| || El Anacronópete |
English title: The Time Ship (translated from Spanish)
by Enrique Gaspar
First publication: 1887
Mad scientist Don Sindulfo and his best friend Benjamin take off in Sindulfo’s time machine along with Sindulfo’s niece, her maid, a troop of Spanish soldiers, and a bordelloful of French strumpets for madcap adventures at the 1860 Battle of Téouan, Queen Isabella’s Spain, nondescript locales in the eleventh and seventh centuries, third-century China, the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, and a biblical time shortly after the flood. Don’t worry overly much about the twist at the end: it was still a fine romp.
A professional translation of the novel into English by Yolanda Molina-Gavilan and Andrea L. Bell was published in 2012, and after my year of Spanish at the University of Colorado, I completed my own three-year translation project in 2014.
“One step at a time,” argued a sensible voice. “If the Anacronópete aims to undo history, it seems to me that we must be congratulated as it allows us to amend our failures.”
“Quite right,” called a married man jammed into the front of the bus, thinking of his tiresome wife. “As soon as the ticket office opens to the public, I’m booking passage to the eve of my wedding.”
Enrique Gaspar, Master Traveller
Enrique Gaspar was a contemporary of H.G. Wells, though there’s no indication that Wells knew of his fellow European’s Spanish novel, El Anacronópete, the first tale of a scientist inventing a time machine—to be more specific, a flying time ship several stories high.