New York: Holt, 1895.
First edition, first issue, with H.S. Wells on title page. vii, 216, [2, blank], [6, ads] pp. 1 vols. 12mo. First edition, from the library of George Sterling. Tan cloth, titled in purple, t.e.g. Spine a bit faded. Bookseller ticket of Arey & Jones, San Diego. Very good plus Currey, p. 524. Item #324429
In The Time Machine, H.G. Wells’ time traveler visits the distant future and brings back a report that human society has diverged into the Eloi, who appear to live an idle, pastoral existence, and the Morlocks, who dwell underground; he then voyages further into the future where all signs of intelligent life have perished and a round thing hops fitfully beside a blood red ocean.
The early novels of Wells, including The War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau, display a remarkable capacity for extrapolation, but it is his first, The Time Machine, which establishes Wells as one of the most important precursors of what would soon be called science fiction. “Like Joseph Conrad's similarly ominous Heart of Darkness, The Time Machine is told as a Club Story, and dramatically prefigures the profound anxieties and dislocations about to afflict the Western World […] each tale inescapably conveys a profound unease about the future” (SFE).
An interesting association copy, with the signature of California poet George Sterling, demonstrating the wide distribution and readership for Wells’ books. Sterling was famously mentor to Clark Ashton Smith, California poet and artist turned master of the decadent far future pulp tale in the 1930s.
Nice copy of the book that marked the literary ascent of H.G. Wells.
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