Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained

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by Damon Knight

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Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained

Faking Out the Reader & It All Begins with Characters

Will the Real Hieronymus Bosch Please Stand Up?

With an introduction by R. Buckminster Fuller. Charles Fort devoted his life to attacking one of the modern world's most sacred cows: traditional science, with all its authority and all its presuppositions. His method was simple: he collected and published reliable accounts of events that science cannot explain—colored rains, living things such as frogs falling to earth, unknown objects in space and in the oceans, people who have mysteriously appeared and disappeared, and a whole catalogue of other curiosities. His boldness, imagination and conviction earned him the admiration of many of his most famous contemporaries, including Theodore Dreiser, Ben Hecht, Alexander Woollcott, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Even today scientists explore the implications of Fortean material.

This book is the first full-scale biography of Charles Fort, a lively, sympathetic, and thought-provoking portrait of a strange and brilliant man.

"Every science is a mutilated octopus. If its tentacles were not clipped to stumps, it would feel its way into disturbing contacts." So Charles Fort wrote and so he believed. And out of this believe came—The Book of the Damned, Lo!, New Lands, Wild Talents—books filled with highly credible reports of events that the octopus sought to avoid: red snows, blue rains, and showers of dead leaves in April; heavenly bodies, individuals, and even entire races disappearing without a trace; wheels of light in the ocean, unfamiliar objects in the sky, and invisible forces in his own apartment.

"I do not know how to find out anything new without being offensive," this gentle, shy, but fiercely determined man once said. The history of science is full of such "offensive" men, from Galileo to Velikovsky. And, as this perceptive, comprehensive biography shows, the data Fort gathered may lead us all to new frontiers that can now scarcely be imagined.

About the Author

The Damon Knight Library
The authorized site for all of the SFWA Grandmaster's books

Damon Knight

Damon Knight was a science fiction author, editor, critic and fan. His forte was short stories and he is widely acknowledged as having been a master of the genre. He was a member of the Futurians, an early organization of the most prominent SF writers of the day. He founded the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), the primary writers' organization for genre writers, as well as the Milford Writers workshop and co-founded the Clarion Writers Workshop. He edited the notable Orbit anthology series, and received the Hugo and SFWA Grand Master award. The award was later renamed in his honor. He was married to fellow writer Kate Wilhelm.


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