Friday, February 3, 2012
The First Men in the Moon: Review
This is not my favorite H. G. Wells novel. I really enjoyed The Island of Dr. Moreau last fall--it won the creepy contest sponsored by Softdrink & Heather in their annual Dueling Monsters challenge. And The Invisible Man garnered 4 stars this year. But The First Men in the Moon is one of Wells' lesser known novels--and I think deservedly so.
It is the story of two men who find a way to journey to the moon (back at the turn of the last century). There is the brilliant scientific theorist who comes up with the method and the failed business man (and current attempted playwright) who prods the theorist into putting his ideas into practice. The business man, of course, has visions of what they might discover on the moon and bring back to Earth for a profit. He might actually make something of himself...
The scientist, one Mr. Cavor by name, has come up with a substance (dubbed Cavorite) that will block the force of gravity. Coat a spherical ship with the stuff and manipulate it just right and off you go to the moon! It's just that easy. And so they do. They arrive on the moon to find that, miracle of miracles, they can breathe the air. It's a bit thin, but workable. And when they get lost and can't find their ship, why they can eat the moon-vegetation as well. The only ill-effect is drunkenness. Well, that, and they come out of their stupor to find that they have been captured by the natives of the moon. Their captors take them down inside the moon.
Bedford, the businessman, fears what the Selenites (that's what the moon-people are called) might do to them and a grand escape and chase and action-hero fighting take place. It looks like our two protagonists will make a clean get-away. But then they are silly enough to separate. Bedford finds the sphere and Cavor is re-captured. Bedford has an idea that he might head back to Earth and bring back reinforcements, but things don't go exactly as planned. The book ends with communications that are received from Cavor and a bit of Wells' usual philosophizing on the war-like nature of man.
You'd think with the action, this would be an interesting book. But it just didn't pull me in the way the chase across Moreau's island did. And I didn't really care for either of the main characters. Cavor is a bit endearing as the one-track-minded scientist who can't really see the practical side of things--but not enough to win me over. Two stars.