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The First Men in the Moon

by H.G. Wells

  • Paperback
    $23.59
PUBLISHED: 10th June 2003
ISBN: 9780812968316
ANNOTATION:
"Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this—a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." So says Ursula K. Le Guin in her Introduction to "The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells's 1901 tale of space travel. Heavily criticized upon publication for its fantastic ideas, it is now justly considered a science fiction classic. Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home.
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  • Paperback
    $23.59
PUBLISHED: 10th June 2003
ISBN: 9780812968316
ANNOTATION:
"Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this—a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." So says Ursula K. Le Guin in her Introduction to "The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells's 1901 tale of space travel. Heavily criticized upon publication for its fantastic ideas, it is now justly considered a science fiction classic. Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home.

Annotation

"Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this—a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." So says Ursula K. Le Guin in her Introduction to "The First Men in the Moon, H. G. Wells's 1901 tale of space travel. Heavily criticized upon publication for its fantastic ideas, it is now justly considered a science fiction classic. Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home.

Publisher Description

"Why do people read science fiction? In hopes of receiving such writing as this—a ravishingly accurate vision of things unseen; an utterly unexpected yet necessary beauty." So says Ursula K. Le Guin in her Introduction to "The First Men in the Moon," H. G. Wells's 1901 tale of space travel. Heavily criticized upon publication for its fantastic ideas, it is now justly considered a science fiction classic. Cavor, a brilliant scientist who accidentally produces a gravity-defying substance, builds a spaceship and, along with the materialistic Bedford, travels to the moon. The coldly intellectual Cavor seeks knowledge, while Bedford seeks fortune. Instead of insight and gold they encounter the Selenites, a horrifying race of biologically engineered creatures who viciously, and successfully, defend their home.

Author Biography

Herbert George Wells's (1866-1946) career as an author was fostered by a childhood mishap. He broke his leg and spent his convalescence reading every book he could find. Wells earned a scholarship at the Norman School of Science in London. Wells's "science fiction" (although he never called it such) was influenced by his interest in biology. H. G. Wells gained fame with his first novel, "The Time Machine (1895)." He followed this with "The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), " and "The War Of The Worlds (1898)."

Review

"Written with astonishing animation and lucidity." --G. K. Chesterton

Review Quote

"Written with astonishing animation and lucidity." -G. K. Chesterton

Discussion Question for Reading Group Guide

  1. In the essay "Wells as the Turning Point of the SF Tradition" Darko Suvin asks if Wells dislikes Imperialism in general or simply dislikes being on the receiving end of it. What do you think? 2. Wells's description of the moon is startlingly accurate; a barren planet with a thin atmosphere, sub-freezing nights, and very little gravity. Do you think this was strictly his imagination or was he working with specific scientific theories? 3. Jules Verne, a contemporary of Wells, criticized The First Men in the Moon for the "mythical" creation of Cavorite, saying that the space gun he had written of in his From the Earth to the Moon was based on true scientific principles. What scientific theory could Verne be speaking of? Is any part of The First Men in the Moon based on scientific theory available in Wells's day? 4. Many of Wells's contemporaries considered him a fanciful children's writer wasting time on space travel, aliens, monsters, and the like. It wasn't until George Orwell's time that Wells was recognized as one of the writers that launched the science-fiction genre. Why the change in opinion? 5. In her introduction Ursula K. Le Guin states "Wells was the first writer of real note to write as a scientist, from within science, rather than as an outsider looking on with excitement or complacency or horror at the revelations and implications of the scientific revolution of the nineteenth century." Do you agree with her assessment? 6. In Wells's previous novels his themes and outcomes are rather obvious -- The Time Machine was a play on the hierarchy of social class, The Island of Dr. Moreau was a comment on the possible pitfalls of bio-engineering. What is the theme of this book? Is it ambiguous? If yes, did Wells intend for the theme to be ambiguous? 7. Cavor and Bedford are more caricatures than characters; Bedford is selfish, vain, and brute while Cavor is the typical mindless professor. Why did Wells choose to one-dimensional characters to drive his story? Was it easier or harder to feel sympathy for these static characters? 8. Wells once wrote that his method was to trick his "reader into an unwary concession to some plausible assumption." Did Wells "trick" his contemporary audience? Does he trick readers today? If not, why do people still read his novels?

Excerpt from Book

I Mr. Bedford Meets Mr. Cavor at Lympne As I sit down to write here amidst the shadows of vine-leaves under the blue sky of southern Italy, it comes to me with a certain quality of astonishment that my participation in these amazing adventures of Mr. Cavor was, after all, the outcome of the purest accident. It might have been any one. I fell into these things at a time when I thought myself removed from the slightest possibility of disturbing experiences. I had gone to Lympne because I had imagined it the most uneventful place in the world. "Here, at any rate," said I, "I shall find peace and a chance to work!" And this book is the sequel. So utterly at variance is Destiny with all the little plans of men. I may perhaps mention here that very recently I had come an ugly cropper in certain business enterprises. Sitting now surrounded by all the circumstances of wealth, there is a luxury in admitting my extremity. I can admit, even, that to a certain extent my disasters were conceivably of my own making. It may be there are directions in which I have some capacity, but the conduct of business operations is not among these. But in those days I was young, and my youth among other objectionable forms took that of a pride in my capacity for affairs. I am young still in years, but the things that have happened to me have rubbed something of the youth from my mind. Whether they have brought any wisdom to light below it is a more doubtful matter. It is scarcely necessary to go into the details of the speculations that landed me at Lympne, in Kent. Nowadays even about business transactions there is a strong spice of adventure. I took risks. In these things there is invariably a certain amount of give and take, and it fell to me finally to do the giving. Reluctantly enough. Even when I had got out of everything, one cantankerous creditor saw fit to be malignant. Perhaps you have met that flaming sense of outraged virtue, or perhaps you have only felt it. He ran me hard. It seemed to me, at last, that there was nothing for it but to write a play, unless I wanted to drudge for my living as a clerk. I have a certain imagination, and luxurious tastes, and I meant to make a vigorous fight for it before that fate overtook me. In addition to my belief in my powers as a business man, I had always in those days had an idea that I was equal to writing a very good play. It is not, I believe, a very uncommon persuasion. I knew there is nothing a man can do outside legitimate business transactions that has such opulent possibilities, and very probably that biased my opinion. I had, indeed, got into the habit of regarding this unwritten drama as a convenient little reserve put by for a rainy day. That rainy day had come and I set to work. I soon discovered that writing a play was a longer business than I had supposed; at first I had reckoned ten days for it, and it was to have a pied-

Product Details

Author
H.G. Wells
Short Title
1ST MEN IN THE MOON -ML
Pages
272
Publisher
Modern Library
Series
Modern Library (Paperback)
Language
English
ISBN-10
081296831X
ISBN-13
9780812968316
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Year
2003
Publication Date
2003-06-30
Country of Publication
United States
Residence
ENK
Illustrations
black & white illustrations
Edition
New edition
Audience
General/Trade