All Hail the Hack Writer – Especially This Hack Writer

The 6 Most Important Sci-Fi Ideas (Were Invented by a Hack) – by Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells is credited as one of the most influential science fiction books ever written, having introduced ideas like super-advanced aliens coming to Earth and said aliens hating the shit out of us and trying to wipe us out. Even though it was published as a novel all the way back in 1898, it’s seen as the blueprint for every alien invasion blockbuster released more than a century later. This article isn’t about that book.

In the same year, a writer named Garrett P. Serviss crapped out an unauthorized sequel to Wells’ book called Edison’s Conquest of Mars, in which famed inventor Thomas Edison turns the tables on the aliens from The War of the Worlds by flying to Mars and killing all of them with his revenge boner — it’s the Victorian-era equivalent of shameless straight-to-DVD crapfests like Transmorphers and Titanic II.

Also, it was one of the most revolutionary sci-fi novels ever written.

That’s right — many fundamental elements of science fiction as we know it can be tracked back to this cheap knockoff, not the classic it was ripping off. Like …

Read it all


Handheld disintegrators!


Space battles!

“Reverse the polarity!”

Space mining!

Aliens built the pyramids!

Aliens abducted people!

It’s all there in one book nobody ever heard of, by a writer whose name is…huh? If we didn’t know better we’d swear Cracked.Com was spoofing us. But we clicked on the article’s Edison’s Conquest of Mars link and guess what? An entire ebook is there, at the Project Gutenberg site.

We luv you, Garrett P. Serviss

2 thoughts on “All Hail the Hack Writer – Especially This Hack Writer”

  1. I never heard of this before, but it is amazing that all these ideas are in there. Did Edison pay this guy to write it? On the first page there is this sentence: “The force of the explosion may be imagined when it is recollected that they had to give the car a velocity of more than seven miles per second in order to overcome the attraction of the earth and the resistance of the atmosphere.” This is commonly called escape velocity. I don’t know if the number is right, but in the 1890’s how many people in the world even knew that there was such a thing?

    1. My impression is that Edison commissioned Serviss’s novel, but I’m not sure if I’m reading too closely or not closely enough. Regardless, this is, to me, very significant. Thanks, Garrett…and thank you, RR.

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