The First Men in the Moon – Day 10 of 82

Chapter 3: The Building of the sphere

I remember the occasion very distinctly when Cavor told me of his idea of the sphere. He had had intimations of it before, but at the time it seemed to come to him in a rush. We were returning to the bungalow for tea, and on the way he fell humming. Suddenly he shouted, “That’s it! That finishes it! A sort of roller blind!”

“Finishes what?” I asked.

“Space–anywhere! The moon.”

“What do you mean?”

“Mean? Why–it must be a sphere! That’s what I mean!”

I saw I was out of it, and for a time I let him talk in his own fashion. I hadn’t the ghost of an idea then of his drift. But after he had taken tea he made it clear to me.

“It’s like this,” he said. “Last time I ran this stuff that cuts things off from gravitation into a flat tank with an overlap that held it down. And directly it had cooled and the manufacture was completed all that uproar happened, nothing above it weighed anything, the air went squirting up, the house squirted up, and if the stuff itself hadn’t squirted up too, I don’t know what would have happened! But suppose the substance is loose, and quite free to go up?”

“It will go up at once!”

“Exactly. With no more disturbance than firing a big gun.”

“But what good will that do?”

“I’m going up with it!”

I put down my teacup and stared at him.

“Imagine a sphere,” he explained, “large enough to hold two people and their luggage. It will be made of steel lined with thick glass; it will contain a proper store of solidified air, concentrated food, water distilling apparatus, and so forth. And enamelled, as it were, on the outer steel–“



“But how will you get inside?”

“There was a similar problem about a dumpling.”

“Yes, I know. But how?”

“That’s perfectly easy. An air-tight manhole is all that is needed. That, of course, will have to be a little complicated; there will have to be a valve, so that things may be thrown out, if necessary, without much loss of air.”

“Like Jules Verne’s thing in A Trip to the Moon.”

But Cavor was not a reader of fiction.

“I begin to see,” I said slowly. “And you could get in and screw yourself up while the Cavorite was warm, and as soon as it cooled it would become impervious to gravitation, and off you would fly–“

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