Tag Archives: space ships

THE STOLEN PLANET (1906): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Stolen PlanetTHE STOLEN PLANET (1906) – Written by John Mastin. Jervis Meredith, a wealthy young British man and his equally wealthy friend Fraser Burnley are so brilliant they invent anti-gravity. Next the young tycoons have a spaceship built so they  can use their anti-gravity device to tour outer space.

The battleship-sized craft is named The Regina and combines propellers with Meredith and Burnley’s anti-gravity invention. The friends set off with a ten-man crew and – oddly enough – they are so paranoid about people stealing their secrets they have rigged an elaborate bugging system throughout the Regina so they can know what the crew members talk about.

The explorers make the eccentric decision to explore the region around Sirius first, rather than our own solar system. Enroute the Regina accidentally pulls an uncharted planet out of its orbit (?) and causes it to collide with another uncharted planet. This collision causes a new sun to be born. (Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember that this was apparently a big idea for a time since a lot of these old stories feature suns forming from colliding planets.)

Eventually our heroes decide to explore some planets on their way to the star Sirius. On the first planet they visit the explorers find enormous ruins obviously built by a gigantic race that is now extinct. The structures were beautiful from what can be made out and are made of materials unknown on Earth.

Jervis and Fraser – British to the core – “annex” the planet in the name of the King of England. They name the world Silens and soon find the atmosphere to be so radioactive they must leave before they suffer permanent damage.

Next the Regina survives an encounter with a comet, then lands on another planet. This one is many times the size of Earth and with gravity thousands of times greater. All the animals of this planet (Inimicus Ingens) are gigantic compared to Earth animals. Even germs are so large they are visible to the naked eye.

The explorers are captured by the world’s enormous humanoids but manage to escape the beings with a spunky alien sea creature as their new mascot. A guided missile that the aliens shoot at the Regina fails to hit it. Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): THE CONCLUSION

MARSBalladeer’s Blog concludes its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART TWELVE

Soon the freed Earthwoman Aina (ah-EEE-nuh) was fluent enough in English and the High Command of the Terran fleet were well-versed enough in the ancient tongue of Aina’s people AND the Martians’ own language. In the present state of affairs Aina could understand and be understood enough that Edison, Serviss, Colonel Smith and the others could make clear to the former slave-girl their strategic needs.

When Aina gave the Earthmen a breakdown on all that she and her people had learned during their servitude on the Red Planet a plan came to mind. Thomas Edison’s strategy took the shape of the soon-to-be- formula “unstoppable army who can be defeated by a single quick blow inflicted at a ridiculously obvious point of weakness.” Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART ELEVEN

The Martian moon Deimos

The Martian moon Deimos

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART ELEVEN

The 20 spaceships in the detachment commanded by Garrett Serviss and Colonel Alonzo Jefferson Smith rejoined the main fleet commanded by Thomas Edison. That main fleet was continuing its bombardment of the Martian forts and cities below with their disintegrator guns while trying to remain just outside of the range of the Martians’ lightning cannons. (I know “cannon” can also be plural but many people don’t so to avoid confusion I use “cannons” instead) 

Serviss and Smith informed Edison about the success of their raid to obtain supplies for the entire fleet and then revealed the other find from their raid: the captive Earth woman whom the Martians had been using as a slave. 

With the dire supply problem solved Edison decided to have the Terran fleet withdraw to the Martian moon of Deimos. The remaining 60-plus Earth ships landed on the side of that moon that was always faced away from the Red Planet. Patrols in camouflaged space suits were posted on the far horizon to keep a watch on Mars with telescopes to prevent any surprise attacks.     Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART TEN

Edison's Conquest of MarsBalladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART TEN

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.  Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART NINE

Edison's Conquest of Mars 8Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART NINE

As the black chemical cloud succeeded in hiding the entire surface of Mars from the Earth fleet’s view the men on board the spaceships began choking and suffocating as the strange fumes somehow slipped through microscopic pores on the hulls. 

Thomas Edison ordered the fleet to pull far enough away from the Red Planet that they would all be safe from the chemical smoke, which was limited to the Martian atmosphere. While the various commanders tried to plot a new attack strategy it was discovered that most of the food supplies on each of the Earth ships had been destroyed by leaks.

The fleet only had enough provisions left for 10 days, which was not even long enough for the return trip to Earth. The Terran forces now had no choice: they must somehow acquire food and water from the planet below or die. Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART EIGHT

Edison's Conquest of Mars 7Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART EIGHT

The Earth fleet departed from the asteroid and resumed course for Mars. To pass the time the flagship’s linguists began working with the 15 feet tall Martian captive in an attempt at communication. Some progress was made, enhanced by the captive’s possession of a book, thus giving the linguists a look at the written language of the Red Planet.   

After 23 days the Earth fleet at last reached Mars. Edison commanded the Terran ships to observe and map the planet below so that an overall strategy could be outlined. Mars featured several continents, all criss-crossed with the canals people were convinced Mars possessed back then. Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART SEVEN

Edison's Conquest of Mars 6Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART SEVEN

The newly-arrived Martian spacecraft set down on the asteroid where the Earth’s forces had won their initial skirmish with the beings of the Red Planet. From within the craft emerged another squadron of the 15 ft tall aliens with oversized heads. Edison had made all of the Earth ships refrain from firing on the Martians before they could land, hoping that this show of mercy might open the possibility of peace.

Edison was to be disappointed, as the Martians used their heat-ray guns to open fire on the Earthlings. The Terrans returned fire with their disintegrator guns and the battle was on. Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART SIX

Edison's Conquest of Mars 5Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART SIX

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.   Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART FIVE

Comet 2Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART FIVE

Next came a sort of cul-de-sac in the story as the entire Earth fleet of one hundred spaceships got trapped in the gravitational pull of a gigantic comet that was headed for a collision with the sun. The comet was full of unknown cosmic energies which were wreaking havoc on the operating systems of each of the space craft. Continue reading

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EDISON’S CONQUEST OF MARS (1898): PART FOUR

Edison's Conquest of Mars 4Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of Garrett P Serviss’ odd sequel to Fighters From Mars, his blatant imitation of War of the Worlds.

PART FOUR

Garrett Serviss (our narrator), Thomas Edison and Earth’s space fleet of 100 ships descended to the moon. The plan was to effect repairs to the ship damaged by its collision with a meteor and bury the men killed in the accident.  

The fleet landed at Cape Heraclides because the expedition discovered the ruins of an ancient watchtower there. The size of each stone in the ruins was equal to an entire house back on Earth. The long-dead race on the moon were apparently gigantic. In a solemn ceremony the dead astronauts were buried in the lunar soil with that enormous monument also marking their resting place.  Continue reading

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