Electric Bob's Big Black Ostrich
The second story in Robert Toombs' five-story "Electric Bob" series from New York Five Cent Library in 1893, "Electric Bob's Big Black Ostrich" is a prime example of the proto-steampunk genre known as the Edisonade. To quote from the Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana:
The Edisonade, coined by critic John Clute after the Robinsonade, can be defined simply enough: it is a story in which a young American male invents a form of transportation and uses it to travel to uncivilized parts of America or the world, enriches himself, and punishes the enemies of the United States, whether domestic (Native Americans) or foreign. The Edisonades were almost entirely an American creation and appeared in dime novels as serials and as complete novels. They were the single largest category of dime novel science fiction and were the direct ancestors not only of 20th century boys’ fiction characters like Tom Swift but also one of the fathers of early 20th century science fiction, especially in the pulps. And the Edisonades were among the most morally reprehensible works of fiction of the 19th century, on a par with the dime novels the Confederacy published to glorify slavery.
The most famous Edisonade heroes were Tom Edison Jr. and Frank Reade Jr. Electric Bob was in the second tier of the Edisonade heroes, never as popular as Edison or Reade but popular enough to appear five times. I'm pleased to present this issue here in its entirety.
Electric Bob's Big Black Ostrich (20 mb pdf)