Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.
The Earth fleet remained far enough away from the Red Planet to be out of the range of the Martians’ heat rays and lightning cannons. Just over 60 spaceships were left of the 100 that had set out from Earth.
The Terrans regrouped after their defeat at the Battle of the Lake of the Sun. Because of the earlier disaster regarding their food and water barely 9 days’ worth of provisions remained to them and that was not even enough to last for the long trip back to Earth.
After discussing several options Thomas Edison okayed the plan of the American Army’s Colonel Alonzo Jefferson Smith. Smith and Serviss took overall command of 20 Terran spaceships and, while the rest of the fleet made a great display of training their disintegrator rays on the Martians below, Smith and Serviss’ detachment slipped around to the other side of the planet.
While 19 of the spaceships remained above the chemical cloud cover that the Martians had unleashed to conceal the entire planetary surface, the ship with Serviss and Colonel Smith penetrated that cover above the less-populated region of Ausonia.
Their craft deposited Smith and Serviss on the lush red lawn of an isolated structure, then withdrew to just above tree level to await the pair’s signal for more men. The Martians’ electrical lighting made it perpetual daylight under their protective cloud cover so the Earth men had no trouble making their way to the building.
A grizzly-bear sized dog-like creature – obviously guarding the structure – attacked them, only to be cut down by Colonel Smith’s expert handling of his disintegrator pistol. Inside the building Serviss and Smith spied upon 4 of the 15 ft tall Martians relaxing in large chairs and listening to beautiful music being played on a string instrument.
More shocking was the fact that the music was being played by a human woman no taller than our pair of Earth heroes. The young woman caught a glimpse of Colonel Smith and his comrade, dropped her stringed instrument in surprise, then ran to the 2 men.
The armed Martians tried to kill Garrett Serviss and Colonel Smith but in the ensuing firefight it was the quartet of Martians who were slain. The human female spoke no English but showed her rescuers around the building, which was, conveniently enough, a supply house.
Colonel Smith and Garrett summoned their waiting ship and took the human woman on board. Next they called upon the other 19 ships to come down for a quick raid of the supplies, which contained drinking water and canned red food of a cakelike substance.
Conveniently enough the drinks and the food were compatible with the systems of Terrans and as the 20 ships in the detachment set off to rejoin the main fleet Serviss and Colonel Smith attempted to learn how a human woman had wound up living among the Martians. +++
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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