Before the Dawn

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Bell, Eric Temple (writing as John Taine). Before the Dawn. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, 1934. Discussed in Stephen Baxter's "The Technology of Omniscience: Past Viewers in Science Fiction," our source here.

A scientific technique is developed for replaying the light that has shown upon matter, leading to the technological innovation of a "televisor," which Baxter says ultimately delivers something like virtual reality (VR). The featured scene watched is the extinction of the dinosaurs. Baxter's final comment on the story is of interest for a view from the end of the 20th century of what we might call "Spectacle" in a work from 1934: "But sometimes Bell's cheerful long view is chilling: the extinction of the dinosaurs was 'a good show, and we shall have done our part if we can put on one half as entertaining (p. 60)" (Baxter p. 98).

RDE, Initial Compiler, 17Mar19