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|The First Men In The Moon||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
The Building of the sphere
|Page 2 of 5||
I sat taking it in.
"You see?" he said.
"Oh, I see."
"Practically we shall be able to tack about in space just as we wish. Get attracted by this and that."
"Oh, yes. That's clear enough. Only - "
" Well? "
"I don't quite see what we shall do it for! It's really only jumping off the world and back again."
"Surely! For example, one might go to the moon."
"And when one got there? What would you find? "
"We should see - Oh! consider the new knowledge."
"Is there air there? "
"There may be."
"It's a fine idea," I said, "but it strikes me as a large order all the same. The moon! I'd much rather try some smaller things first."
"They're out of the question, because of the air difficulty."
"Why not apply that idea of spring blinds - Cavorite blinds in strong steel cases - to lifting weights?"
"It wouldn't work," he insisted. "After all, to go into outer space is not so much worse, if at all, than a polar expedition. Men go on polar expeditions."
"Not business men. And besides, they get paid for polar expeditions. And if anything goes wrong there are relief parties. But this - it's just firing ourselves off the world for nothing."
"Call it prospecting."
"You'll have to call it that. ... One might make a book of it perhaps," I said.
"I have no doubt there will be minerals," said Cavor.
"For example? "
"Oh! sulphur, ores, gold perhaps, possibly new elements."
"Cost of carriage," I said. "You know you're not a practical man. The moon's a quarter of a million miles away."
"It seems to me it wouldn't cost much to cart any weight anywhere if you packed it in a Cavorite case."
I had not thought of that. "Delivered free on head of purchaser, eh? "
"It isn't as though we were confined to the moon."
"You mean? "
"There's Mars - clear atmosphere, novel surroundings, exhilarating sense of lightness. It might be pleasant to go there."
"Is there air on Mars? "
"Oh, yes! "
"Seems as though you might run it as a sanatorium. By the way, how far is Mars? "
"Two hundred million miles at present," said Cavor airily; "and you go close by the sun."
My imagination was picking itself up again. "After all," I said, there's something in these things. There's travel -"
An extraordinary possibility came rushing into my mind. Suddenly I saw, as in a vision, the whole solar system threaded with Cavorite liners and spheres deluxe. "Rights of pre-emption," came floating into my head - planetary rights of pre-emption. I recalled the old Spanish monopoly in American gold. It wasn't as though it was just this planet or that - it was all of them. I stared at Cavor's rubicund face, and suddenly my imagination was leaping and dancing. I stood up, I walked up and down; my tongue was unloosened.
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|The First Men In The Moon
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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