HORNER, Donald W(illiam)


HORNER, Donald W(illiam)
(1874-?)
   UK astronomer, meteorologist and writer who specialized in popular-science texts. Though published as boys' fiction, By Aeroplane to the Sun: Being the Adventures of a Daring Aviator and his Friends (1910) offers a numerate and complex vision of a high-tech NEAR FUTURE, featuring picturephones, tv and electric cars, and describing the protagonists' usual tour of the Solar System with prescient realism. The ship operates by a kind of ION DRIVE; its inhabitants, some of whom are women, use pressure suits when necessary; and the planets themselves, as well as the cool SUN, offer a wide range of challenges. Their Winged Destiny: Being a Tale of Two Planets (1912; vt The World's Double: Being a Tale of TwoPlanets 1913) expands the scope of the earlier book, sending its astronauts from a possibly doomed Earth to its double in orbit around Alpha Centauri. Both novels demonstrate the speed with which the advanceof science - DWH was of course no amateur - was engendering radical changes in the venues and plotting conventions that went to make up GENRE SF long before the founding of AMAZING STORIES in 1926.
   JC

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.


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