Towards Goosepunk: A Contemporary Poetic Treatment of Francis Godwin's 'The Man in the Moone'


science fiction
New Astronomy
lunar travel

How to Cite

Francis, M. (2021). Towards Goosepunk: A Contemporary Poetic Treatment of Francis Godwin’s ’The Man in the Moone’. Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures, (8), 98–112.


This article proposes a retro-futurist mode of science fiction based on seventeenth-century technology and culture. After a brief account of retro-futurist subgenres, named for the technology they are based on with the suffix -punk, I introduce my own poetic reworking of Francis Godwin's 1638 novel The Man in the Moone, one of a group of texts inspired by early modern New Astronomy. The novel's hero flies to the moon in a craft of his own invention drawn by a flock of migrating birds (swans in the original). Godwin's narrative is enjoyable for modern readers for its combination of vivid imagination, accurate speculation and, with hindsight, intriguing counter-factuality. My treatment aims to emphasise these aspects, eliminating other parts of the text such as the picaresque adventures that open the novel. Treated in this way, the story offers similar pleasures to more established modes such as steampunk. Godwin and his contemporaries were heavily dependent on animals for their power: to reflect this, the article proposes the term 'goosepunk' for its early modern retro-futurist subgenre.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Matthew Francis


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