THE STARTING-POINT, OUR EARTH
in which a projectile carrying three men is supposed to be shot from an enormous cannon towards the Moon. The pictures were fascinating, and it is distressing to find that the edition with the pictures seems to be out of print; at any rate, I have not been able to recover a copy, though I much wanted to reproduce some of the pictures for you on the screen. There was a terrible explosion when the cannon was fired, and how those poor men ever survived the shock is a mystery which only great writers like Jules Verne can understand. But they did survive, and had most wonderful adventures. They even had the complacency to go over their calculations again, while inside their projectile, travelling at a furious speed towards the Moon; and found that they had made a mistake! It was rather late to find it out, wasn't it? after they had started all wrong. It is better to go over such calculations twice before one commits one's safety to them; but if these particular people had done so, we should perhaps not have had such a good story. The result of the mistake was that they never reached the Moon at all, but circled round it; and by an ingenious device they ultimately came back to Earth. I hope you will read all their adventures for yourselves.
In recent times, Mr. H. G. Wells has written about a supposed visit to the Moon, called The First Men in the Moon. He had not quite the courage to explode his travellers out of a huge cannon like Jules Verne, and so he invents a curious material called Cavorite, which screens off gravity (we shall have a good deal to say about gravity in a moment).
- From the Earth to the Moon (Wikisource contributor note)