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The Coming Race

32 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1907523236
ISBN-10: 1907523235
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“First published in 1871, The Coming Race represents a curious hybrid. Its premise is unflinchingly futuristic: the inevitable displacement of today’s humanity by a more evolved 'race.' But the story unfolds in perhaps the last unexplored place on earth―the 'hollow' interior of the planet…”―Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review

“Seed offers a comprehensive and useful critical edition of Bulwer-Lytton’s early science fiction novel … [that] illuminates the meaning and importance of this work to both writers who were Bulwer-Lytton’s contemporaries and to science fiction and fantasy writers who followed him. Summing up: Highly recommended.”―P.J. Kurtz, Choice --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Review

“The Coming Race is a fascinating novel. Seed’s edition of this seminal work is manifestly superior to previous ones and a significant contribution to Lytton studies.” (Toby Widdicombe, professor of English, University of Alaska, Anchorage)|“The Coming Race displays Bulwer-Lytton at his best―as a writer, a theorist, and a visionary. To date, other editions of this science fiction classic have lacked the heft of David Seed’s offering, thus failing to make the strongest case its historical and cultural importance. David Seed rectifies this failing. Anyone who reads The Coming Race in this edition cannot but emerge with greater respect for Lytton’s intellectual and literary achievement.” (Scott Rice, professor of English, San Jose State University and founder of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Aziloth Books (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907523235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907523236
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #633,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Written in 1871 The Coming Race was one of the last books ever written by the author, he died two years later. The story begins when an American civil engineer falls into an underground world. There he discovers a subterranean paradise inhabited by a race called the Vril-ya.These Vril-ya tell the narrator that they are descended from ancestors who escaped the 'upper world' as a result of a deluge which covered the earth. Their evolution has taken a certain course mainly because of the discovery of an energy source, similar to electricity.This energy, from which they also take their name, is called Vril. Lytton's narrative, published in the same year as The Descent of Man, is one of the first truly post-Darwinian novels. It incorporates many of the scientific ideas of the period, and the subsequent fears of degeneration and devolution. The narrator soon discovers that this subterranean paradise is not all that it seems. Lurking in an unlit region of this underground world are a race of primitive savages, who like Wells's Morlocks, represent the flipside of evolution. Without Vril the savages have not progressed, they live in darkness, eat meat and resemble animals. In contrast, the Vril-ya live perfect lives, they are physically beautiful and have developed the abvility to fly with the help of Vril. The narrator appears to have stumbled into a parasise where a race of angels live in perfect harmony, without conflict, without envy and where all men are considered equal. The one thing that this future paradise cannot overcome is boredom.Tthe narrator concludes that although mankind dreams of perfectibility it is a pleasure that we are not meant to enjoy, at least not in this lifetime. Worth a read, especially if you are interested in the history of Science Fiction.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Murena Jr. on February 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Coming Race is a great book on many levels. As a story it is well developed and is one of Bulwer-Lytton's best works of science fiction. Also from a historical aspect it is an interesting document to see how the Victorian mind saw the world and what was beyond their horizons. This book had an incredible impact upon the reading public upon its release in 1871 and its influence, as well as that of Lytton in general, is felt greatly in later works of early sci-fi. I especially feel the stylistic influence in Upton Sinclair's "Millennium" and while for a review this is neither here nor there, this is important in understanding the development of the genre.

The book opens up with the main character, an American, being invited into a mine exploration by friend. Within just a few pages of the most basic exposition the story begins. For this genre and being that the terranean characters matter little, jumping into the plot like this makes the reading fun. For a 19th century it reads very fast and before long the reader will be well acquainted with the ways of the vril-ya and "vril" - the power source of the coming race. It really is a fun read.

The only problem with this book is that while Lytton goes through an enormity of steps to describe the culture and idiosyncrasies of the vril-ya the book at times reads more like notes of an anthropologist than a literary novel. Of course this may be the intention and since it is such a quick and enjoyable read, we can forgive the author of this. If you are fan of Lord Lytton or a fan of early Sci-Fi this is a definite read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
Written in 1871 The Coming Race was the last novel ever written by Lytton, he died two years later. The story begins when an American civil engineer falls into an underground world. He discovers a civilisation inhabited by a race called the Vril-ya who tell him that they are descended from ancestors who escaped the 'upper world' as a result of a deluge which covered the earth. Their evolution has taken a certain course mainly because of the discovery of an energy source, similar to electricty. This energy, from which they also take their name, is called Vril. Lytton's dystopic narrative is influenced by the post-Darwinian fears of degeneration and devolution. He soon discovers that this subterranean paradise is not all that it seems. Lurking in an unlit region of this underground world are a race of primitive savages who, like Wells's Morlocks, represent the flipside of evolution. Without Vril the savages have not progressed, they live in darkness, eat meat and resemble animals. In contrast the Vril-ya live perfect lives, they are beautiful and have developed the ability, with the help of Vril, to fly. The narrator appears to have stumbled into a paradise where a race of angels live in perfect harmony, without conflict, without envy and where all men are considered equal. The one thing that this future paradise cannot overcome is boredom. The narrator concludes that although mankind dreams of perfectibility it is a pleasure that we are not meant to enjoy, at least not in this world. Worth a read, especially if you are interested in the development of science fiction.
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