New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1901. Original tan cloth pictorially decorated in black and orange.
First Edition of the first collaboration between Conrad and Hueffer -- a tale that combines science fiction with political satire, somewhat in the same vein as had recently been popularized by H.G. Wells. This is regarded as Conrad's only science fiction tale -- though the work is largely Hueffer's.
The "I" narrator is Etchingham Granger, a writer of impeccable pedigree whose fortunes are none too good and who is forced to take on several disagreeable commercial assignments. Early on, he meets an extremely attractive young lady who is a "Fourth Dimensionist." This tribe of "new people" -- there is a dystopian pattern here -- lacks feelings and normal or human responses. They, and she, are dedicated to becoming the inheritors of the earth because of their superiority in intellect, control and deception. In particular, they plan to undermine public confidence in its institutions, which turns out to be fairly easy given the nature of the men who govern. The political satire lies here: everyone has a price and everyone is self-serving regardless of the seriousness of the issues. There is no "public policy" among public men. [Karl]
For copyright reasons the American edition was published first; the English edition was then produced from the American plates, and was published about five weeks later.
This is the usual first published state, with the cancel dedication leaf (there exist about six known copies with the uncorrected error "To Boys and Christina"). This copy's pictorial front cover has the sky uncolored (i.e., tan cloth color) rather than in gilt -- priority uncertain, but the few pre-publication copies have the gilt sky. The volume is in very good to near-fine condition -- scarcely any wear, but with quite minor cover soil (as is typical for this light-colored cloth). Cagle A6a.2, binding b. Item #13479