ZALMA. London: Tower Publishing Company Limited, 1895. Octavo, pp. [1-8] 1-438 [439-440: ads], original blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold. First edition, second issue. Of three known issues of this book, this version is bound in non-pictorial dark blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold, without inserted full-page illustrations. Copies so bound comprise the second (remainder?) issue distributed prior to the Ash Partners Limited issue dated 1897. Locke's bibliographic history (in Spectrum) is partially in error as he was unaware of the rare first issue of the book that is bound in pictorial crimson cloth, has the inserted plates, and has an integral title leaf dated 1895 with the Tower imprint. SF thriller of an anarchist plot to contaminate European cities with anthrax germs. The heroine, Zalma, becomes the anarchist's theoretician and leader. Major St. Leger, a diplomat late of Her Majesty's Cavalry, creates a secret office, the forerunner of British Military Intelligence, and, although Zalma's lover, he foils the anarchist plot and Zalma dies. Her militant statement "Do you not see what swine men have made of us all for all the centuries?" sets the tone for the novel's dialogues. This is one of the earliest fictions to foreshadow modern germ warfare. Anatomy of Wonder (2004) II-372. Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 661. Clarke, Tale of the Future (1978), p. 21. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 78. Suvin, Victorian Science Fiction in the UK, p. 60. Bleiler (1978), p. 68. Reginald 37724. Early owner's signature dated 1895 on the front free endpaper. Mild spine lean, light wear at corner tips, light foxing to endpapers, a very good, tight copy. The first issue of this book is rare (only a single copy is known to us), this non-illustrated blue cloth issue is uncommon. (#1657245).
No statement of printing.