Edison: 1, Mars: 0
November 17, 2005 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Edison's Conquest of Mars! Garrett P. Serviss' unofficial, 1898 sequel to War of the Worlds, featuring Thomas Edison and Lord Kelvin as the heroes. It seems this book originated the space battle and the ray-gun, not to mention the aliens-built-the-pyramids plot. Sounds like a blast.
posted by brundlefly (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never heard of this book before, but wow, I think I've gotta find me a copy!

Thanks, brundlefly :)
posted by starscream at 3:52 PM on November 17, 2005

I'd never heard of this before either. Cool find.
posted by tkchrist at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2005

Is it just me, or is Mars about to be attacked by a giant, antique dildo?
posted by doctor_negative at 4:04 PM on November 17, 2005

Fantastic. Thank you.
posted by david wester at 4:06 PM on November 17, 2005

So, this Edison: it vibrates?
posted by FYKshun at 4:07 PM on November 17, 2005

Cool, thanks.
posted by blahblahblah at 4:09 PM on November 17, 2005

Scans of the book.
posted by hrbrmstr at 4:26 PM on November 17, 2005

Stuff like this always makes me think of that Origin game "Martian Dreams." Loved it...
posted by banishedimmortal at 4:47 PM on November 17, 2005

Sounds like a blast.

Sounds like the plot to Worlds of Ultima: Martian Dreams.
posted by wfrgms at 4:51 PM on November 17, 2005

Reminds me of Planetary #18, "The Gun Club".
posted by yerfatma at 5:12 PM on November 17, 2005

The library I work has it coupled with another book called "War of the Wenuses" by Graves and Lucas.

"The pale pink planet Wenus, as I need hardly inform the sober reader, revolves round the sun at a mean distance of 'X' vermillion miles. More than that, ... its orbit is steadily but surely advancing sunward. That is to say, it is rapidly becoming too hot for clothes to be worn at all..."

Sounds dirty.
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 5:26 PM on November 17, 2005

I have never heard of this. At first I was afraid it was a hoax, but after following hrbrmstr's link, I think I can allow myself to be convinced. This is freaking awesome.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:32 PM on November 17, 2005

Unofficial sequel to War of the Worlds... so it's century-old fan-fiction?

This is an awesome find - thank you.
posted by wanderingmind at 6:02 PM on November 17, 2005

hrbrmstr: Thanks for the scans! I love how it opens with the destruction of New York. That's a hell of a way to START a book. Can't read it that way, of course. I'm really going to have to order a physical copy.
posted by brundlefly at 7:21 PM on November 17, 2005

Mentioned in the book War Stars by Philip Slater. The reason Slater gives for this being written is markedly different than the one on the website blurb. Slater's explanation of the origins of this story is that this was thinly veiled pro-Spanish-American-war agitprop concocted by the yellow-press Hearst newspapers as a sort of counter to the original War of the Worlds, a thinly veiled anti-Spanish-American-war agitprop.

Or maybe some dude just got really pissed after reading the original War of the Worlds and decided to write a sequel where the humans get revenge. Who knows.
posted by Ndwright at 8:49 PM on November 17, 2005

Wow! I looked into that War Stars book, and it sounds facinating. I'll probably get it, but any details on this version of the story? War of the Worlds as anti-Spanish-American-War agitprop? How? It's one of my favorite books, but I've never seen a political interpretation of it....
posted by brundlefly at 11:36 PM on November 17, 2005

Anyone actually manage to get through the ordering process on the CG Publishing site (first URL)? Despite finding the scans, I'd prefer a physical copy.

It's - apparantly - even a collector's item. An original "first edition" run copy of it is going for $472.50 on Amazon.

I also managed to find an excerpt from a Google Print scan of War of the Worlds: Fresh Perspectives on the H. G. Wells Classic which discusses a bit more about the history (and even mentions the Spanish-American war bit).
posted by hrbrmstr at 5:02 AM on November 18, 2005

argh! - "apparently". Apologies. (I even previewed) Must...remember...no...typing...before...coffee...
posted by hrbrmstr at 5:04 AM on November 18, 2005

Brundlefly, basically he says that War of the Worlds was meant to be what imperialism, extremely prevalent at the time in almost all nations of Europe and the U.S., looked like from the conquered individual's perspective. Naturally, he couldn't just come out and say "I'm against the war", It was way too popular. So he took a popular genre of fiction at the time, the "future-war" genre, and rather than making the invaders of America chinese or jews or african-americans or whoever it was popular to be afraid of at the time, he made them Martians. And, to further twist the genre, rather than have us triumph at the end over the "impure races" as was generally the trend of that genre, he made it so we basically lost. Slater also mentions the fact that Wells takes great pains not to make many moral judgements against the Martians, we are merely inferior forms of life to them and we have done much the same to our fellow humans.
posted by Ndwright at 6:20 AM on November 18, 2005 [1 favorite]

For those interested:

(I don't know how to fpp)

And for some reason I wrote Philip Slater as the author in my earlier posts. It was Howard Bruce Franklin, not Philip Slater.
posted by Ndwright at 6:25 AM on November 18, 2005

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