The First Men in the Moon
is a science-fiction novel by H. G. Wells
. The story was originally serialised in The Strand Magazine
from December 1900 to August 1901, and subsequently published in hardcover in 1901. In the novel, two men undertake a journey to the Moon: Mr. Bedford, a businessman down on his luck who is also the narrator, and Mr. Cavor, an eccentric scientist who develops a substance capable of blocking the attraction of gravity. The two men design a capsule lined with the substance, and use it to travel to the Moon. The book's popularity led to its adaptation into several films.
Wells' novel speculates upon space travel, the effects of low gravity, and other scientific ideas; but his novel also includes elements of fantasy such as the civilization of the Selenites encountered upon the Moon. The French author Jules Verne was openly critical of the novel, particularly of Well's contrivance of a fictitious substance "opaque to gravitation" as the means by which the two protagonists travel to the moon.
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.
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