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Early Works of Science Fiction


"Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself.... Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don't know what they're talking about." ~Ray Bradbury

This Influencers anthology is a collection of 23 tales considered to be among the best and most influential works. We started with 333: A Bibliography of the Science-Fantasy Novel, by Crawford, Donahue and Grant (1953), which lists the best works published before 1950, then cross-referenced them with Science-Fiction, the Early Years by Everett Franklin Bleiler, Neil Barron's Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide to Science Fiction and Brian Stableford's Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950. You'll find a variety of stories from different subgenres: tales of war and invasion, feminist utopias, dystopias, catastrophes, interplanetary travel and more. Some have been made available for Kindle for the very first time and are exclusive to ROH Press.

Every tale in the collection has been praised by writers, critics or enthusiast and have been selected for their foundational importance to the genre. A few tales of note: Everyone speaks highly of The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells’ invasion classic that inspired legions of imitators, it’s a must read on any fan’s list. For those that like their futures bleak try The Iron Heel, Theodore Savage, or City of Endless Night. Forster’s The Machine Stops, written in 1909, imagines a world where social distancing and self-isolation have become the norm. For satire read Flatland. Bleiler speaks highly of The Green Splotches, A Gentleman from Jupiter, and Willmoth the Wanderer. Barron states that The Clockwork Man, was “perhaps the outstanding scientific romance of the 1920s.” H.G. Wells had high praise for Sheil’s The Purple Cloud, Isaac Asimov had great respect for A Martian Odyssey and Colin Wilson crowned A Voyage to Arcturus “the greatest novel of the twentieth century.”

War and Invasion Novels
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
The Germ Growers by Robert Potter
The Green Splotches by T.S. Stribling

Cyborgs and Other Extraordinary Beings
The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle
The Hampdenshire Wonder by J. D. Beresford
A Gentleman from Jupiter by Allan Updegraff

Space Travel and Alien Worlds
A Columbus of Space by Garrett P. Serviss
A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay
A Martian Odyssey by Stanley Grauman Weinbaum

Great Inventions
The Man Who Ended War by Hollis Godfrey
The Man Who Rocked the Earth by Arthur Train and Robert Williams Wood

Feminist Utopias
Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Gloriana; or, the Revolution of 1900 by Lady Florence Dixie
Sultana's Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

Last Man Standing
The Purple Cloud by M. P. Shiel

Dystopias and Other Bleak Futures
The Iron Heel by Jack London
City of Endless Night by Milo Hastings
Theodore Savage by Cicely Hamilton (First Kindle Edition)
The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster

Social Satire
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott

Eccentric Novels
Willmoth the Wanderer or The Man From Saturn by C. C. Dail (First Kindle Edition)
The Lunarian Professor by James B. Alexander
Rondah, or Thirty-Three Years in A Star by Florence Carpenter Dieudonné (First Kindle Edition)

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The War of the Worlds: "Highly imaginative and skilfully developed, the novel is the finest science fiction effort of its century." ~Joseph H. Crawford, 333, A Bibliography of the Science-fantasy Novel

The Germ Growers: "A literate, pre-Wellsian novel with considerable imagination." ~Everett Franklin Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years.

The Green Splotches: "An excellent story, with many typical strokes of wit and fancy. As is usual with Stribling's writing, the plot is not so important as the ironic comment." ~Everett Franklin Bleiler, Science-Fiction, the Early Years

The Clockwork Man: "Perhaps the outstanding scientific romance ofthe 1920s," ~Neil Barron, Anatomy of Wonder: A Critical Guide toScience Fiction

A Voyage to Arcturus: "Few English novels have been as eccentric or, ultimately, as influential." ~Michael Moorcock

A Martian Odyssey: "With this single story, Weinbaum was instantly recognized as the world's best living science fiction writer, and at once almost every writer in the field tried to imitate him." Isaac Asimov, Introduction, The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum, 1974

Herland: "An effective and witty novel." ~Neil Barron, Anatomy of Wonder, A Critical Guide to Science Fiction

The Purple Cloud: "The Purple Cloud remains Shiel's masterpiece, still the best last man novel. It is finely imagined and displays Shiel's stylistic brilliance at its best." Everett Franklin Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years

City of Endless Night: "Of the pioneering anti-Utopian novels, one of the finest and least known is City of Endless Night by Milo Hastings." ~Sam Moskowitz

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War of the Worlds
Imprint Masterworks of Adventure
Published January 31, 2020
ISBN 9781987886610
Length 3166 pages
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