In The Coming Race (1870) Edward Bulwer-Lytton created a subterranean world occupied by advanced beings using the mysterious ‘Vril’ as an energy source. The narrator finds himself stranded deep inside the Earth. He is rescued by the human-like Vril-ya, an advanced race who have evolved underground. They fly with artificial wings, are served by automata and have developed formidable weapons. Women are the superior sex. Charles Darwin had published his On the Origin of Species in 1859 leading to much speculative fiction on the effects of evolution. Anxiety about a threat from ‘underground’ made Lytton’s book a best-seller. He concludes ‘I pray that ages may yet elapse before there emerge into the sunlight our inevitable destroyers’.