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The First Men in the Moon

by H.G. Wells

Cover artist: Earl Shewan

Publisher: Dell

Pub year: 1947

Cover price: unknown


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Interior text

The First Men in the Moon

Persons this story is about —

Mr. Bedford
Hard-headed, practical young Englishman, is forced, in his words, to write a good play, by the fury of his outraged morality (a cantankerous creditor of his seeks reimbursement). However, he finds adventurous diversion from play-writing when he meets Mr. Cavor. He becomes profoundly absorbed in Cavor's scientific research and sees financial independence ahead should these experiments prove successful.

Mr. Cavor
Prototype of the eccentric, preoccupied seeker of scientific knowledge, is disregardful of his own life, limits, and property in his never-ending pursuit of the ultimate. Although he clothes his extraordinary brain in a cricket cap and wears cycling knickers, he never plays cricket, never cycles. Seemingly inept and admittedly unpractical, Cavor it is whose intensive research leads to the discovery of the substance Cavorite. And Cavor it is who furnishes the two adventurers with an astonishing means of transportation to the moon.

Spargus and Gibbs
An ex-sailor and a former joiner, are two of Cavor's general assistants. Both are utterly unconscious of the part they play in the premature birth of that fabulous substance — Cavorite.

The Selenites
As varied in appearance as they are numerous in number, are grotesque, inhuman figures. Yet they earned of Cavor the opinion they were at least, in intelligence, morality, and social wisdom, colossally greater than men of the Earth.

The Grand Lunar
The mightiest of the Selenites, is the fantastic and fabulous figurehead who reigns supreme as Master of the Moon.

What this story is about —

Here is the tremendous adventure of the first space flight ever made by Earthmen. Bedford and Cavor, a playwright and a scientist, take off in a spaceship, navigate the immense and lonely wastes of interplanetary space, and make a perilous landing on the moon, where they discover life in strange and unusual forms. After a brief exploration of the moon's surface, they come into contact with the bizarre, insect-like denizens of the moon's cavernous interior. Captured by these queer creatures, Bedford and Cavor make a desperate bid for freedom which involves a breathtaking chase through the corridors and caves inside the moon.

How Bedford escapes, finally locates the spaceship and navigates it back to Earth, is an episode of intense suspense. There is further excitement, too, in the attempts to establish communication with Cavor, still inside the moon, and in his story, radioed to Earth, of his weird adventures there following Bedford's departure. His report of his exploits among the moon people provides a fascinating build-up to a stunning climax.

This tale, with its flights of imagination, its wild adventures in the mooncalf pastures and in the tremendous lunar caverns, its human drama, ranks high among the "science-fiction" classics of all time; it is one of a group of scientific fantasies which H.G. Wells wrote in his younger years. The famous Orson Welles radio version of one of these, "The War of the Worlds," eventually frightened hundreds of thousands of listeners literally out of their wits. "The First Men in the Moon" is not only gripping entertainment; it is a great achievement of imaginative writing — an outstanding novel by one of the finest authors of our time.