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on 18 May 2004
When the young and penniless Mr. Bedford meets an eccentric scientist, Mr. Cavor, who doesn't realize the importance of his own inventions, it seems most fortuitous. Of greatest interest is Cavor's realization that he can create a substance that shields against gravity. Together, they come to the conclusion that, with this new substance, they can make ships to take them to other planets within the solar system. And so, with Cavor dreaming of scientific breakthroughs and Bedford dreaming of wealth, the two build such a ship, and set off for the Moon.
Arriving at the Moon, the two quickly realize what a strange and amazing place it is. During the lunar day, there is a breathable atmosphere on the surface of the Moon, and their investigations soon demonstrate that the Moon is inhabited by a race of intelligent beings. An insectoid race, the Selenites (or "Moonies" as Cavor whimsically dubs them) have a highly-organized caste system much like terrestrial ants. Can our heroes escape from the Selenites and return to Earth? And, what are the long-term affects of this new meeting of societies going to be?
H.G. Wells (1866-1946) is often remembered for his late-nineteenth century science-fiction, including The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds. This book was first published in 1900, and shows a different side of Wells. Whereas his earlier book were rather preachy, this book is more light-hearted, telling a cracking good story for its own enjoyment, rather than being a vehicle to teach a lesson.
Yep, this is a fun read, and a fascinating sci-fi book. As might be expected from such an old book, the "science" that Wells used is extremely out of date. But, if you are willing to practice a little suspension of disbelief, you will be treated to an excellent story. The story hangs together well with then current science, and shows you science-fiction from an entirely different angle. I really enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to you.
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on 6 June 2016
First read this in my teens in one sitting, loved it then and loved it now. Great to think it was written way back in1901. Ideal introduction to science fiction. Only disappointment was that I thought it was a graphic novel version as I had already downloaded the book a few years ago.
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The title seems a little strange, but the Moon as imagined by Wells is inhabited by creatures living underground--thus, the title. The plot is typical of the author--a seemingly normal man happens to meet a man with strange scientific ideas, and he quickly finds himself an active participant in the grand designs of his new acquaintance. Mr. Bedford, our narrator, escapes to as quiet and isolated a space as he can find in order to write a play. His hideaway is visited every night by a strange little man with a penchant for humming. Accosting the man for his nightly interruptions, he learns that the man, Dr. Cavor, is a scientist working to find a means by which to nullify gravity. Seeing the possibility of great profit from such a discovery, the narrator quickly enlists as a scientific assistant. The serendipitous discovery of Cavorite results in the scientist's home being destroyed and the surrounding countryside buffeted and damaged by powerful winds. With the discovery now made, Cavor embarks on a monumental quest to reach the moon by creating a huge sphere--a coating of Cavorite provides the means of locomotion, and a complex system of blinds serves as the means for controlling the thing. With the blinds closed, all gravitational forces are blocked from the sphere; with one or more blinds open, the sphere is once again subject to the gravitational pull of the nearest large object. In this fashion, the intrepid explorers make their way to the moon.
The moon they discover is not barren; in daylight, a bevy of plants emerge from the ground only to wither and die as the lunar night returns. When the explorers lose their way, they are captured and taken underground. While Cavor wants to communicate with the Selenites, as he immediately dubs the lunar inhabitants, Bedford is more concerned with escape and eventually effects just that, having found the moon dwellers easy prey to his strong, earthgrown muscles. The two men search for the sphere, but Bedford is forced to escape the moon alone after learning that Cavor has been captured and presumably killed. Bedford returns to earth, tells his story to some incredulous beach dwellers, and then finds the sphere hijacked by a young boy (who flies off and is never heard from again). Thus, he has no way of returning to the moon, nor does he have the knowledge required to make more Cavorite. A short time later, Bedford is amazed to learn that Cavor is not dead and is in fact sending radio signals from the moon to the earth. The rest of the novel relates the story of Cavor's stay on the moon, culminating in a description of his interview with the Grand Lunar. In lunar society, each individual is assigned a certain job and is trained and even surgically altered to do that job and nothing else. Cavor's description of earthly society is a revelation to the lunar inhabitants; through his words, Wells seems to point out some of the follies of mankind, particularly war. Thus, the book ends on sort of a philosophical note, and one has to imagine that Cavor's speech reflects some of Wells' own views about humankind.
All in all, the book is interesting, well-paced, and enjoyable. The originality of Wells' idea is striking--rather than propel man to the moon by huge cannon or the like, he employs antigravity as a free, highly effective means to, in essence, repel the sphere from the earth. Of course, Wells' moon is a far cry from the moon as we now know it, but it does seem to fit well into the framework of thinking at the time, at least insomuch as Wells describes those contemporary scientific ideas. Though not the most recognized of his books, The First Men in the Moon may be the most original and visionary science fiction novel penned by this pioneering author.
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on 24 November 2004
I have always prefered to read Jules Verne over H.G.Wells because I prefer Verne's style of writing. I have often considered Wells' writing to be similar to reading a newspaper article. However I have a very different opinion of this great writer having recently read this book, which I have to say is now one of my faviourites of this genre.
I feel that the chracters Wells creates in this book are memorable, and crafted with skill. The plot is thoroughly entertaing, with Wells' ideas about getting to the moon very interesting. The inhabitants of the moon are really original characters in their own right and are unlike creatures that i have previously read about.
If you as a reader can get past the idea that two Englishmen are walking around on the moon without the need for respiratory equipment then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. The descriptions of the moon itself are wonderful and memorable. If you are a fan of early science fiction then you will certainly enjoy this book.
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VINE VOICEon 1 July 2013
Everybody knows HG Wells is a popular science-fiction writer. Most people know of him through a few of his stories that have been produced as popular movies such as "The Time Machine", and "The War of the Worlds." However HG Wells was really more of a philosopher and a quasi-scientist than he was a writer.

This is one of his lesser known science fiction stories published in 1901. However as with most science fiction the story is only a vehicle to carry HG's philosophy and commentary on his Victorian Society to the reader. The story has many false starts and stops but takes the time to comment on such subjects as can a person actually be satisfied with a one-dimensional job?

Knowing that this was pre-Einstein it may be possible to believe in the technology and theories of the time. And then again as with many science-fiction or fantasy stories HG may have just been taking liberalities with realities.

One cute touch in this story is that the characters comment on Jules Vern's story of the man in the moon.
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Bedford bankrupt businessman who is making a comeback by writing a play, through a series of circumstances, teams up with Professor Cavor a recluse scientist who does not realize his own potential. Together they build a contraption, sphere, that can cut off gravity waves. What can they do with such a device? You guessed it! Let's all traveled to the moon.

Once on the moon Bedford and Cavor find that they are not alone. After a few adventures they are detained by the Moonies referred to mostly in this story as Selenites. The daring duo is restrained with chains of gold. Cavor looks at this is a reasonable precaution and also looks forward to communicating with the strange creatures. Bedford is more practical and knows what chains mean. This means it's time to escape an escape they do.

Will they be able to make it back to Earth and warn the people of the strange creatures? Or will they be caught and who knows what may happen to them in the long run.

Keep reading and learn of the society and nature of the Selenites.

The Future in America: A Search After Realities
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on 20 March 2013
A fine book which I very much enjoyed. Wells' portrayal of the Selenites seems to be wrapped up in an ever more relevant piece of social commentary showing a possible path that humans may take themselves eventually with regards to bodily specialism above and beyond the specialism based on a market economy as was happening at the time and continues today. Once we enter into a culture of work we seem almost inevitably to take on the culture of the workplace and end up with a certain kind of tunnel vision with regards to the world and the rest of our lives. The Selenites are essentially the ultimate meme-gene `collaboration' in the way that their bodies and culture reflect and make use of only that which they are from birth taught to specialise in.

A special mention must go to the chapter titled `Mr Bedford in Infinite Space' in the way that the enormity of space is described by way of a separation from the feeling of who he is. It is done so well that the price of this book is worth it for this little existential view of himself and the great expanse.

A classic that must be read.
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on 19 January 2000
I agree with the above reader. 'First Man In The Moon' is a wonderful piece of pre-space-age science fiction. Yes, of course it's dated, but in fact it's scientific gaucheness only adds to the charm of a good old-fashioned adventure story, and the main protagonists various exclamations and conflicts are very amusing indeed. It's also a constant surprise how much of what surely must have been purely conjectural physics at the time proved to be true once we 'got up there'. (Though I concede that the mists and giant cacti on the moon were a mite wayward of the mark!) Good fun.
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VINE VOICEon 3 September 2011
Everybody knows HG Wells is a popular science-fiction writer. Most people know of him through a few of his stories that have been produced as popular movies such as "The Time Machine", and "The War of the Worlds." However HG Wells was really more of a philosopher and a quasi-scientist than he was a writer.

This is one of his lesser known science fiction stories published in 1901. However as with most science fiction the story is only a vehicle to carry HG's philosophy and commentary on his Victorian Society to the reader. The story has many false starts and stops but takes the time to comment on such subjects as can a person actually be satisfied with a one-dimensional job?

Knowing that this was pre-Einstein it may be possible to believe in the technology and theories of the time. And then again as with many science-fiction or fantasy stories HG may have just been taking liberalities with realities.

One cute touch in this story is that the characters comment on Jules Vern's story of the man in the moon.
--------

Bedford bankrupt businessman who is making a comeback by writing a play, through a series of circumstances, teams up with Professor Cavor a recluse scientist who does not realize his own potential. Together they build a contraption, sphere, that can cut off gravity waves. What can they do with such a device? You guessed it! Let's all traveled to the moon.

Once on the moon Bedford and Cavor find that they are not alone. After a few adventures they are detained by the Moonies referred to mostly in this story as Selenites. The daring duo is restrained with chains of gold. Cavor looks at this is a reasonable precaution and also looks forward to communicating with the strange creatures. Bedford is more practical and knows what chains mean. This means it's time to escape an escape they do.

Will they be able to make it back to Earth and warn the people of the strange creatures? Or will they be caught and who knows what may happen to them in the long run.

Keep reading and learn of the society and nature of the Selenites.
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2013
Very disappointed...

Someone has referred to this in another review as being a replacement for one he purchased during the 1950s, and so when I purchased this I thought with it being a graphic novel and some kind of `reproduction'; a story from years ago - and connecting in my mind with the great movie of the same name, (see my review for that) I did expect this to be more `retro' with its artwork which would have delighted me. As it was, this is more like a cheap modern comic... A great opportunity missed...

Not impressed.
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on 16 May 2001
This isn't the best of Wells's science fiction but it is well worth reading. What made Wells outstanding in his day was the power of his language, the images which he created. Many had predicted interplanetary travel and been slightly more accurate in how it would be done, but Wells gave us the images of the Lunar underworld and they've never been bettered for their strangeness. Cavor remains a great archetype for the grumpy scientist (how few of Wells's central characters are very pleasant individuals!) and reminds us exactly why Wells is to science fiction what Conan Doyle is to detective fiction. Sooner or later you have to read him!
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