SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE: 50 BEST SF NOVELS PUBLISHED FROM 1864–1903

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This page is a work in progress. Please let me know what 1864–1903 sci-fi novels I’ve overlooked!

If you’d like to support the cause, please visit the HiLoBooks homepage; you’ll find Amazon links for all of our Radium Age series.

— JOSH GLENN

ALSO SEE: 50 Best Scientific Romances (1864–1903) | Radium Age Sci-Fi: 100 Best Novels of 1904–33 | Golden Age Sci-Fi: 75 Best Novels of 1934–1963 | 75 Best New Wave Sci-Fi (1964–83) Novels | The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time | 101 Science Fiction Adventures

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SOME PRE-SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE TITLES

The following classics from the science fiction genre’s pre-Scientific Romance era are listed here in order to provide some historical context.

  • Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville’s Le Dernier Homme (1805)
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s “The Sandman” (1816)
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) — according to Brian Aldiss, “the first seminal work to which the label SF can be logically attached”
  • Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826)
  • Jane C. Loudon’s The Mummy!: Or a Tale of the Twenty-Second Century (1827)
  • Vladimir Odoevsky’s The Year 4338: Petersburg Letters (1835)
  • Alexander Veltman’s Predki Kalimerosa (1836)
  • Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838)
  • Étienne Cabet’s Le Voyage en Icarie (1840)
  • C.I. Defontenay’s Star ou Psi de Cassiopée (1854) — one of the earliest space operas
  • Victor Hugo’s poem The Legend of the Centuries (1859)
  • Camille Flammarion’s La Pluralité des Mondes Habités (1862)

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SCIENTIFIC ROMANCES: 1864–73

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  1. Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864).
  2. Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon (1865).
  3. Edward Everett Hale’s The Brick Moon (1869).
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  5. Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–70).
  6. Jules Verne’s Around the Moon (1870).
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  8. Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Vril, the Power of the Coming Race (1871).
  9. Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872).

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SCIENTIFIC ROMANCES: 1874–83

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  1. Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island (1874–75).
  2. Jules Verne’s Off on a Comet (1877).
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  4. Jules Verne’s The Begum’s Fortune (1879).
  5. Percy Greg’s Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record (1880).
  6. Mary E. Bradley Lane’s Mizora: World of Women (1881).
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  8. Walter Besant’s The Revolt of Man (1882).
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  10. Albert Robida’s Le Vingtième Siècle (1883).
  11. Wladislaw Somerville Lach-Szyrma’s Aleriel, or A Voyage to Other Worlds (1883).

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SCIENTIFIC ROMANCES: 1884–93

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  1. E. A. Abbott’s Flatland (1884).
  2. Richard Jeffries’s After London (1885).
  3. Jules Verne’s Robur the Conqueror (1886).
  4. Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam’s The Future Eve (1886).
  5. Camille Flammarion’s Lumen (1887) — an early space opera. Also, a human character meets the soul of an alien, able to cross the universe faster than light, that has been reincarnated on many different worlds, each with their own gallery of organisms and their evolutionary history.
  6. Albert Robida’s La Guerre au vingtième siècle (1887).
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  8. W.H. Hudson’s A Crystal Age (1887).
  9. Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888).
  10. besant

  11. Walter Besant’s The Inner House (1888).
  12. James de Mille’s A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (1888).
  13. thoth

  14. Joseph Shield Nicholson’s Thoth (1888).
  15. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde (1888).
  16. Julius Vogel’s Anno Domini 2000, or, Woman’s Destiny (1889).
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  18. William Morris’s News from Nowhere (1890).
  19. Albert Robida’s Le Vingtième siècle. La vie électrique (1890).
  20. Ignatius Donnelly’s Caesar’s Column (1891).
  21. Edward Douglas Fawcett’s Hartmann the Anarchist or The Doom of the Great City (1892).
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  23. Camille Flammarion’s Omega: The Last Days of the World (1893; as a book, 1894).
  24. Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant’s Unveiling a Parallel: A Romance (1893). A feminist science fiction and utopian novel.
  25. George Griffith’s The Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror (1893).

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SCIENTIFIC ROMANCES: 1894–1903

  1. William Dean Howells’s A Traveler from Altruria (1894).
  2. King Camp Gillette’s The Human Drift (1894) — by the inventor of the safety razor
  3. Gustavus W. Pope’s Journey to Mars the Wonderful World: Its Beauty and Splendor; Its Mighty Races and Kingdoms; Its Final Doom (1894).
  4. John Jacob Astor IV’s A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future
    (1894)
  5. Timemachinebook

  6. H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895).
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  8. H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896).
  9. H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man (1897).
  10. Fred T. Jane’s To Venus in Five Seconds: An Account of the Strange Disappearance of Thomas Plummer, Pillmaker (1897). Satirical.
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  12. H.G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds (1898).
  13. Garrett P. Serviss’s Edison’s Conquest of Mars (1898).
  14. H.G. Wells’s When the Sleeper Wakes (1899).
  15. wells men in moon

  16. H.G. Wells’s The First Men in the Moon (1901).
  17. M.P. Shiel’s The Purple Cloud (1901).
  18. Alfred Jarry’s The Supermale (1902).
  19. John Antoine Nau’s Force ennemie (1903).

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SOME POST-SCIENTIFIC ROMANCE TITLES

The following classics from the science fiction genre’s early Radium Age (1904–33) are listed here in order to provide some historical context.

The Oughts are a kind of interregnum period between sci-fi’s Scientific Romance era (1864–1903) and the Radium Age. Verne, Wells, Kipling, Arnold, Baum and some others who published science fiction from 1904–13 are much better known for their earlier novels; and their sensibilities were formed in the late 19th century. Still, by the end of the Oughts — particularly in the annus mirabilis of 1912 — we can discern the Radium Age’s emergence.

  • Jules Verne’s Master of the World (1904).
  • H.G. Wells’s The Food of the Gods (1904).
  • Rokeya Sakhawat Hussain’s Sultana’s Dream (1905).
  • Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (1905).
  • Edwin Lester Arnold’s Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905).
  • Gregory Casparian’s An Anglo-American Alliance (1906).
  • L. Frank Baum’s Ozma of Oz (1907).
  • Alexander Bogdanov’s Red Star (1908).
  • Gustave Le Rouge’s Le Prisonnier de la Planète Mars (1908).
  • E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops (1909).
  • Maurice Renard’s The Blue Peril (1910).
  • Jean de La Hire’s The Nyctalope on Mars (1911).
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Gods of Mars (1913, as a book 1918)..

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MORE LIT LISTS FROM THIS AUTHOR: 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time | 100 Best Radium Age Sci-Fi Novels (1904–1933) | 75 Best Golden Age Sci-Fi Novels (1934–1963) | 75 Best New Wave Sci-Fi Novels (1964–1983) | 55 Best Scientific Romances (1864–1903) | Best 19th Century Adventure (1805–1903) | Best Nineteen-Oughts Adventure (1904–13) | Best Nineteen-Teens Adventure (1914–23) | Best Twenties Adventure (1924–33) | Best Thirties Adventure (1934–43) | Best Forties Adventure (1944–53) | Best Fifties Adventure (1954–63) | Best Sixties Adventure (1964–73) | Best Seventies Adventure (1974–83) | 101 Science Fiction Adventures | 70 Crime Adventures | 65 Fantasy Adventures | 61 Espionage Adventures | 40 Atavistic & Historical Adventures | 25 Frontier & Western Adventures | 20 Avenger & Artful Dodger Adventures | 20 Apophenic & Treasure Hunt Adventures | 20 War & Ruritanian Adventures | 18 Picaresque Adventures | 10 Robinsonade & Survival Adventures. ALSO: Best YYA Lit 1963 | Best YYA Lit 1964 | Best YYA Lit 1965 | Best YYA Lit 1966 | Best YYA Lit 1967 | THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982. | Best Scottish Fabulists | Radium-Age Telepath Lit | Radium Age Superman Lit | Radium Age Robot Lit | Radium Age Apocalypse Lit | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Cold War “X” Fic | Best YA Sci-Fi | Hooker Lit | No-Fault Eco-Catastrophe Lit | Scrabble Lit |

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