THE LAST AMERICAN: A FRAGMENT FROM THE JOURNAL OF KHAN-LI PRINCE OF DIMPH-YOO-CHUR AND ADMIRAL IN THE PERSIAN NAVY EDITED BY J. A. MITCHELL. New York: Frederick A. Stokes & Brother, 1889. Octavo, pp. [1-7] 8-78 [79-80: blank] [note: last leaf is a blank], the illustrations, uncredited in this edition, are by Mitchell, original pictorial dark blue cloth, front panel stamped in black, white and gold. First edition. Mitchell's third book, preceded by a work of nonfiction and THE ROMANCE OF THE MOON (1886), a children's fantasy. THE LAST AMERICAN is a short, clever inversion of the lost race tale just then gaining popularity, the lost race in this case being the Mehrikan people. We see America through the eyes of an admiral in the Persian navy about 1100 years in the future as an exploring party wanders through the ruins of New York City and Washington, D. C., where the detachment encounters and kills the three last Americans. Mitchell's point, aside from amusement, seems to be the danger of unrestricted immigration, which he indicates was the basic cause of America's downfall in the late twentieth century. Ultimately, American civilization is destroyed by a catastrophic change of climate, and this satire is significant as being one of the earliest SF stories to utilize the catastrophe motif. "A curious work, certainly pessimistic and bitter in substructure, yet superficially humorous in the Victorian mode." - Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1523. "... minor classic of the future ..." - Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 158. Anatomy of Wonder (1976) 2-112; (1981) 1-125 ; (1987) 1-66; (1995) 1-66; and (2004) II-773. Bailey, Pilgrims Through Space and Time, p. 77. Clareson, Science Fiction in America, 1870s-1930s 572. Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 21. Lewis, Utopian Literature, p. 125. Negley, Utopian Literature 796. Roemer, The Obsolete Necessity, p. 187. Suvin, Victorian Science Fiction in the UK, p. 39. Bleiler (1978), p. 141. Reginald 10184. BAL 14030. Wright (III) 3770. Cloth lightly rubbed at head and tail of spine panel, else a fine, bright copy. This book was reprinted many times; the first printing is decidedly uncommon, especially in this condition. (#130140).
No statement of printing on copyright page.