Francis Bacon’s Utopia of Science and Stanley G. Weinbaum’s SF Stories



Stanley G. Weinbaum was one of the American science fiction writers of the 1920s and 1930s who anticipated virtual reality early in the development of the genre in the United States. The machine in Weinbaum’s science fiction plays a crucial role in the production of virtual space and time. Not only does Weinbaum’s gadgetry function within the domain of spatial alterity, but they also provide temporal escapes in terms of time travel requiring no physical presence on the part of the traveler. But the consequent alterity is not necessarily utopian, as one is usually witness to the destruction or modification of the invented gadget as soon as the utopian plans of the inventor yield dystopian results. Weinbaum appears to have launched an allegorical relationship between the function of the mind and the machine as two agents capable of procuring virtual reality not only as means of escape, but also maturation. Creating his fiction, Weinbaum seems to have been inspired by Francis Bacon’s mindset in The New Atlantis. The present research seeks to study the influence of the Baconian utopia of science on Weinbaum’s interpretation of the machine and the mind in the process of the production of technology. Employing a comparative method, the researchers try to discover the similarities and differences between Weinbaum’s science fiction and Bacon’s fictional utopia to prove that the Baconian utopian-scientific discourse in the seventeenth century was resuscitated by Weinbaum’s science fiction in the early twentieth century.