A Short Guide to Irish Science Fiction, by Jack Fennell

Third entry:

Anonymous. The Re-Conquest of Ireland, A.D. 1895.
Dublin: Hodges, Figgis and Co., 1881.

A short future-history pamphlet detailing the disastrous consequences of the 1881 Land Act. The establishment of Land Courts to fix fair rents for impoverished tenants leads to a flood of spurious claims against decent, hardworking landlords, who are beaten or assassinated if they dare to defend their income. The Land League and the Fenians, having learned that the overgenerous British government will acquiesce to Irish demands when threatened with agitation, parliamentary obstruction and agrarian violence, continue to preach revolution and rent defaulting. The situation is made worse by a second famine in the years between 1892 and 1895, and by disturbing international developments. American Fenians finally stage an uprising of ten thousand men on the banks of the Shannon, and only after three days of pitched battle is the rebellion quelled. A couple of recurring late-Imperial obsessions are mentioned in the text: firstly, the oft-cited Boer uprising (though the Battle of Majuba Hill, an occasion almost deified by the Fenians in other rebellion-fantasy novels, is not explicitly mentioned); secondly, the Russian advance into Afghanistan – as in other future-war texts of the time, from this the author extrapolates an attempted Russian conquest of the Indian subcontinent.

Keywords: Future War; Independence; Nationalism; Unionism

A neat compilation of about 100 sf books by Irish authors, prepared as part of the successful campaign for the Dublin 2019 Worldcon. It’s not exhaustive, but it does cover a lot of interesting ground, particularly the Home Rule fantasies of the decades around 1900 which forecast triumph or (more often) disaster following the political victory of Irish Nationalism, and also the Irish language sf of the mid-twentieth century – not just the Captaen Speirling books of Cathal Ó Sándair but various other pieces. He also includes the more sfnal plays of Shaw and Beckett. Only about 5% of the books are by women; perhaps if more fantasy had been included, that balance might have been different?

Anyway, you can download it here.