By: Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle (1623-1673)
The Blazing World by Margaret Cavendish is, all at once, a satire, a treatise on natural philosophy, a work of proto-science fiction, and a defiant venture into a scientific world where women were not usually allowed. It tells the tale of a young Lady who is kidnapped by a man that tries to sail away with her. Through divine interference, however, the ship is tossed into a storm and everyone but the Lady perishes. Blown up to the North Pole, she inadvertently passes into to another world, the Blazing World, where she is almost immediately made supreme ruler. As the Lady begins to exercise her will, Cavendish lays out her own Utopia and discusses a wide range of scientific, political, social, and religious topics. But when a war breaks out in her home world, what will the Lady do with all power of the Blazing World behind her?