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With the Night Mail

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Author: Rudyard Kipling

Illustrator: Allan Curless

KIPLING, Rudyard. With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 A.D. (Together with Extracts from the Contemporary Magazine in which it Appeared). Illustrated in Color by Frank X. Leyendecker and H. Reuterdahl. NY: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1909. 12mo, [vi] 87pp. Blue boards stamped in gilt and white. Full-color pictorial endpapers; 4 full-color plates. A good copy with minute rubbing around board edges and slight internal foxing.

First Edition.Having achieved international fame with The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, Kim, and his Just So Stories, in 1905 Kipling serialized a thrilling science fiction novella, With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 A.D, in which the reader learns while following the exploits of an intercontinental mail dirigible battling foul weather about a planet-wide Aerial Board of Control, which enforces a rigid system of command and control not only in the skies (which are increasingly crowded with every manner of zeppelin) but in world affairs too.

Kipling got so excited by his own utopian vision that when the story first appeared in McClure's Magazine, it was accompanied by phony advertisements for dirigible and aeronautical products that he'd written, plus other ersatz magazine clippings. In one of these latter, we read that the Aerial Board of Control had effectively outlawed war in 1967 by "reserving to every nation the right of waging war so long as it does not interfere with traffic and all that that implies."