Three Science Fiction Novellas: From Prehistory to the End of Mankind

Overview

To the short list that includes Jules Verne and H.G. Wells as founding fathers of science fiction, the name of the Belgian writer J.-H. Rosny A?n? must be added. He was the first writer to conceive, and attempt to narrate, the workings of aliens and alternate life forms. His fascination with evolutionary scenarios, and long historical vistas, from first man to last man, are important precursors to the myriad cosmic epics of modern science fiction. Until now, his work has been virtually unknown and unavailable in ...

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Three Science Fiction Novellas: From Prehistory to the End of Mankind

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Overview

To the short list that includes Jules Verne and H.G. Wells as founding fathers of science fiction, the name of the Belgian writer J.-H. Rosny Aîné must be added. He was the first writer to conceive, and attempt to narrate, the workings of aliens and alternate life forms. His fascination with evolutionary scenarios, and long historical vistas, from first man to last man, are important precursors to the myriad cosmic epics of modern science fiction. Until now, his work has been virtually unknown and unavailable in the English-speaking world, but it is crucial for our understanding of the genre. Three wonderfully imaginative novellas are included in this volume. “The Xipehuz” is a prehistoric tale in which the human species battles strange geometric alien life forms. “Another World” is the story of a mysterious being who does not live in the same acoustic and temporal world as humans. “The Death of the Earth” is a scientifically uncompromising Last Man story. The book includes an insightful critical introduction that places Rosny’s work within the context of evolutionary biology.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“After Jules Verne, the Belgian-born Rosny (1856–1940) is probably the greatest of all French-speaking science-fiction writers, although only a few of his works have been readily available in English.
Happily, thanks to the Wesleyan Early Classics of Science Fiction Series, three of Rosny’s finest novellas can now be enjoyed in authoritative translations. Never having encountered any of his fiction, I was unprepared for the power and beauty of ‘The Xipehuz,’ ‘Another World’ and ‘The Death of the Earth.’”
—Michael Dirda, Washington Post

“In a lengthy, well-researched introduction the authors situate Rosny’s work within evolutionary biology, showcasing his interest in Darwinian evolution and arguing for his rightful place as the true father of hard science fiction. The three novellas are intriguing and nicely translated. … Highly recommended.”—S.E. Vie, Choice

“…Rosny was a species pluralist, and believed that human beings are no more entitled than any other creature to reign supreme. He would have felt right at home among the Men In Black.”—Laura Miller, The New Yorker

Rosny “belongs somewhere between Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. (He is) one of the true originals of science fiction.”—Paul Kincaid, Interzone

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819569455
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

J.-H. ROSNY AÎNÉ, or Joseph-Henri Boëx (1856–1940), was born in Brussells, Belgium and wrote prolifically and in a variety of genres: science fiction, fantastic and supernatural tales, prehistoric novels of the “lost race” variety (from which the film The Quest for Fire was made), and a series of realistic narratives in the tradition of Emile Zola’s naturalistic novel. DANIÈLE CHATELAIN is a professor of French at the University of Redlands, and author of Perceiving and Telling: A Study of Iterative Discourse. GEORGE SLUSSER is a professor of comparative literature and curator of the Eaton Collection at the University of California, Riverside. Chatelain and Slusser’s copublications include the translation of Balzac’s The Centenarian and the edited volume Transformations of Utopia: Changing Views of the Perfect Society. They live in Highland, California.

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Table of Contents

Translators’ Note
Introduction: Rosny’s Evolutionary Ecology
The Xipéhuz
Another World
The Death of the Earth
Notes
Annotated Bibliography

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