Norm Davis's Reviews > The First Men in the Moon

The First Men in the Moon by H.G. Wells
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's review
Jun 23, 12

bookshelves: adventure-suspense, fantasy, mystery, philosophy, science-fiction
Recommended to Norm by: "Read the Classics"
Recommended for: Pre Golden era science fiction fans
Read from June 16 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

In this novel Wells is incredibly detailed in his descriptions of the locations and events. It is as if you were there. It is no wonder that when his “War of the Worlds” was performed on radio many decades ago the folks listening on the radio show had taken the radio performance as reality.

Mr. Wells builds incredible sentences that build upon themselves until the reader has no choice but to imagine the content so very precisely. That makes it “artsy” in my book and who would imagine an ancient science fiction novel would be classic literature? Another confession of inadequacy … Mr. Wells’s vocabulary is miles beyond my meager college augmented education. While I’m primarily listening to a LibroVox audio rendition I’m also following along in an ebook and if I were to pause the recording when I needed to look up each word I need look up I would necessarily lose track of the genuinely interesting story that develops.

Now as to the content: Really? There is a concept in consuming science fiction, and fiction in general, that is “suspension of disbelief”. It may take reading 40% of this novel before you’ve dropped your resistance entirely to the ridiculous premises and obvious errors in science and fact but once you do… there is a great little story going on here.

Mr. Wells could not have imagined more incorrectly for the time the novel is written. Some of it is still thought provoking. At the first, devising an apparatus to travel to the moon…, I can sincerely see how those imaginings were not fantasy but science fiction in that day. Naturally today it is fantasy and we know how ridiculous his imaginings were, but we have to give Mr. Wells credit for provoking the ideas of traveling to the moon and the great adventures that may be upon us there. In the reality going to the moon was a great adventure that we are still learning from more than 40 years later.

One writer’s work doesn’t become a classic just by being old. It also has to be good. While I’m dishing out 3 stars, the story could easily be given 4 stars, and if it was 90 or 100 years ago I would be excited to hand out 5 stars.. My reluctance primarily is in that 100+ years that has passed. I can see from that era how the scientific ideas could hold some water, but reading it today it is just too big a stretch. Mr. Wells tells a pretty good story just the same. There were a few extremely tense moments where you realize you do care for these characters, shallow as they may be. And it is difficult not to like or dislike some of the characters. If you pay attention you can also see the references to the cutting edge science of the day, including the social sciences, politics, manners, etc. that all add color to this novel.
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