Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells

Despite Wells' modesty about glossing over the science with fiction (namely Cavorite) in The First Men in The Moon, I found it to be one of his most scientific pieces so far. His explanation of defying Earth's gravity, how life forms might evolve in the absence of earthly gravity, and how humans might find moving about on the moon then returning to earth were all scientifically plausible if not accurate. Well's background in natural science is highly evident in his descriptions of lunar vegetation, its habits, and in particular its growth cycle.

None of this is to say that the science overwhelms the story for indeed it does not. True to form this is as rollicking a Victorian adventure as any Wells has written. Woven throughout the book is a philosophic pondering on the often exploitative and violent nature of humans. Allowing the audience to read the story from the two characters' viewpoints in two, carefully spliced sections of the book adds a clever twist to what could otherwise have been an anti-climatic ending.

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