First edition, inscribed to his mother-in-law "Pinnie," who lived with Wells during the period he published his greatest works, including THE TIME MACHINE and WAR OF THE WORLDS.
IN THE DAYS OF THE COMET
"All of Wells's success in the coming decades was achieved with [his wife] Catherine's support." – Michael Sherborne
Wells started his career spinning fantastic tales to make money, but soon began to use his novels to explore political reform. Well known for exploring the kind of scientific crisis imagined in this work -- that of a comet passing by the earth -- Wells is less known today for his views on socialism and polyamory, which become the focus of the drama here. It was first serialized in THE DAILY CHRONICLE. While this copy is called a "second issue" by bibliographers, only one copy of the "first issue" is known, deposited at the British Library before publication and thus thought to be a proof copy.
This copy is inscribed to the mother of Catherine "Jane" Robbins, Wells's second wife. Because Wells had begun living with her daughter while he was still legally married to his first wife, Mrs. Robbins at first did not approve of the relationship. Recently widowed and under financial strain, Mrs. Robbins nevertheless moved in with the couple, sometimes eating alone in her room to show her dislike of Wells. This development occurred during the most formative years of Wells's writing career, when he wrote and published his great scientific romances: THE TIME MACHINE, THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and WAR OF THE WORLDS. The success of these novels allowed him to provide for Mrs. Robbins comfortably.
Catherine played a critical role in his early success, "taking over some of his business affairs and acting as a sub-editor who offered constructive criticisms of his drafts and deleted the unintended verbal repetitions to which he was prone" (Sherborne). Because she too wrote short stories, some scholars have wondered "whether Wells's prolific output, particularly of short stories, might be accounted for by an element of collaboration"; indeed, an 1895 humorous sketch by Wells in a copy of THE TIME MACHINE depicts her in the act of writing, captioned "Got to write his old stories for 'm now." In jest or otherwise, Catherine was the single most influential person in Wells's life during this period of his career.
A fantastic association copy in beautiful condition.
Read more: Sherborne, H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life; Currey, Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography.
London: Macmillan and Co, 1906. Octavo. 7.5'' x 4.75''. Original full green cloth, front board gilt-lettered and blind-stamped in fruit pattern, gilt-lettered spine. Top edge gilt. 6 pages of ads, then 8-page publisher's catalogue at rear dated 20.8.06. viii, 305, , ,  pages. Inscribed in ink on front free endpaper, "To Pinnie / from H.G." Faint bumping to corners and spine extremities, spot to fore edge: overall fresh and bright, with sound hinges.
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