a story featuring a young male inventor who uses his inventions and ingenuity to defeat his foes or to explore new territory
[introduced by critic John Clute, after American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, modeled on Robinsonade ‘a novel with a subject similar to that of Robinson Crusoe’ (1837 in OED) ]
As used here the term ‘edisonade’—derived from Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) in the same way that ‘robinsonade’ is derived from Robinson Crusoe—can be understood to describe any story which features a young US male inventor hero who uses his ingenuity to extricate himself from tight spots and who, by so doing, saves himself from defeat and corruption and his friends and nation from foreign oppressors.
Nor surprisingly, Haynes takes special pleasure in exploring the many sf stories casting Thomas Edison or some other wizard of invention as the hero, a subgenre recently—and most aptly—described by John Clute as the ‘edisonade’.
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.
Compared to the instrumental militarism of many 'Edisonades' (as Edison invention-adventures are called) Villiers de l'Isle-Adam’s Symbolist-mystical treatment seems posivitely pacific.
The scientist of late 19th-century London is on the cusp between the Renaissance Man and the Corporation Man—a transformation perhaps best exemplified by Thomas Alva Edison (who lent his name to a sub-genre of his own—the Edisonade—as well as featuring in Powers' novel Expiration Date (1995).
John Clute, 'The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction'
Last modified 2020-12-25 19:03:19
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.