Thursday, August 20, 2009

University of Liverpool acquires rare first edition of 1905 Gullivar Jones of Mars novel

According to a press release issued by the University of Liverpool on August 18th, the institution's Science Fiction Foundation Collection has acquired a rare first edition of Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905), an influential science fiction novel written by British author Edwin L. Arnold that tells the story of an American soldier’s journey to Mars. The novel was "poorly received upon publication in 1905, but has since earned a reputation as one of the most important works of 20th century science fiction." According to Andy Sawyer, the university's SF librarian, “Due to the lack of interest in the original publication of Gullivar Jones, however, the first edition of the book became rare and collectors have not seen a copy come up for sale for more than 20 years." The university acquired its copy through a bequest from the late British book dealer Ken Slater, who died in February 2008.

While first edition copies of Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation are "extremely rare and have been known to attract valuations of more than £1,000 at auction" ($1,109 on AbeBooks), you can read the novel online or download it as an e-book through Project Gutenberg or Or, if you prefer, you can listen to a reading of the novel thanks to the folks at LibriVox.

Some SF scholars consider Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation to be the inspiration behind Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel A Princess of Mars (1912, 1917).

Pictured: University of Liverpool Science Fiction Librarian Andy Sawyer holding first edition of Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation.

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