Monday, November 07, 2005

Aaron's Book of the Week :: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

Time MachineAs many of you know, foremost among my peculiar hobbies is collecting rare books and magazines, with emphasis on science fiction and fantasy. Every week or so I bring in a different item from my collection for display in my office....

This week's Book of the Week is one of the prizes of my collection, my first edition of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. This is the first British edition, one of only 1500 copies printed and bound in cloth in 1895. (Like many books of the era, this one has a catalog of the publisher's other titles at the back. Believe it or not, which catalog is attached is one of the factors that can affect a book's value.) I am very pleased to have this book back in my possession, after it spent the summer as the centerpiece of the Aurora History Museum's "Science Fiction Century" Exhibit.

The Time Machine was H.G. Wells's first novel and probably his most important. It is arguably one of the two founding works that led to the modern genre of science fiction, along with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. But do not expect to see a first edition of Frankenstein in my office any time soon - the last one to appear in the marketplace was a signed copy that sold at private auction for a price reported to have exceeded one million dollars. For next week's Book of the Week, we will make do with the first paperback edition of Frankenstein.

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