Review of “The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall” (1835)


Edgar Allan Poe (writer).

Read in 2022.

Read with Poe’s notes accusing Richard Adams Locke of having plagiarized “Hans Pfaall” in a newspaper hoax some weeks after the story was published.

Ostensibly a trip to the moon, by balloon.

The prototype of science fiction is interesting. It even includes a few attempts at a “Blue Marble” perspective on the Earth, which is impressive in concept:

At a vast distance to the eastward, although perfectly discernible, extended the islands of Great Britain, the entire Atlantic coasts of France and Spain, with a small portion of the northern part of the continent of Africa. Of individual edifices not a trace could be discovered, and the proudest cities of mankind had utterly faded away from the face of the earth.

The comic framing device is more badly written, but should not be skipped.

References here: “The Balloon-Hoax” (1844), “Von Kempelen and His Discovery” (1849), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), “Politics and the English Language” (1946), Us (2019).

text fiction