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The Origins of Science Fiction


Michael Newton

01 April 2022

ISBN: 9780198853619

464 pages

In Stock

Oxford World's Classics Hardback Collection

Price: £16.99


A selection of science-fiction tales from the close of the 'Romantic' period to the end of the First World War. It gathers together classic short stories, from Edgar Allan Poe's playful hoaxes to Gertrude Barrows Bennett's feminist fantasy.

  • A delightful anthology of early science fiction from the close of the Romantic period to the early twentieth century, showing the extraordinary imaginative diversity of the genre
  • Uses copy-text of the first published version in Britain or America of the stories in book form, or of first publication in a magazine or journal
  • Includes historically informed notes and biographies of the authors, a chronology of Victorian fairy tales, and an appendix in which some of the included authors discuss the nature of fairy tale and its importance

About the Author(s)

Michael Newton

MICHAEL NEWTON is the author of Savage Girls and Wild Boys: A History of Feral Children (2002) and Age of Assassins: A History of Conspiracy and Political Violence, 1865-1981 (2012). On the subject of cinema, he has written Show People: A History of the Film Star (2019) and books on Kind Hearts and Coronets (2003) and Rosemary's Baby (2020) for the BFI Film Classics series. He has edited Edmund Gosse's Father and Son and Victorian Fairy Tales for Oxford World's Classics, and Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent and The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories for Penguin Classics, and co-edited the anthology, Literature and Science, 1660-1834: Science as Polite Culture (Pickering & Chatto). He teaches literature and film at Leiden University.

Table of Contents

    Note on the Texts
    Select Bibliography
    A Chronology of the Origins of Science Fiction
    The Mortal Immortal, Mary Shelley
    The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion, Edgar Allan Poe
    Rappaccini's Daughter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, Edgar Allan Poe
    The Diamond Lens, Fitz-James O'Brien
    The Lifted Veil, George Eliot
    Pausodyne: A Great Chemical Discovery, Grant Allen
    The Water-Devil. A Marine Tale, Frank R. Stockton
    The Crystal Egg, H. G. Wells
    'Wireless', Rudyard Kipling
    The Hall Bedroom, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
    The Country of the Blind, H. G. Wells
    The Machine Stops, E. M. Forster
    The Terror of Blue John Gap, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    The Red One, Jack London
    Friend Island, Gertrude Barrows Bennett
    The Comet, W. E. B. Dubois
    Explanatory Notes


new (to me) names who thrilled me. A truly great collection ...my highest recommendation! - Leah Galbraith, Fiction Fan Blog