GRANVILLE, Austyn (1854-1922)
The fallen race
/ With an introduction by Opie Read. New York : F. T. Neely, 1892. Octavo, gilt-titled two-tone cloth (edges worn, spine chipped at head and foot), patterned endpapers (name erased from front free endpaper), pp 352 (small nick to pp 15-16), illustrated with five plates, internally clean and overall a very good copy.
One of the earliest and rarest Australian science fiction novels, written by an Anglo-American author who visited Melbourne around 1890.
The fallen race tells the story of an explorer, Gifford, who ventures into the interior, following unsuccessful attempts by other parties to do so. He finds himself similarly thwarted by the harsh environment, but luckily befriends an Aborigine, Jacky-Jacky, who becomes his manservant and the book’s key character. They stumble across a lost race of alien creatures called Anonos, spherical beings four feet high ruled by a white human queen – the lost daughter of one of the early explorers. The aliens are civilised but warlike. Gifford first communicates with them in an Aboriginal dialect he has learnt from Jacky-Jacky. The storyline develops with their capture by and escape from the Anonos, and climaxes with an internecine war between the Anonos and an adjacent tribe of Aborigines, the Galla-Gallas.
Aboriginal content and references, while perhaps fanciful, are prevalent throughout the book. The resourceful Jacky-Jacky’s indigenous skills are utilised constantly, as he rescues the explorer Gifford from various situations in the bush and also during their capture by the aliens. He is illustrated attacking an Anono in one of the plates. There are Aboriginal phrases quoted, although these are unlikely to be linguistically authentic. The war between the Aboriginal tribe and the aliens is dramatically described.
This work is rare; we can locate only five copies in Australian collections (AIATSIS; National Library of Australia; University of Sydney Library; State Library of Victoria; State Library of Queensland; Monash University).