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A RARE BOOK IS A GREAT INVESTMENT
London: Odhams Press. Original Cloth. Very Good. 12mo - over 6¾" - 7¾" tall This is a vintage edition of a collection of Wells stories: two novels, 'The First Men in the Moon' and 'The World Set Free', and four short stories, 'The Inexperienced Ghost', 'The New Accelerator', Mr Ledbetter's Vacation', and 'A Dream of Armageddon'. This was published by Odhams Press of London and, as so often with them, is undated - it looks pre-1940s, however. The book is sized approx. 20 x 13 cms (7.5" x 5") and has 376 pages. Its condition, in my opinion, is very good, with sound covers (featuring a blind-embossed bust of Wells), save for slight bruising to corners and fading to the spine and good, tight binding. Page edges are dusty when closed, but the text is clean and reasonably bright. There is very slight water staining to the front and back fixed endpapers. Herbert George Wells was a product of his time. The son of a servant, he studied the sciences at university and became both a popular writer and an influential socialist intellectual with a moderately scandalous list of affairs with women. Most of his science fiction dates from early in his career. In a few short years, he invented many of the obsessional tropes of the genre from the time machine, to contact with hostile aliens, in ‘The War of the Worlds’ and, here, ‘The First Men in the Moon’. Like Jules Verne, he was occasionally fond of comic stereotypes - Wells almost single-handedly crystallized the figure of the impractical comic scientist in ‘The First Men in the Moon’. Unlike Verne, however, and perhaps because he had a solid scientific background, he did not fetishise scientific accuracy and used scientific ideas as story germs and for verisimilitude. Most of his later novels have no sci-fi content, while being novels of ideas in precisely the same way. In ‘The First Men in the Moon’, Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home. "Written with astonishing animation and lucidity." - G K Chesterton "Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this—a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." - Ursula K Le Guin In ‘The World Set Free’, Wells creates a nightmare vision of the world devastated by nuclear war. This amazingly prophetic story, written in 1913, concerns the discovery of artificial radioactivity and tells of the way in which this new form of energy revolutionizes transport and industry yet finally leads to catastrophe. Together with the four short stories, this represents a great value omnibus edition for any Wells enthusiast. (Book ref. 000041)