In 1881, in rural New Zealand, an unknown man sat down and wrote a short novel that set in place some of the true staples of science fiction as we know it today, long before HG Wells had even finished his schooling. The short book, The Great Romance, appears to have found its way to the United States and England, where it's now believed to have helped inspire the Victorian-era of 'scientific romances', as science fiction was then known.
From the NZ Herald :
You can read the first volume of 'The Great Romance' online here.
The Great Romance deals with "ground-breaking" themes such as interplanetary colonisation by humankind, sexual relations with aliens and the problems of space flight - including space shuttles, spacesuits and air locks...
"This is the first book... that talks about the colonisation of outer space by humans. There is nothing earlier.
"HG Wells talked a little bit later about martians coming to colonise earth, but that is the other way [round]... this book was far ahead of its time."
Publishers Weekly claimed: "This may have been the first time that anyone described space suits, air locks or the difficulties of landing on an asteroid or entering a planetary atmosphere.