and Son thus flows at a calmer, more sedate pace than any of his previous works, with more attention to atmosphere and psychology and with somewhat (...)

  • "Bleak House" (1853) by Charles Dickens

    by Charles Dickens

    A blockbuster of a book [1], with what was for Dickens a big theme — the incredibly antiquated and abstruse, bureaucratic procedures involved in property legislation via the time-hallowed Chancery Law courts.
    Today the very lengthy satire about the inefficiencies of that antiquated system has (...)