In Alfred Noyes' science-fiction novel published in 1940 "The Last Man" (US title: No Other Man), the human race is almost wiped out by a powerful death ray capable of killing everyone, friend or foe, unless they are in a steel chamber deep under the surface of the sea. The inventor's chief assistant unscrupulously sells the plans to the leading nations of the world, who declare they will use the ray only as a "last resort". When events spiral out of control, however, they all activate it, killing everyone living on the earth. Survivors include an Englishman named Mark Adams, trapped in a sunken submarine, who escapes and travels to Paris and Italy, where he finally finds another survivor, an American girl named Evelyn Hamilton, who was in a diving bell deep below the surface of the Mediterranean, engaged in photographing the floor of the sea.
For Charles Holland, reviewing the novel in the 1940s, Noyes' combination of "such elements of human interest as apologetics, art, travel and a captivating love story" mean that the reader of The Last Man is assured of both "an intellectual treat and real entertainment". Eric Atlas, writing in an early science fiction fanzine, found the novel, despite some flaws, "well worth the reading – perhaps twice". The Last Man seems to be the novel which introduced the idea of a doomsday weapon. It is thought to have been among the influences on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four
This hard backed book is a first edition. Its red cover, no d/j, is somewhat grubby with spine slightly faded and facing pages front and rear tanned. Interior pages are clean and legible.