The Great Romance: A Rediscovered Utopian Adventure (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)

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9780803259966: The Great Romance: A Rediscovered Utopian Adventure (Bison Frontiers of Imagination)

The Great Romance, a two-volume novella published under the pseudonym “The Inhabitant,” was one of the outstanding late nineteenth-century works of utopian science fiction. Volume 1 was a possible model for Edward Bellamy’s phenomenally successful Looking Backward, while volume 2 was assumed lost for over a century until uncovered in the Hocken Library in Dunedin, New Zealand. Together these volumes represent a remarkable piece of science fiction writing as they proffer one of the first serious considerations of the colonization of other planets and the impact of human beings on an alien culture. Here, for the first time, readers encounter descriptions of spacesuits and airlocks, space shuttles and planetary rovers, interplanetary colonization and cross-species miscegenation. Behind these genre-defining elements is the story of John Hope, who, by means of a sleeping elixir, awakes to a utopian community in a distant future—a “kingdom of thought” where the struggle for existence has been eliminated and humanity operates under an unwritten law of civility and harmony, aided by telekinesis that inerrantly reveals all wrong-doers. Since only two of the probably three volumes are extant, the tale ends with a chilling cliffhanger. In his introduction Dominic Alessio discusses the cutting-edge aspects of this work and its significance in both the realm of science fiction and the history and culture of its day.

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About the Author:

Dominic Alessio is an associate professor of history and the director of the study abroad program at Richmond, The American International University in London. He is a vice chair of the New Zealand Studies Association.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this anonymous work, first published in New Zealand in 1881 and lost until the 1990s, John Hope puts himself to sleep in 1950 and wakes up in 2143 to find that everyone is telepathic, and evil is almost unknown. He heads off to colonize Venus and soon encounters aliens, with whom he develops a daringly intimate relationship. Despite paltry characterization and amateurish prose by the standards of any century, Hope's story includes surprisingly advanced ideas. This may have been the first time that anyone described space suits, air locks or the difficulties of landing on an asteroid or entering a planetary atmosphere. Alessio argues in his almost obsessively analytical introduction that the story may have had considerable, indirect influence on one of the most widely read books of the 19th century, Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward. This reprint will be of considerable interest to specialist scholars of science fiction, if not the casual reader. (May)
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Inhabitant
Editorial: Bison Books (2008)
ISBN 10: 0803259964 ISBN 13: 9780803259966
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Inhabitant, Dominic Alessio (Editor)
Editorial: Bison Books (2008)
ISBN 10: 0803259964 ISBN 13: 9780803259966
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Inhabitant
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