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The Germ Growers


Added Wed, 16/05/2018
Release date
Original title
The Germ Growers

The Irish writer and clergyman from Australia Robert Potter published in 1892 a science fiction novel "The Germ Growers" ("The Germ Growers: The Strange Adventures of Robert Easterley and John Wilbraham"). It is considered to be the first work that tells about the invasion of aliens on Earth – representatives of the race of inhabitants of the interplanetary "ether", capable of taking human form, controlling people's consciousness and teleporting. They decide to build laboratories on Earth where they cultivate pathogenic bacteria, which they are going to use as a biological weapon against humanity.

Despite the fact that the work is currently in the public domain, we were unable to find its translation into Russian. Therefore, here we give a free translation of the title of the novel, as well as its summary, without delving into that part of the narrative that does not directly concern the phenomenon. The novel consists of 11 chapters and is written in the first person.

At first, the novel seems to be an ordinary story about the journey of friends on a new earth. Then a conspiracy of scientists appears in the plot, and towards the end of the narrative, ethereal entities arise. But even the final part is more of a philosophical discussion about life and its meaning, about man and humanity, about good and evil and their confrontation. There is a direct analogy with angels and demons in the narrative: shadow-like creatures are trying to kill earthlings, and bright glowing ethereal entities are trying to save them.

This novel is considered to be the first science fiction work published in Australia, and the first book in English-language literature about an alien invasion. This work is considered a direct predecessor of H. G. Wells' "War of the Worlds".

It's interesting 

The novel "Producers of microbes" ("The Germ Growers: The Strange Adventures of Robert Easterley and John Wilbraham", 1892) by Robert Potter is considered the first work that tells about the invasion of aliens on Earth – representatives of the race of inhabitants of the interplanetary "ether", capable of taking human form, controlling people's consciousness and teleporting.  They decide to build laboratories on Earth where they cultivate pathogenic bacteria, which they are going to use as a biological weapon against humanity.

The novel "Producers of microbes" ("The Germ Growers: The Strange Adventures of Robert Easterley and John Wilbraham", 1892) by Robert Potter is considered to be a direct precursor to The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, published in 1897.

CHAPTER I. Disappearances (Disappearances). The author begins the narrative with a description of the life of the main character - a teenager - in a small settlement called Pendokdok. The locals often told mystical stories and were quite superstitious. At some point, the author realized that the heroes of these stories are real. Sometimes he noticed some shadows near him, similar to the shadows of clouds, which suddenly appeared and disappeared. It reminded him of stories about invisible celestial machines, which could only be seen by the shadows they cast. At some point, the author learns that his friend, a guy named James Redpath, who has rather violent tendencies, has disappeared somewhere.

CHAPTER II. Red disease (The Red Sickness). Some unknown disease, similar to the plague, is beginning to spread on the territory of the town. Two local doctors are trying to understand the reasons for its origin. One of them has the idea that the causative agent of the disease was bred on purpose.

CHAPTER III. In the sea (At Sea). The author tells how the main character goes to study, and then, after Oxford, together with his friend Jack Wilbraham goes by ship to Australia. There, from a new acquaintance, they hear several more stories about mysterious events similar to what happened in the town of Pendokdok. They argue with him for a long time about the nature of the supernatural. After that, the friends decide to do business with their new acquaintance and ask to take them with them as assistants when laying the land wire to Port Darwin.

CHAPTER IV. Overland (Overland). The whole company arrives in Adelaide and moves on to the port of Darwin by land. Then there is a story about traveling around the country with a dark-skinned guide Gioro.

CHAPTER V. Among the Blacks. The company continues its journey until it discovers several dozen bonfires burning along the shore. People are dancing around the bonfires. They approach the camp and, thanks to the guide, they are allowed to stay. It turns out that the tribe knows a lot about stars (fiery spears thrown into the sky) and about constellations. During the further journey, Gioro is killed.

CHAPTER VI. Left Alone. Left without a guide, the friends decide to return to civilization. Suddenly, on one of the hills, they notice a strange man in a long coat, who quickly disappears. They continue their journey, focusing on the stars. During one of the halts, the main character sees a strange shadow again. They reach the cave in the rock.

CHAPTER VII. Mechanisms (The Cars). In the wide opening of the rock, travelers notice small houses without chimneys, as well as strange mechanisms. They see some people standing near the platform. Their faces look strange. Friends decide to approach them. People accept them, provide food, clean clothes, the opportunity to wash and tidy up. These people speak a language unknown to travelers and seem very intelligent. Their leader introduces himself as Signor Davelli. He rides his friends in a balloon, and the main character notices a clear similarity between the shadow of the balloon and those mysterious shadows that they have seen before.

CHAPTER VIII. Signor Davelli. The next morning, friends discuss who the mysterious people can be, comparing Signor Davelli with the devil. The main character tells about his observations of strange shadows. They decide to stock up on provisions and escape. Next, the main character talks to Signor Davelli and learns about his true etheric essence. Among the people working on machines and platforms, he meets his missing childhood friend James Redpath. After that, the friends go to bed.

CHAPTER IX. Seeds (The Seed Beds). After waking up, the main character again tries to come up with an escape plan, as well as get more information about the creatures and their activities and understand why they haven't been killed yet. He learns that these people are engaged in the excretion of microorganisms. The main character sees through a telescope how one of the people in the laboratory, who was watching microorganisms through a microscope, loses the bandage that protected the respiratory organs, after which he falls and evaporates in a matter of minutes. It turns out that these creatures create deadly bacteriological weapons that are harmless to themselves. Signor Davelli offers the main character to become one of them. He decides to escape with a friend on one of the flying alien mechanisms.

CHAPTER X. Sir Lyafar (Leäfar). When the friends are about to run away, a bright clot of pink light appears in their room. He takes human form and calls himself Sir Lyafar. He warns that they are in danger, and also explains the work of the ether and ethereal beings, as well as their goals. The friends are again developing an escape plan and waiting for the right time.

CHAPTER XI. Escape (Escape). Friends get into one of the balloons and move to freedom. Several shadows are sent after them. They hide until food and water run out and they have to get to the people and the telegraph. After both recuperate, they move on. They manage to get to their final destination (Port Darwin), and then return to Adelaide by steamer.

The conclusion, which tells about how the main character, on whose behalf the story is being narrated, decided to describe his adventures in the book, as well as about the happy life of two friends in Queensland.

Phenomena in artwork: UFO

Machines that move the aliens represent a huge balloons with a metal cabin (the author mentions that this stuff only looks like metal, but actually is not). They are quite agile and have an excellent disguise: from the point of view of an observer they look like a lone cloud casting a shadow.

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

Phenomena in artwork: The Alien

The aliens in the book are not aliens, and creatures living in the "space air". They look and dress like men. They have their own language but they can speak in earthly languages. The alien is able to lead people into a trance and bent to his will. The book emphasizes the mind, endurance and cruelty. They are not only immortal but can't breed and this is why I want to make the main character or his friend one of his own kind. There are also good aliens, the representative of which helped the heroes to escape.

The author describes their leader as a stately and majestic person. The leader talks about the representatives of the people as some kind of "air" that can take shape in human form:

Space is the boundless, and wherever there is a space for me to have habitat. The form in which I live, is the only dress that I wear when coming to live among you. I can take it off and live in space, I can wear it and get back to you.

The author describes it "the lifting dress" as follows:

Suppose that the great mass of metal so rapidly melts and evaporates that he has no time to fall to the ground as the liquid and it rises into the air as a gas. It happened with the body of this unusual man. When I looked at him, I never saw his body, he pulsed huge mass, apparently, is a liquid substance. Then it significantly increased in size and went up like the smoke of a great furnace. And as it happened he was getting thinner and thinner, until there was the slightest trace. How much time was required for this transformation, I'm not spotted. My feeling is it took less than five minutes. After discussion, Jack and I tended more to the fact that, although I certainly watched a succession of changes, the whole transformation and the disappearance was almost instantaneous.

Jack didn't say a word, we were both stunned. Partially recovered, we went to the place where stood Mr. Davalli, and saw the sandals, hat and coat that he wore. Jack picked up these items one by one, looked at them and handed to me. The material is not one of them was damaged.

To some extent this description is reminiscent of descriptions of cases of spontaneous human combustion, where people like evaporates completely, and his clothes and his items are absolutely not damaged.

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

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