Arguably the first work of science fiction in English, Francis Godwin's The Man in the Moone was published in 1638, pseudonymously and posthumously. The novel, which tells the story of Domingo Gonsales, a Spaniard who flies to the moon by geese power and encounters an advanced lunar civilization, had an enormous impact on the European imagination for centuries after its initial publication. With its discussion of advanced ideas about astronomy and cosmology, the novel is an important example of both popular fiction and scientific speculation.This Broadview Edition includes a critical introduction that places the text in its scientific and historical contexts. The rich selection of appendices includes related writings by Godwin and his predecessors and contemporaries on magnetism, human flight, voyages to real and unreal lands, and the possibility of extra-terrestrial life.
William Poole is an Official Tutorial Fellow at New College, Oxford University.