THE Nth MAN (1920 – 1924?) – Written by Homer Eon Flint, who died in 1924. Though this short novel was not published until 1928 many fans of the author argue that it was actually written in 1920.
The story is set in what was then the near future of the 1930s. The Nth Man is an enormous humanoid figure with hardened skin like the shells of certain species of animals. He is supposedly 2 miles tall, but that would make many of the events in the novel impractical if not impossible.
The mysterious giant is at first regarded as half rumor and half Tall Tale as he sets the world talking with some incredible actions. He tears apart some of the Great Wall of China, he removes the head of the Sphinx and places it on top of one of the pyramids and he picks up a ship bound for Australia and carries it for thousands of miles.
Showing more cognitive purpose the Nth Man also makes off with an entire building to thwart a plot by anarchists and saves a little girl from drowning. All of the preceding deeds have been accomplished under cover of darkness but now the colossus comes out into the open, emerging from San Francisco Bay to tower over the city.
The Nth Man walks from coast to coast, easily defeating the aerial and land forces that attempt to stop him. You would think this proto-Kaiju sequence would have inspired a film adaptation long ago. The gigantic figure goes to Washington D.C. and lays down some demands from on-high.
Our titanic title figure orders the president to neuter the influence of Daly Fosburgh, a sinister George Soros-style bloated rich pig who uses his wealth to pull all the strings of government from behind the scenes. The Nth Man gives the government six months to remove the cancer of Fosburgh and his fellow plutocrats (think of garbage like Tom Steyer or the Koch Brothers) and enact legislation ensuring fair business practices or suffer his wrath.
The Nth man returns to the ocean depths to wait out the six month deadline. Many voices around the world are raised in favor of the giant’s demands. Calls are made to institute such reforms GLOBALLY, prompting the Powers That Be to feel that their privileges are in danger.
Needless to say Fosburgh has no intention of letting the government break free of his corrupt grip. Instead of complying with the Nth Man’s demands the government – acting at Daly Fosburgh’s command – instead musters an army to oppose the colossus. Special electro-magnetic weaponry is developed as the plutocrats pour money into resistance against the Nth Man.
At length the six months are up and the titanic crusader emerges from the Gulf of Mexico and marches through New Orleans on his way to meet the president. It turns out the president and his closest associates are hiding in California. The hastily-assembled army with its futuristic weaponry clashes with the Nth Man in Kansas.
After a great deal of fighting and destruction the wounded Nth Man emerges triumphant. The government surrenders to the giant and agrees that this time they will comply with his demands.
The Nth Man is feeling less than magnanimous after the way the plutocratic resistance tried to thwart his agenda and destroy him with their army. He insists on adding a new condition: Fosburgh, his fellow bloated rich pigs and their government puppets must be turned over to him to be devoured like the sea creatures he feeds on.
SPOILERS: As the colossal man is about to taint his victory by carrying out this spiteful revenge, Fosburgh’s son’s girlfriend Florence publicly appeals to the Nth Man not to literally “eat the rich.” She reveals the giant’s secret: he is Fosburgh’s own grandson.
Long ago a brilliant but poor man named George Pendleton was working his way through medical school as a chauffer for the tycoon Fosburgh. Pendleton romanced and married the fat cat’s daughter, incurring Fosburgh’s wrath.
The plutocrat used his influence to ruin the couple, since his daughter married George against his wishes. George wound up getting thrown out of medical school because of his father-in-law’s machinations and his wife killed herself, leaving Pendleton a widower and their young son Park motherless.
George Pendleton vowed to get revenge. To that end he fled with his child to the Galapagos Islands and began preparing young Park to be his means of striking back at Fosburgh and those like him and those who betray their public office to do the bidding of such men.
The embittered genius used sea turtle glandular secretions and assorted pseudo-scientific methods to dramatically increase his son’s intellect and physical size. A side-effect was the shell-like skin that Park developed due to the turtle gland secretions.
Consumed with hatred over what Fosburgh had done to him George Pendleton died fairly young and after he did his now-enormous son Park went into action as the Nth Man.
The gigantic man lingers on land long enough to ensure that the power of the plutocrats really is broken and the necessary legal reforms are enacted. With that accomplished the Nth Man returns to his life in the sea, since he has no physical or mental equals anywhere in the world. +++
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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