In the Days of the Comet


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WELLS, H.G. In the Days of the Comet. London: MacMillan, 1906. Octavo, original green cloth gilt. Housed in a custom clamshell box.

First edition, second issue (as always), first state, presentation copy humorously inscribed by H.G. Wells to Richard Gregory, his close friend and scientific advisor, "To dear old Griggalorums. From H.G."

Wells was a devoted member of the Fabian society and a utopian socialist; his novels often explore potential utopias and dystopias of the future, and how they may be brought about. In the present work, "the wondrous change in human personality is brought about by the gases in a comet's tail, through which the Earth is fortunate enough to pass," a concept that has been adopted by numerous utopian societies in the years since this novel's pubication (Clute & Nicholls, 1314). Second issue, as usual (only one copy of the first issue is known: the British Library copy), first state, with integral title page. Without scarce original dust jacket. Currey, 419. Hammond B10. Inscribed to noted British scientist and Wells' lifelong friend Sir Richard Arman Gregory. In Wells' first work of fiction, he dedicated the work to Gregory as his "dearest friend." The two met while students at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. They jointly authored a textbook, Honours Physiography, in 1891. Reportedly, Gregory was the one person with whom Wells never quarreled. A professor of astronomy, Gregory also possessed expertise in physics, chemistry and other disciplines; he wrote several textbooks and eventually assumed the editorship of the journal Nature, to which Wells frequently contributed. The author often turned to Gregory, and to the experts Gregory contacted on Wells' behalf, for insight and encouragement when writing his famous "scientific romances." After Wells' death, Gregory worked to establish the H.G. Wells Memorial to preserve public attention to his friend's body of work. Throughout his life Gregory was a passionate advocate for science—"It is necessary to believe in the holiness of scientific work," he once declared—and "an optimist about man's future" (Horrabin, in New Scientist, April 11, 1957).

Interior fine, only very minor wear to cloth extremities, gilt bright. A nearly fine copy with a great association.

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