Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.
As the Earth spaceships drew nearer to the asteroid upon which a variety of Martian spacecraft lay landed and crashed the Martians – 15 feet tall with oversized heads – opened fire with their heat ray weapons. The Earth ships returned fire with the disintegrator rays Edison had devised based on Martian technology.
Two Earth ships and their entire crew were destroyed, so at length Edison ordered the entire fleet to back away from the asteroid in hopes of exceeding the range of the heat rays. At last the fleet reached a point at which the heat rays simply subjected the vessels to intense heat but no melting or loss of life. A bit further and Earth’s forces had sufficient space to regroup and mount another strategy.
The fleet now approached the asteroid in several small groups and from multiple directions at once. The Martians could not cover all sides at the same time and so the disintegrator guns of the Earth’s spaceships – manned by the best gunners of the American Army and Navy – soon left just one Martian alive on the asteroid’s surface.
Edison wanted the lone remaining Martian taken alive and with his flagship in the lead a few Earth vessels landed on the asteroid. Away teams of astronauts, led by Edison himself, were dispatched from some of the ships in their space suits. Some inspected the wreckage of the Martians’ ships while others explored the asteroid to see what the ships from the Red Planet might have been doing there.
Edison personally shot a knockout bullet at the lone surviving Martian, who fell down unconscious, then was bound and taken captive. The asteroid was a rich source of gold, as discovered by (the real life) Professor Moissan, the Science Officer of one of Earth’s ships. It turned out the Martian regulars had been fighting over the gold with pirates of their own race, accounting for the spacecraft that were shot down before the Earth fleet had even arrived on the scene.
At one point the captive Martian had come to and seemed on the verge of death. Through rough non-verbal communication the Martian conveyed to his captors the fact that he needed a pill from his case. Serviss, Edison and the others soon realized the pills allowed the Martians to breathe in the vacuum of space without need of space suits.
Suddenly some of the Earth ships sent off to patrol the vicinity returned to the asteroid with the alarming news that more Martians were on their way. +++
I WILL EXAMINE ADDITIONAL PARTS SOON. CHECK BACK ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FOR UPDATES.
FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
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