Thursday, January 26, 2012

World of Words Wednesday - The First Men in the Moon


Regarded as one of the fathers of science fiction, H.G.Wells wrote The Time Machine, The War of the Worlds among other works.  He was born 21 September 1866 and died 13 August 1946. He wrote other genres too, including history, politics, and text books.
I remember reading the War of the Worlds in a comic form when I was a kid and being impressed with it and also because I found an interesting snippet of information regarding the book - A broadcast by Orson Welles of a dramatization of the novel War of the Worlds in the US on 30 Oct. 1938 caused a furor, many of its millions of listeners taking it for a factual report of the invasion by Martians of New Jersey.
Science fiction written by Jules Verne and H.G.Wells always fascinated me – I marveled at how they must have visualized what they did in their books and how they would feel if they could look and have a glimpse into today’s world, where some of what they wrote as science fiction is reality!
The First Men in the Moon is a scientific romance published in 1901. H. G. Wells called it one of his "fantastic stories”.

Many critics of the time dismissed his writings as writings for children and flights offancy but the works still remained popular and provided inspiration for a whole new breed of writers later, including George Orwell. His contemparory, Jules Verne, also criticized him for this book and how he described/used Cavorite.

Book review of First Men in the Moon:
The First Men in the Moon is a science-fiction pioneer book,  - one of the first of its kind. it tells the story of two men, Bedford, a trying-to-be-playwright and Cavor, an eccentric scientist. They become unlikely friends and when Cavor makes a breakthrough in his experminets and succeeds in creating Cavorite – an anti-gravity material – the two men decide to make a sphere – a vehicle out of Cavorite and journey to the moon. Their journey brings them to a fascinating new world – the moon  as they never expected it to be – full of strange, fast-growing plants, mooncalves, and moon creatures called Selenites. As they explore the moon and its life, they also discover more about mankind. The book reflects the authors views on war and mankind in general.

I loved the first part of this book the most, and as I reached the last few chapters, found my interest flagging a little but kept going as wanted to find out what happens in the end without skipping anything and was glad I did. Though there were some parts of the book that sounded like a scientific report, there is much told through those as well – moon creatures called Selenites being raised for one pre-determined purpose only, their abhorrence to war and more.
One of my favorite quotes from this book:
"Only this shows you how useless knowledge is unless you apply it."
Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) (2004-10-20). The First Men in the Moon (p. 20). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.
His descriptions of the lunar world as well as the material Cavorite and the sphere constructed to be their vehicle are amazing as well.
“Imagine it! Imagine that dawn! The resurrection of the frozen air, the stirring and quickening of the soil, and then this silent uprising of vegetation, this unearthly ascent of fleshiness and spikes. Conceive it all lit by a blaze that would make the intensest sunlight of earth seem watery and weak. And still around this stirring jungle, wherever there was shadow, lingered banks of bluish snow. And to have the picture of our impression complete, you must bear in mind that we saw it all through a thick bent glass, distorting it as things are distorted by a lens, acute only in the centre of the picture, and very bright there, and towards the edges magnified and unreal.”

Rating: C

Both the book review and the author profile go towards my various reading challenges for this year:
What's in a Name Challenge 2012
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Challenge 2012
e-Book Challenge 2012
Classics Challenge 2012


Memes:
Kathy over at Bermudaonion's Weblog hosts Wondrous Words Wednesday. If you come across a word (or two) while reading that is new to you and would like to share your new knowledge, then hop over to Kathy's place and link up!
All words today are from 'The First Men in the Moon' by H.G.Wells.
  • Flibbertigibbet: Middle English word referring to a flighty or whimsical person, usually a young woman. In modern use, it is slang for an overly talkative person. Its origin is in a meaningless representation of chattering.  
  • Besom:
    • 1. a broom, esp one made of a bundle of twigs tied to a handle
    • 2. (Team Sports / Curling) Curling a broom or brush used to sweep the ice in front of the stone to make it slide farther
  • kop·je (also kop·pie) n. S. AFRICAN a small hill in a generally flat area. from Afrikaans koppie, from Dutch kopje, diminutive of kop 'head'.
  • a·thwart prep. 1 from side to side of; across: a long counter thrown athwart the entranceway. 2 in opposition to; counter to: these statistics run sharply athwart conventional presumptions. adv. 1 across from side to side; transversely: one table running athwart was all the room would hold. 2 so as to be perverse or contradictory: our words ran athwart and we ended up at cross purposes. late Middle English
"Athwart this world we were flying scarcely a hundred miles above its crests and pinnacles."

Theme Thursdays: The word is 'very'
" I reviewed his school-days and his early manhood, and his first encounter with love, very much as one might review the proceedings of an ant in the sand."

Wells, H. G. (Herbert George) (2004-10-20). The First Men in the Moon (p. 135). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.


8 comments:

  1. I included besom in my list this week too! I found it in Tom's Midnight Garden. I love flibbertigibbet. For such a preposterous looking word it rolls off the tongue quite readily. I know I've come across it repeatedly in a movie- I just can't think of which one right now. Mary Poppins maybe. Or Monty Python?

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    1. i realized where i had heard that word before - Flibbertigibbet - from the song 'Maria' from 'The Sound of Music'! My daughter loves the 'Favorite Things' song from the movie and as she was singing it, I remembered this one:)

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  2. I also liked this book but thought it fell a bit in the middle. I agree with you that the descriptions are great.

    I haven't sat down to write my thoughts about it yet.

    http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

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    1. I agree with you.. The part of the book where the reports are transmitted from the moon to the earth was a little too long for me.. but the book overall managed to keep me occupied..

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  3. I love flibbertigibbet, but I hope I'm not one!

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    1. I most certainly turn into one many times...:)

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  4. I knew flibbertigibbet but not the others.

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    1. yes, that was the only one that sounded familiar to me though I was not sure what it exactly meant

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