The First Men in the Moon

A Critical Text of the 1901 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices


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About the Book

The First Men in the Moon is the last in a series of “scientific romances” begun by Wells with The Time Machine. In the opinion of many, it is also the last in a series of pessimistic and anti-utopian novels before Wells took up the tone of an optimistic and utopian social prophet with Anticipations. The present critical edition of First Men questions that opinion. The lunar utopia described is far from a satire on the industrial order as many critics claim, but in historical context is instead related to the international scientific management movement, stemming from the Saint-Simonian school of socialism. This critical edition shows how First Men consciously builds on the whole literary tradition of moon voyages.

About the Author(s)

The late Leon Stover, professor emeritus at the Illinois Institute of Technology, was the first to bring science fiction to the college curriculum and was the author of numerous landmarks of intellectual history. He lived in Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

H.G. Wells
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 333
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, annotations, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1998]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6874-4
Imprint: McFarland
Series: The Annotated H.G. Wells

Table of Contents

Preface      ix

Introduction      1

1. The Text      1

2. Utopia or Dystopia?      2

3. “World Machine”      8

4. Verne and Wells      10

5. Noble Formicary      16

6. Coal City      23

7. Managerial Revolution      28

The First Men in the Moon (1901)      33

(Annotated text of the first London edition)      36


I. Review by Arnold Bennett (1902)      264

II. “An Age of Specialisation,” by H.G. Wells (1904a)      274

III. “About Sir Thomas More,” by H.G. Wells (1905d)      278

IV. Verne on Wells and Vice Versa      282

V. “Is the Moon Inhabited?” by Camille Flammarion (1894)      286

VI. Excerpt from “Recent Studies in Gravitation,” by John H. Poynting (1900)      306

Bibliography      309

Index      319

Book Reviews & Awards

“Wells’s masterpieces get the red-carpet treatment here in these luxurious editions…academic collections supporting English departments should definitely invest in this volume”—Library Journal; “Stover is to be thanked for his years of Wellsian scholarship”—Public Library Quarterly; “Stover, by presenting the intellectual underpinnings of Wells’ work, has provided a powerful tool for understanding his writings, one sees them more deeply, without losing that earlier sense-of-wonder that originally opened the vistas of the young reader’s mind…a crucial guide to these classics of science fiction”—Fosfax; “two cheers for Stoverism…formidable scholarship…serious students of Wells would be foolish to ignore ‘Stoverism’”—The Wellsian; “Stover should be commended for a painstaking and meticulous editorial commentary”—Utopian Studies; “extensively annotated and analyzed by Stover…annotations are filled with insights into Wells’ writings and philosophy”—C&RL News.