Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record (1880)


Across the Zodiac: the Story of a Wrecked Record, deciphered, translated and edited by Percy Greg; 1880; Trübner, London

Centering around the creation of a substance called “apergy”, a form of anti-gravitational energy, Percy Gregg’s novel details a flight to Mars taken in 1830. They discover the planet to be inhabited by diminutive beings who, convinced that life couldn’t exist any where else apart from on their world, refuse to believe that the unnamed narrator is actually from Earth – deciding instead he is an unusually tall Martian from some remote corner of their planet. The book is notable as containing what is probably the first alien language in any work of fiction to be described with linguistic and grammatical terminology. It also contains what is possibly the first instance in the English language of the word “Astronaut”, which features as the name of the narrator’s spacecraft. In 2010 a crater on Mars was named Greg in recognition of his contribution to the lore of Mars. Volume 2 available here.

Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Duke University Libraries
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: Pending Clarification
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