"JUST AS HUMANITY HAS GROUPED ITSELF PLEASANTLY, RATIONALLY, AND IN THE BEST OF TASTE FOREVER… THE SUN GOES OUT!" (WELLS): GABRIEL TARDE'S EARLY SOCIOLOGICAL SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL, UNDERGROUND MAN, 1905 FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH
(WELLS, H.G.) TARDE, Gabriel. Underground Man. London: Duckworth, 1905. Octavo, original russet cloth. $600.
First edition in English of Tarde's utopian novel of a society in a world where the sun's energy has been exhausted, with a preface by H.G. Wells.
"A novel by an academic sociologist in which a near-ideal society, triumphantly established in the wake of a long series of destructive wars with the aid of advanced science and technology, is forced by the sudden cooling of the sun to move its last survivors underground, where they continue to thrive with the aid of geothermal power" (Barron II-1120). "Depicts first a world society on the surface of the Earth, then, with the exhaustion of the Sun's energy, a sanitary underground utopia. The author seems to evince satirical doubts about the value of the latter as a model for human conduct" (Clute & Nicholls, 1201). In his preface, Wells does not write about his own novel The Time Machine, despite the obvious similarities between the two novels, such as neo-troglodytes and a race "developed into a community sustained at a high level of happiness"—although here Tarde anticipated Huxley's Brave New World (1931) with the "social tonics" needed to sustain this utopia. Instead Wells "comments on the Gallic stubbornness of the author's optimism, although the attitude of the narrative is actually rather dour" (Barron). First published in France in 1904 as Fragment d'histoire future. Translated by Cloudesley Brereton. Barron, Anatomy of Wonder II-1120. Bookplate.
Foxing to endpapers, text clean; mild rubbing to cloth, spine slightly toned. A very good copy of this scarce pioneering work of sociological science fiction.