London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1894. First Edition. Octavo, pp.vi, 476. Illustrated with 10 plates. Publisher's dark blue cloth opulently decorated in silver gilt and and titled in gilt to spine and front board with a silver planetary design to the rear board. Minor tanning to margins, ownership inscription to front flyleaf. Corners bumped and worn, with some rubbing to joints, bumpt to top edge, somewhat shaken, spine sunned. Internal paper hinges cracked, showing cloth gauze binding beneath. Nonetheless, the boards retain their hypnotic quality, and remain attractive. A book of surpassing lunacy detailing interplanetary exploration and the exploits of the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company (no, really) exchanging businessmen for the more conventional heroic adventurer type and illustrated throughout with captioned plates displaying titles like: 'the ride on the giant tortoise', depicting a group of interplanetary axis straighteners perambulating through a jungle on Jupiter, clad in pith helmets and seated on the aforementioned giant tortoise (which appears to have the head of a chicken). Also present is a battle between a woolly mammoth and a giant ant, similarly taking place on Jupiter, which would appear to be both crowded and dangerous. Throw in some cities of the future, capitalism for the good of all mankind and the fact that Venus is apparantly the Christian heaven and you end up with the kind of thing Jules Verne might have come up with after an eight day absinthe binge in the company of several members of the Parisian Stock Exchange. This book is great. Written by the man who put the Astor in Waldorf Astoria and, after placing his wife securely in a lifeboat, wandered back to the bar in order to go down with the Titanic in the manner of a gentleman. Item #43560
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