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The Coming Race [Paperback]

by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Price: $5.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Book Description

September 7, 2010 1907523235 978-1907523236
Edward Bulwer-Lytton's book is ostensibly a work of Science Fiction. It deals with an underground race of advanced beings, masters of Vril energy - a strange power that can both heal and destroy - who intend to leave their subterranean existence and conquer the world. But the book has been seen by many as a barely concealed account of Hidden Wisdom, a theory that has attracted many strange bed-fellows, including the French author Louis Jacolliot, the Polish explorer Ferdinand Ossendowsky, and Adolf Hitler.

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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 the Hardcover 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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 116 pages
  • Publisher: Aziloth Books (September 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907523235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907523236
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 8.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
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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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Early Science Fiction: A Fast Fun Read 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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Alien abduction in the 1800's
If you want to know (Or maybe Lytton already knew) where all our "Missing time", Nordic UFO pilots, Atlantis survivors, and vril energy comes from in todays alien... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Christopher B. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars the handbook that Hitler's inner circle used as a bible.
I've heard so much about this on the History Channel in relationship to the occult and Hitler's army. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara J. Nolan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Coming Race
I recently became aware of the concept of Vril watching a show on the History Channel. Did some research and happened to come a across this book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James Lehnert
3.0 out of 5 stars interesting but poorly executed
It is a great premise. The ideas behind it are compelling and imaginative. However, part of me feels like this was meant to be a social commentary and in that vein, I feel that it... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Robin Regan
3.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction a century ahead of Star Trek
Quaint Victorian period science fiction but with something of a plot.Bulwrr-Lytton is not as well known as H.G. Wells but in the same league.
Published 2 months ago by watch watcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply one of the most amazing books ever!
I have always shown great interest in quality books such as this, perhaps it is because of my old soul.
Published 2 months ago by David
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Utopian critique
I enjoyed the story, which was a vehicle for observations on the progress of society. The author in this book did not, and should not, make definitive judgments of the civilization... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Creator & Cognoscenti
4.0 out of 5 stars All for the Vril of It
“The Coming Race” (1871) by Edward Bulwer-Lytton garners interest on several levels. It is a pioneer in the science fiction genre predating H.G. Read more
Published 4 months ago by E. Joseph Anna
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read but...
Compelling read, The wording is a little difficult due to it being written in the late 1800s. no other complaints
Published 7 months ago by IanSchultz
3.0 out of 5 stars Lack of illustrations dissappoints
I've seen reviews of the book on TV, and they showed at least one illustration image. There are no illustrations in the paperback version.
Published 8 months ago by RetiredDP
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