London: Macmillan and Co., 1903. 6 pp undated ads plus 16 pp ads dated "20.9.03." Original blind-stamped olive green cloth.
First Edition of this collection of thirteen tales of fantasy and the supernatural -- probably the least-known of Wells's fantastical titles. Included are "The Magic Shop," "The Valley of Spiders," "The Inexperienced Ghost" and "The Stolen Body." Quoting from this book's own ad catalogue...~This volume of short stories... opens with the history of an inventor who commits suicide rather than risk his life in the flying machine which he has invented [it was not until December 1903 that the Wright Brothers first made a successful flight]... Mr. Wells's fantastic imagination is fed by the possibilities of scientific control over nature, and dwells constantly on the fact that new and hardly realised agencies of power are being brought within the reach of human beings who have not grown up to them. He is much haunted too with thoughts of life about us, divided from ours by a thin barrier, and several of the stories deal with the supernatural naturalistically treated...~This is a fine, bright copy (a very subtle wave in the spine cloth, some foxing of the endpapers as always) -- of a none-too-common title. Wells Soc. 23; Hammond C5. Housed in a cloth clamshell case with leather label. Item #13162