ORRIN LINDSAY'S PLAN OF AERIAL NAVIGATION, WITH A NARRATIVE OF HIS EXPLORATIONS IN THE HIGHER REGIONS OF THE ATMOSPHERE, AND HIS WONDERFUL VOYAGE ROUND THE MOON! New Orleans: Rea's Power Press Office, 58 Magazine street, 1847. Octavo, pp. [1-5] 6-33 [34-36: blank], contemporary (original?) unprinted gray-green wrappers, sewn. First edition. Fictional narrative, purported to be the text of a lecture "read before the People's Lyceum of New Orleans" by Dr. Riddell 30th April 1847, giving Lindsay's detailed account of the construction of a spaceship operated by some sort of antigravity principle, and his "narrative of two voyages into empty space," the second round the Moon, which proves to be lifeless. Lindsay's account concludes with his plan to build a larger spaceship and travel to Mars which he speculates might be inhabited by intelligent beings and thus result in "opening an interplanetary commerce." "Although hitherto unknown, a remarkable work, probably the first attempt to write a truly scientific account of an interplanetary voyage, and the first hard science fiction story. Like Poe's 'Hans Pfaal' it is a half-hoax in format, but it is also much more clearly science-fiction." - Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 1872. There is also a 24-page version of this pamphlet with the imprint: Louisville: J. C. Noble's Book and Job Printing Office, 1847. The priority of issue remains unknown. "Riddell's booklet received almost no critical attention at the time and it remained largely unknown until its discovery by Charles P. Mason who reported its existence in a letter to the summer 1931 issue of WONDER STORIES QUARTERLY. More recently it has been proclaimed as the first truly scientific account of an interplanetary voyage, and one of the earliest genuine examples of American science fiction." - Howgego, Encyclopedia of Exploration: Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel R16. Wright I: 2119a. Bleiler, "John Leonard Riddell, Pioneer," Science Fiction Studies 36:2 (July 2009). Locke, Voyages in Space (2011) V572. Wrappers soiled and spotted, several small chips along fore- and bottom edges, some spotting and browning to pages, a good copy. Rare. (#144943).
No statement of printing.