The First Men in the Moon Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The First Men in the Moon

One of H.G. Wells classic novels, The First Men in the Moon was his story of mankind's initial journey to and contact with life on the moon. Misters Bedford and Cavor travel via a spherical spaceship. Mr. Cavor designs the ship after discovering an elementary material that shields the Earth's gravity therefore providing the propulsion needed to launch the craft. The journey is difficult as is the lunar landing. The men are amazed at their enhanced abilities on the moon due to its weakened gravitational pull.
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The two men are discovered and captured by Selenites (later called moonies), large nearly human-sized ants that walk upright on their hind legs. They are taken below the surface into the subterranean world of the ant people. The men rebel against their captors and flee to the moon's surface but struggle to relocate the hidden sphere. After splitting up, Cavor is captured and leaves a note telling of his bondage. Bedford returns to Earth with several mementos of his adventure, two crowbars and a thick chain, all of which are made out of gold. Bedford is fortunate to land in the sea off the English coast and finds helpful locals to assist in his rehabilitation. Unfortunately the sphere is launched by a curious young boy and lost forever in space.

Cavor is able to send messages from the moon to Earth unaware that Bedford had returned. He describes aspects of the moonies society, geography and biology. He is able to communicate with the smartest moonie, the Grand Lunar, but reveals man's darker warlike tendencies sealing his fate. Bedford's dreams of returning to harvest the gold rich planet were dashed as well.

Already famous for The Time Machine, The Island Of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds; The First Men in the Moon, written in 1903, was H.G. Wells' first science fiction novel of the 20th century.   He believed that objects in space would float weightlessly, humans walking on the moon would be able to cover larger distances in their movements compared to Earth, spaceships re-entering Earth's atmosphere would generate tremendous heat and come in at an angle not straight down. He continuously created characters at odds with one another's philosophical beliefs, Cavor the pacifist inspired by science for man's benefit; Bedford the practical but belligerent man wanting to exploit technology for financial gains.
The review of this Book prepared by David Fletcher

In 1899, a playwright named Bedford runs into an eccentric scientist named Cavor on the coast of England. Cavor has been working on a metal alloy that will block gravity waves, and builds a spherical craft with shutters made of this material that can be open and shut, with the effect of making the craft alternately impervious and responsive to gravity. The two men pilot the craft to the moon, where they explore in the very thin atmosphere and much lighter gravitational conditions, but run afoul of some insect-like creatures who live below the surface, raise and eat giant "mooncalves" measuring 80 feet around and 200 feet in length, and vary a lot in their own shapes and capabilities. Gold and other valuable minerals are also in evidence, but taken prisoner, can the two men escape and return to Earth? Wells's story is reasonably engaging, although the basic story ends about 4/5 of the way through, with a coda that reads a bit like sociocultural history and scientific reports.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The First Men in the Moon

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 30% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Explore/1st contact/ enviro story    -   Yes Explore:    -   exploring a wondrous planet or phenomena Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   writer Age:    -   20's-30's


Terrain    -   Domed/Underground City Which planet?    -   Earth's Moon Earth setting:    -   19th century Spaceship setting:    -   primative (present, near future) human spaceship Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Takes place in spaceship?    -   Yes Not Earth, in Solar System?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   a moderate amount of scientific explanation    -   a fair amount of scientific explanation How much dialogue?    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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H.G. Wells Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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