The Somnium


Johannes Kepler, in a portrait from 1610. Artist unknown. From Wikimedia Commons.

Returning today to some research that I was doing in 2012!

Fun fact of the day:

Johannes Kepler wrote one of the first science fiction books, the famous “Somnium” (“The Dream”), over the course of several revisions between 1610 and 1630. The book was an amazing fusion of scientific speculation with conventional horror tropes, a voyage to the moon via demonic conveyance.

First circulated in 1611, it was later used as evidence against his mother, when she was subjected to an extended and savage persecution for witchcraft in 1620. Her trial lasted for over a year, and Kepler mounted an extensive legal defense to save her from torture and death.

When she was finally acquitted, Kepler composed 223 footnotes to the story—several times longer than the actual text—which explained the allegorical aspects as well as the considerable scientific content (particularly regarding lunar geography) hidden within the Somnium.

To learn much more about the Somnium, the life and times of Johannes Kepler, and about Kepler’s important contributions to science, I recommend a visit to the Somnium Project.

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About Arinn

Author, Game Developer, Anthropologist, Feminist, reformed Supervillainess.
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