When editor Joseph Fraser is asked to publish the diaries of a local merchant, he can hardly believe what he is reading. Adam Jacobs has been leading a strange double life: split between the harsh struggles of colonial Melbourne, and the wonders of a technologically advanced, harmonious existence on Mars – where diminutive ‘Martials’ promenade along clean streets, travel in flying machines, and enjoy bountiful produce. Here nature is contained, and social order is complete.
Originally published in 1889, Melbourne and Mars is at once a fascinating early example of Australian science fiction and a utopian socialist manifesto. It dreams of a society without money, social disadvantage or crime; where free education, electricity, and everyday comforts are provided to all. As we astro-travel with the narrator between the opposing realities, the question emerges: how will Adam Jacobs reconcile his different worlds?
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