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Three Science Fiction Novellas

From Prehistory to the End of Mankind

J.-H. Rosny

Publication Year: 2011

To the short list that includes Jules Verne and H.G. Wells as founding fathers of science fiction, the name of the Belgian writer J.-H. Rosny Aine must be added. He was the first writer to conceive, and attempt to narrate, the workings of aliens and alternate life forms. His fascination with evolutionary scenarios, and long historical vistas, from first man to last man, are important precursors to the myriad cosmic epics of modern science fiction. Until now, his work has been virtually unknown and unavailable in the English-speaking world, but it is crucial for our understanding of the genre. Three wonderfully imaginative novellas are included in this volume. "The Xipehuz" is a prehistoric tale in which the human species battles strange geometric alien life forms. "Another World" is the story of a mysterious being who does not live in the same acoustic and temporal world as humans. "The Death of the Earth" is a scientifically uncompromising Last Man story. The book includes an insightful critical introduction that places Rosny's work within the context of evolutionary biology.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Contents

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pp. v-

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Translators’ Note

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pp. vii-

The translators used, for their translation, the text reproduced in J.-H. Rosny aîné: Récits de science-fiction, edited and with a preface by Jean-Baptiste Baronian (Verviers, Belgium: Bibliothèque Marabout), 1975. This omnibus edition is (sadly) the most recent serious publication of Rosny’s SF works by ...

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Introduction: Rosny’s Evolutionary Ecology

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pp. ix-lxxxiii

Science fiction has a problem of paternity. French critics routinely refer to Jules Verne as “le père de la science-fiction.” Ads for the recent Penguin Classics edition of H. G. Wells proudly trumpet their author as “the father of science fiction.” We speak here for another party in this custody battle: ...

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The Xipéhuz

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pp. 1-28

The time was a thousand years before that great gathering of peoples that later gave rise to the civilizations of Nineveh, Babylon, Ecbatane.4 The nomad tribe of Pjehou, with its donkeys, its horses and cattle, was crossing the hostile forest of Kzour,5 toward sunset, into the sheet of slanting rays. ...

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Another World

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pp. 29-58

I am a native of Gelderland.1 Our property consists only of a few acres of briar and brackish water. Pines that rustle with a metallic sound grow on its boundaries. Only a few rare inhabitable rooms remain on the farm, which is dying stone by stone in solitude. We issue from an old family of shepherds, ...

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The Death of the Earth

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pp. 59-122

Targ, the watchman of the Great Planetary, felt one of those sudden joys that lit up the lives of men, during the sacred times of the Water.2 How beautiful the plants still were! They carried Targ back through the ages, to the time when oceans covered three-quarters of the world, when mankind thrived amidst springs, ...

Notes

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pp. 123-144

Annotated Bibliography

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pp. 145-148


E-ISBN-13: 9780819572301
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819569455

Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2011

Series Title: Early Classics of Science Fiction