Review of “The Balloon-Hoax” (1844)


Edgar Allan Poe (writer).

Read in 2022.

A transatlantic balloon flight.

By means of this text, the flight was presented as real in a newspaper, which retracted the story two days later. Poe was apparently motivated to perform this hoax by a grudge against his editor, Locke—himself a probable hoaxer—over “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall” (1835), and Poe always needed money.

The article is well researched, perfectly serious, and written to convince its readers, not to point out some absurdity in their beliefs. This is typical of the most malicious misinformation and makes for a boring read as fiction. In this particular case, there seems to have been no harm done beyond damaging the credibility of a media organization (The Sun) gullible enough to publish the fake.

References here: “Mellonta Tauta” (1849), From the Earth to the Moon (1865).

text fiction