view the Weird Science images

Weird Science

Magic The Black Arts and the Occult: The basis of many a fantastic tale involves an invisible world of secrets, accessible with a particular kind of knowledge. Magic, alchemy and the occult are thus keys that allow entry into certain zones of the Fantastic. More important, they drive the intellectual engine of the Fantastic; even as they wane, they preside over the gestation of science fiction. The grimoire of the Magus becomes the mad-scientist’s user’s manual. Our selections include depictions of witches and sorcerers, instruction pages from the classic work of secret sciences entitled The Magus, illustrations of alchemical workshops, cabalistic mappings of biblical passages, and cover illustrations from the first issues of Amazing Stories, Hugo Gernsbach’s celebrated pulp journal devoted to science and fantastic fiction. We close this section with the Calendrier Magique of Austin de Croze, a sumptuous visual account of the occultist fervor of the late nineteenth century in France.

View Images: Weird Science


  • Grillot de Givry. Le MusÈe des Sorciers: Magie et Alchimie. Paris: Librairie de France, 1929.
  • Kurt Seligmann. Magic, Supernaturalism and Religion. New York: Pantheon, 1948.
  • Gwenhaël Ponnau: Les Savants fous, Paris: Bouquins/ Robert Laffont, 1994.

Literary works:

  • Hoffmann: "The Sandman."
  • Mary Shelley: Frankenstein.
  • Villiers de l’Isle-Adam: L’Eve future.
  • Borges: "The Library of Babel," "Tlön, Ukbar, Orbis Tertius."
  • Italo Calvino. T-Zero

Devils & DemonsDanse MacabreWeird ScienceBestiaryThe MarvelousThe GrotesquePossession & InsanityFantastic SpaceFreaks, Monsters & Prodigies

© 2000-20012, Cornell University. All Rights Reserved.