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Early Classics of Science Fiction

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Early Classics of Science Fiction

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The Moon Pool

A. Merritt

One of the most gripping fantasies ever written, The Moon Pool embodies all the romanticism and poetic nostalgia characteristic of A. Merritt's writings. Set on the island of Ponape, full of ruins from ancient civilizations, the novel chronicles the adventures of a party of explorers who discover a previously unknown underground world full of strange peoples and super-scientific wonders. From the depths of this world, the party unwittingly unleashes the Dweller, a monstrous terror that threatens the islands of the South Pacific. Although Merritt did not invent the lost world novel, following in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Burroughs and others, he greatly elaborated upon that tradition. This new edition includes a biography of the author, and an introduction detailing Merritt's many sources and influences, including the occult, mythological, and scientific discourses of his day.

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The Mysterious Island

Jules Verne

At a time when Verne is making a comeback in the US as a mainstream literary figure, Wesleyan is pleased to publish a new translation of one of his best-known novels, The Mysterious Island. Although several editions under the same title are in print, most reproduce a bowdlerized nineteenth-century translation which changes the names of the characters, omits several important scenes, and ideologically censors Verne's original text.

The Mysterious Island was published in 1874, and it is one of Verne's longest novels. The plot depicts a group of men who have become castaways stranded on an island in the Pacific during the American Civil War. The novel describes their attempts not only to survive but also, with the aid of the scientific and technological know-how, to rebuild their world from the meager resources of the island. At the end, however, it is realized that Captain Nemo, from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, has secretly been helping the settlers. A marvelous adventure story, The Mysterious Island is also notable for its modern retelling of the utopian deserted-island myth, with repeated echoes of Robinson Crusoe and the Swiss Family Robinson. This Wesleyan edition features notes, appendices and an introduction by Verne scholar William Butcher, as well as reproductions of the illustrations from the original French edition.

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Three Science Fiction Novellas

From Prehistory to the End of Mankind

J.-H. Rosny

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.

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The Time Ship

A Chrononautical Journey

Enrique Gaspar

H. G. Wells wasn't the only nineteenth-century writer to dream of a time machine. The Spanish playwright Enrique Gaspar published El anacronopete--"He who flies against time"--eight years before Wells's influential work appeared. The novel begins at the 1878 Paris Exposition, where Dr. Don Sindulfo unveils his new invention--which looks like a giant sailing vessel. Soon the doctor embarks on a voyage back in time, accompanied by a motley crew of French prostitutes and Spanish soldiers. The purpose of his expedition is to track down the imprisoned wife of a third-century Chinese emperor, believed to possess the secret to immortality. A classic tale of obsession, high adventure, and star-crossed love, The Time Ship includes intricately drawn illustrations from the original 1887 edition, and a critical introduction that argues persuasively for The Time Ship's historical importance to science fiction and world literature.

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Travel Scholarships

Jules Verne

Nine students from London's Antillean School receive travel scholarships to visit their island homelands in the Caribbean. Accompanied by their eccentric Latin professor, they set sail on what they expect to be a thrilling educational voyage. Little do they realize that, prior to their arrival on board, their ship had been hijacked by escaped convicts who murdered its original captain and crew. This is the only novel by the legendary Jules Verne that has never been available in English until now. Although ostensibly written for an adolescent audience, its suspense-filled plot, sophisticated narrative style, and critique of European colonialism make it an engrossing read for all ages.

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Vintage Visions

Essays on Early Science Fiction

Arthur B. Evans

Vintage Visions is a seminal collection of scholarly essays on early works of science fiction and its antecedents. From Cyrano de Bergerac in 1657 to Olaf Stapledon in 1937, this anthology focuses on an unusually broad range of authors and works in the genre as it emerged across the globe, including the United States, Russia, Europe, and Latin America. The book includes material that will be of interest to both scholars and fans, including an extensive bibliography of criticism on early science fiction—the first of its kind—and a chronological listing of 150 key early works. Before Dr. Strangelove, future-war fiction was hugely popular in nineteenth-century Great Britain. Before Terminator, a French author depicted Thomas Edison as the creator of the perfect female android. These works and others are featured in this critical anthology.

Contributors include Paul K. Alkon, Andrea Bell, Josh Bernatchez, I. F. Clarke, William J. Fanning Jr., William B. Fischer, Allison de Fren, Susan Gubar, Rachel Haywood Ferreira, Kamila Kinyon, Stanislaw Lem, Patrick A. McCarthy, Sylvie Romanowski, Nicholas Ruddick, and Gary Westfahl.

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We Modern People

Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity

Anindita Banerjee

Science fiction emerged in Russia considerably earlier than its English version and instantly became the hallmark of Russian modernity. We Modern People investigates why science fiction appeared here, on the margins of Europe, before the genre had even been named, and what it meant for people who lived under conditions that Leon Trotsky famously described as "combined and uneven development." Russian science fiction was embraced not only in literary circles and popular culture, but also by scientists, engineers, philosophers, and political visionaries. Anindita Banerjee explores the handful of well-known early practitioners, such as Briusov, Bogdanov, and Zamyatin, within a much larger continuum of new archival material comprised of journalism, scientific papers, popular science texts, advertisements, and independent manifestos on social transformation. In documenting the unusual relationship between Russian science fiction and Russian modernity, this book offers a new critical perspective on the relationship between science, technology, the fictional imagination, and the consciousness of being modern.

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