THE BLACK DEATH. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co., Ltd., n.d. . Large 16mo, pp. [1-4] 1-316 + 8-page publisher's catalogue, rebound in plain maroon cloth with new endpapers. First edition. "A novel of future war and catastrophe in which all of Great Britain is destroyed by an air raid from an unspecified continental power (presumably Germany) using advanced explosives and a poison gas nicknamed "the Black Death" that destroys all vegetable and animal life (except for rats). A group of about ten English men and women visiting a cave on a day-trip are shut in by a landslide after the bombing, which saves them from the effects of the gas. They are the only survivors of the attack. The story follows the narrative pattern made familiar in disaster movies: we are introduced, one by one, to various individuals who are thrown together by the crisis, which brings out the best or worst in them. Pretty standard commercial fiction of the period, but interesting for the stark pessimism of its message." - Robert Eldridge. Cited by Stableford (Scientific Romance in Britain 1890-1950, p. 241) as among the "most significant" of works by minor authors in the interbellum period on the subject of "awesomely destructive wars," reflecting the "widespread anxiety" of the time. Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 65. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War (1992), p. 240. Bleiler (1978), p. 55. Reginald 03760. Bookplate of collector Oswald Train affixed to front paste-down. A sound, rebound copy of a scarce book, the first we have encountered. COPAC reports 3 copies; OCLC adds 3, 2 in the U.S. (#148925).
No statement of printing.