“ONE OF THE MAJOR SCIENCE-FICTION NOVELS OF THE 19TH CENTURY”: RARE FIRST EDITION OF NICHOLSON’S THOTH: A ROMANCE
Nicholson, Joseph Shield. Thoth. A Romance. Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood and Sons, 1888. Octavo, original gilt-stamped orange cloth, uncut. $2000.
First edition of this early science fiction classic, in original cloth.
This science fiction novel is set in Ancient Greece. In it, a scientifically advanced people from an Egyptian city-state (founded and ruled by a succession of rulers called Thoth) has kidnapped Grecian maidens, taking them away by airship. It is one of a group of accomplished, but strangely forgotten science fiction novels written in 1888. “Thoth is the best-known of these, although ‘best-known’ is hardly accurate… To the critics, this is a shame, since they see Thoth as the best Victorian sf novel that most sf fans have never heard of. John Clute calls Thoth ‘impressive,’ and E.F. Bleiler says it is ‘one of the major science-fiction novels of the 19th century… Thoth certainly has imagination: in addition to the Lost Race, it’s got Pharaonic superscience, suspended animation (including every previous Thoth, back to the first), bio-engineered plagues, sleeping gas, self-propelled flying machines, genetic engineering (which produces slave races of giants and dwarfs), and a subway system” (Nevins, i09). Early ink owner signature on half-title.
A few spots of foxing to interior, only light rubbing to cloth, mild toning to spine. A handsome copy in near-fine condition. Rare.