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The Inner House

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 1

Walter Besant

An excerpt of a review from The Unpopular Review, Volume 10, December, 1918:

...WHEN we come to The Inner House by Sir Walter Besant, we find a Utopia that strikes at the very root of the Utopian idea, -- man's desire for a society without drawbacks. To Sir Walter, all Utopias are bad. The craving for them is most harmful. For man to follow the line of least resistance all through life, and to encounter no obstacles in his path, would result in a moral flabbiness that would mean his downfall. The working effect of a society in which there is no struggle for existence is pictured in the Inner House with convincing probability. Hardships are unknown, and the citizens, having overcome all dissatisfaction with conditions, are left in torpor and apathy, stupid and sluggish, for lack of any "large and liberal discontent."

In the land of The Inner House there is no more death or pain. The physicians of the House of Life have made the Great Discovery, how to abolish both pain and death. The result is that Religion and Love have perished from the land. How could Religion survive the removal of Death? "We fear not Death and, therefore, need no religion," the people say. "Without the certainty of parting, Religion droops and dies.... He who is immortal and commands the secrets of Nature so that he shall neither die, nor grow old, nor become feeble nor fall into any disease, feels no necessity for any religion." Love too disappears. But one thing kills Love. It cannot live long while the face and form know no change. Only at the price of abandoning the Great Discovery can Love be revived. The people rise up and throw off their effortless existence, for the sake of the Greater Discovery, "that to all things earthly there must come an end." The inhabitants realize in regard to their loved ones that "the very reason why they clasp them is because they die."

Utopias have their uses; The Inner House is needed to show their possible abuses, and it stands out as the great warning to all Utopians.

Olympian Nights

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 3

John Kendrick Bangs

An American traveler of the twentieth century finds himself stranded in Greece, robbed and alone, and takes sanctuary in a cave... that proves to be the entrance to the home of the gods. As the gods' guest, he learns just what the immortal divinities are up to in modern times, with hilarious results. Bangs portrays the gods going about their duties and personal affairs in the terms of American high society, with all the elegance, archness, wit, jealousy, and pettiness of the idle rich. Mythic grandeur and modern wit prove a perfect fit in this sharp satire.


  • Afterword (Olympian Nights) - (1986) - essay by Brian Stableford
  • A Royal Outing - (1902) - shortstory
  • An Extraordinary Interview - (1902) - shortstory
  • At the Zoo - (1902) - shortstory
  • I Am Dismissed - (1902) - shortstory
  • I Reach Mount Olympus - (1902) - shortstory
  • I Seek Shelter and Find It - (1902) - shortstory
  • I Summon a Valet - (1902) - shortstory
  • In the Dining-Room - (1902) - shortstory
  • Some Account of the Palace of Jupiter - (1902) - shortstory
  • The Elevator Boy - (1902) - shortstory
  • The Olympian Links - (1902) - shortstory
  • Æsculapius, M.D. - (1902) - shortstory

The Doings of Raffles Haw

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 4

Arthur Conan Doyle

This is scientific romance about a disenchanted gold maker who has discovered a way to turn lead into solid gold and uses his wealth to help people. But when he sees that his philanthropic activities don't benefit anyone, he becomes disillusioned.

Raffles Haw, a mysterious millionaire, moves to Staffordshire, England amid much gossip and speculation such is the grandeur of his new home. Upon his arrival, Haw befriends the McIntyre family. McIntyre senior was a wealthy gun merchant before going bankrupt and losing his sanity. But this is only the start of the mysterious family's tale and the deadly secrets they hold close.

Planetoid 127

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 5

Edgar Wallace

A young man finds that his old science teacher and benefactor, Professor Colson, is in contact with another world. The information the Professor is receiving has made him rich, but has also made him a powerful enemy who will stop at nothing to discover the Professor's secret and use it for his own ends.

Tourmalin's Time Cheques

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 6

F. Anstey

Anstey's work comes closest to SF in Tourmalin's Time Cheques (A Farcical Extravagance) (1891; vt The Time Bargain; or, Tourmalin's Cheque Book 1905), one of the earliest Time-Paradox stories and a pioneering example of Time Out of Sequence complications, though in the end, resolved as a dream.

Master of His Fate

Greenhill Science Fiction Series: Book 8

J. MacLaren Cobban

Master of his Fate (October-December 1889 Blackwood's Magazine; 1890), whose protagonist, tortured by the need vampirically to drain the life energy of others to maintain his own Immortality, confesses all to an expert in the field of animal magnetism; and then - convulsively aged into an old man, as always happens before he feeds - kills himself.