For a scenic browse, and an answer-page for Guess The World...
...what artists! You might quarrel with their taste, for no line anywhere in any of the three statues had any beauty. You could not say a word against their skill. Except for the head and face inside each headpiece, which obviously could not be attempted in such a medium, they were perfect. Photographic accuracy had never reached such a point on earth. And though they were faceless you could see from the set of their shoulders, and indeed of their whole bodies, that a momentary pose had been exactly seized. Each was the statue of a man turning to look behind him. Months of work had doubtless gone to the carving of each; it caught that instantaneous gesture like a stone snap-shot.
Jenkins' idea was now to send his message at once. Before anything happened to himself, Earth must hear this amazing news... He was happy now. He had escaped his destiny...
Up from behind the shoulders of his own shadow another shadow pushed its way along the dazzling rock...
C S Lewis, Form of Things Unknown (in Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories (1966)
...Their respite was brief. The young leader called them sharply to their feet, for a quick look back had shown the angry twisting vapour creeping its way towards them. In near panic they staggered along crazily until a further glance behind showed the Mist was farther away.
"Keep it up," panted Chris. "We'll get a bit farther ahead, and then we'll have a rest."
When the explorers had put about a quarter of a mile between them and their evil enemy, the leader called a halt. Thankfully they laid the unconscious boy down and sat for a few precious moments gathering strength. Their heads were much clearer now they had escaped from the clutches of the Mist. Perhaps Tony, too, would soon come round. Unfortunately there was little they could do for him while he was sealed inside his suit except to increase slightly his oxygen supply.
"Come on," Chris called, "it's getting nearer."
True enough, the twisting grey mass had edged forward to within less than a couple of hundred yards....
Hugh Walters, Moon Base One (1961)
... He had only to see a thing done once - or at most twice - to be able to repeat the motions involved.
"And," said Worden, carefully detached, "he isn't afraid of me now. He understands that I intend to be friendly. While I was carrying him I talked to him. He felt the vibration of my chest from my voice.
"Just before I left him I picked him up and talked to him again. He looked at my mouth as it moved and put his paw on my chest to feel the vibrations. I put his paw at my throat. The vibrations are clearer there. He seemed fascinated. I don't know how you'd rate his intelligence but it's above that of a human baby."
Then he said with even greater detachment, "I am disturbed. If you must know, I don't like the idea of exterminating his kind. They have tools - they have intelligence. I think we should try to communicate with them in some way - try to make friends - stop killing them for dissection."
The communicator was silent...
Murray Leinster, Keyhole (Thrilling Wonder Stories, December 1951)
...Our dazed eyes, moving from that gigantic transparent roof to the vista about us, we saw that there stretched away in all directions to the horizons a smooth level plain, a great plain that was covered as far as the eye could reach by buildings! Buildings of metal, buildings like none that man had ever looked upon before, surely; buildings that towered for thousands of feet, many of them, through the dusk toward the transparent roof far above! Buildings that were many-sided, angle polyhedrons, that were like great faceted diamonds of metal, that were like giant metal crystals ranged in rows and streets! In their angled, faceted sides were set circles of soft glowing white light...
that strange, great city swarmed with life! For here and there across
and above it there flitted smoothly in ceaseless swarms scores and
hundreds of great flat circles, throbbing from building-roof to roof,
circles upon which we could see dark figures. Figures erect and
bulbous, their bodies cased in shells, their short limbs ending in
webbed and taloned paws, their great heads reptilian and tapering, borne
on snake-like heads!
Edmond Hamilton, The Other Side of the Moon (Amazing Stories Quarterly, Fall 1929)
...Several miles from the ship rose foothills which climbed picturesquely toward the cloudy heights of the loftier mountains behind them, and as we looked in the direction of those latter, and then out across the forest, there was appreciable to us a strangeness that at first we could not explain, but which we later discovered was due to the fact that there was no horizon, the distance that one could see being dependent solely upon one's power of vision. The general effect was of being in the bottom of a tremendous bowl, with sides so high that one might not see the top.
ground about us was covered with rank vegetation of pale hues -
lavenders, violets, pinks and yellows predominating. Pink grasses which
became distinctly flesh-color at maturity grew in abundance, and the
stalks of most of the flowering plants were of this same peculiar hue.
The flowers themselves were often of highly complex form, of pale and
delicate shades, of great size and rare beauty. There were low shrubs
that bore a berry-like fruit, and many of the trees of the forest
carried fruit of considerable size and of a variety of forms and
Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Moon Maid (1923)
...he was eating this coarse brown grass, using his forefeet or apelike hands to feed himself. He walked erect like a man, but his arms were long enough to reach the ground. His body was hairless, but the skin was thick and full of wrinkles, like that of an elephant. The head was quite small and presented an apelike appearance. The ears were almost invisible, while two grotesque holes in the face served as nostrils. The jaw was large and massive, but I was unable to see the teeth, to determine whether or not he was entirely herbivorous. His chest was much smaller than one would expect to find on a creature living in a rarefied atmosphere. The abdomen was unusually large, which caused me to think their eating habits were about the same as those of our cattle, who fill their stomachs at opportune times and chew the food at their leisure.
legs were short and thick, but showed unusual muscular development,
which did not seem necessary on a world where the force of gravity was
so weak. But his feet were the strangest part of his anatomy. No
creature of the earth ever had feet like these. They looked like large,
flat caricatures of human feet, but their width was greater than the
height of the grotesque creature himself, and the length of the feet was
in proportion to the width. If it were not for their use they would
look more like big leathery blankets than feet...
R H Romans, The Moon Conquerors (Science Wonder Quarterly, Winter 1930)
hunted for a time with a certain intentness, but the heat was still
very great, and the thinness of the air felt like a hoop about one's
chest. I came presently into a hollow basin bristling with tall, brown,
dry fronds about its edge, and I sat down under these to rest and
cool. I intended to rest for only a little while. I put down my clubs
beside me, and sat resting my chin on my hands. I saw with a sort of
colourless interest that the rocks of the basin, where here and there
the crackling dry lichens had shrunk away to show them, were all veined
and splattered with gold, that here and there bosses of rounded and
wrinkled gold projected from among the litter. What did that matter
now? A sort of languor had possession of my limbs and mind...
H G Wells, The First Men in the Moon (1901)
...In half an hour I had arrived at the edge of the red plateau. A steep slope fell before me to the edge of the jungle, perhaps two-thirds of a mile farther below. A slope carpeted with the thick fiber of the green moss.
A weird scene. Clear cerulean sky, darkly, richly blue... The wide valley, with the broad silvery stream, winding among golden forests, and patches of green. The purple balloons floating here and yon, huge spheres swaying on the red cables that anchored them above the jungle.
I seated myself on the moss, where I could overlook that valley of eldritch wonder. I remained there for some time, staring out across it, while I ate most of the food that I had brought, and half-emptied the bottle of water.
Then I decided to descend to the edge of the jungle.
sun was just at the meridian - the whole of the short afternoon, was
yet before me. I had ample time, I thought, to go down the slope to the
edge of the jungle and return before the sudden nightfall...
Jack Williamson, The Moon Era (Wonder Stories, February 1932)
“Oh, ‘tanstaafl.’ Means ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ And isn’t,” I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across the room, “or these drinks would cost half as much. Was reminding her that anything free costs twice as much in the long run, or turns out worthless.”
“An interesting philosophy.”
"Not philosophy, fact. One way or other, what you get, you pay for.” I fanned air. “Was Earthside once and heard expression ‘Free as air.’ This air ain’t free, you pay for every breath.”
“Really? No one has asked me to pay to breathe.” He smiled. “Perhaps I should stop.”
“Can happen, you almost breathed vacuum tonight. But nobody asks you because you’ve paid. For you, is part of round-trip ticket, for me it's a quarterly charge. I started to tell how my family buys and sells air to community co-op, decided it was too complicated. But we both pay.”
Robert A Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (1966)
particular crater was a small one, and the level floor was only some
thirty yards below the rim. Larry stared in amazement at the creatures
who were coming to sit in long rows around a small mound in the center
of the crater. He hardly knew whether to call them men or animals.
They had the hard shell and articulated legs of an insect, but their
faces had a semi-human appearance in spite of the pair of long antennae
that grew out of their foreheads. Their feet made a dry rustling sound
as they clambered down over the rock, and they carried metal clubs with
spiked heads. Larry saw that they walked with four of their six limbs
while the upper pair were equipped with three curved fingers each. On
the top of each antenna was a round ball that glowed with a
John Murray Reynolds, Goddess of the Moon (Planet Stories, Spring 1940)
...The radiant walls lighted their way, and they came to a large room. In the exact center of this room reared a limpidly transparent cube about twenty feet in diameter. Big Oaf motioned to it, and Pendrake walked over, aware of the creature puffing along behind him.
"Look down!" said the other, and his voice was almost gentle.
Pendrake had already seen.
At some depth below, a blue-white flame glowed with an intense brightness. After one glance Pendrake had to look away. But he kept looking at it with quick additional glances.
"It's been shiny like that," said Big Oaf, "since I came here. What do you make of it, feller?"
Pendrake said silently, agonizingly, into the cube, "Please rescue me. I need help!"
From some vast distance in the cube a voice answered into his brain, "Friend, your ability to sense our presence gains you nothing, for it will be long indeed before men can use what we have and know."
"Have mercy," Pendrake said shakily. "I am about to be murdered..."
"Very well, you may choose. Join us in here forever."
"You mean - "
"Forever absorbed into the unity, free of all passion and pain forever."
Pendrake shrank. His instantaneous reaction was total revulsion. He had no feeling at all that he was being offered freedom...
A E van Vogt, Moonbeast (1963)
He visited the laboratories and the power receiving and transforming stations. He went through the crowded levels of the dwellers. He saw a slow dance performed before a packed theater crowd by a serpentine Moon-woman, utterly ugly to his human standards, yet with an unearthly beauty of her own. He listened to sad, cold music, like the complaint of proud demons.
Avidly he drank it all in, absorbing the strange life of these strange beings. But behind every other feeling was the desperate seeking for a way of escape. Even when he was undergoing some psychological test for Lu Tzo, who was his attentive and coldly interested shadow at all times, the deeper levels of his mind were fermenting and seething with plans for flight...
they went to the top level of Li-Kar where the space ships had their
berths. The sun should have been shining on this side of the Moon, but Li-Kar was in twilight,
a queer, dark twilight with faint stars showing in a blue patch
directly above. Outside this patch there seemed to be a somber sky,
deeply purple, without a relieving glimmer of light. He would have been
mystified if he had not known that he was looking on the towering sides
of the abyss which contained Li-Kar, and not on the sky at all...
Myer Krulfeld, The Lunar Pit (Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1940)
"...If it is the glare that made them draw back it must be that they have some organs so sensitive to light that quite possibly they can see! I must find out about this."
Thereupon he began questioning the lillies again to discover how much they could tell him of their sense of vision. He shot his hand out and asked them if they knew what movement he had made. Every time (though they had no idea of what he was trying to find out) they told him precisely what he had done. Then going close to one large flower he passed his hand all round it; and the blossom turned its head and faced the moving hand all the way round the circle.
There was no doubt in our minds whatever, when we had finished our experiments, that the Vanity Lillies could in their own way see - though where the machinery called eyes was placed in their anatomy we could not as yet discover.
Doctor spent hours and days trying to solve this problem. But, he told
me, he met with very little success. For a while he was forced to the
conclusion (since he could not find in the flowers any eyes such as we
know) that what he had taken for a sense of vision was only some other
sense, highly developed, which produced the same results as seeing...
Hugh Lofting, Doctor Dolittle in the Moon (1929)
For a million years the bubble had been growing, like a vast abscess, below the root of the mountains. Throughout the entire history of Man, gas from the Moon's not-yet-wholly-dead interior had been forcing itself along lines of weakness, accumulating in cavities...
...Ahead of Selene, in a circle many acres in extent, the smooth plain puckered like a navel. The Sea was alive and moving, stirred by the forces that had woken it from its age-long sleep. The centre of the disturbance deepened into a funnel, as if a giant whirlpool was forming in the dust. Every stage of that nightmare transformation was pitilessly illuminated by the earthlight, until the crater was so deep that its far wall was lost in shadow, and it seemed as if Selene was racing into a curving crescent of utter blackness - an arc of annihilation.
The truth was almost as bad. By the time that Pat had reached the controls, the boat was sliding and skittering far down that impossible slope. Its own momentum, and the accelerating flow of the dust beneath it, was carrying it headlong into the depths. There was nothing he could do but attempt to keep on an even keel, and to hope that their speed would carry them up the far side of the crater before it collapsed upon them...
straining motors were making some headway, but not enough. The falling
dust was gathering speed - and, what was worse, it was rising outside
the walls of the cruiser. Now it had reached the lower edge of the
windows; now it was creeping up the panes...
Arthur C Clarke, A Fall of Moondust (1961)
...Flying slowly at an altitude of two hundred feet, he passed over level areas covered with velvety stretches of gray vegetation that resembled mosses and lichens, and over hills and valleys clothed with forests of weird, grotesque growths.
There were fungi shaped like saucers, umbrellas, cones, spearheads, and even upraised hands, all rusty black in color. There were black stalks, fully fifty feet in height, topped by five-pointed purple stars, huge gray pear-shaped growths from which there curled sinuous branches that resembled the tentacles of cuttle fish, and black trees, some of which were a hundred feet in height, with branches that unrolled like the leaves of sword-ferns.
to view some of these wonders at closer range, Ted lowered his craft to
the ground. A glance at his exterior thermometer showed the outside
temperature to be 210°
above zero, Fahrenheit, almost the boiling point of water at sea level
on earth! He accordingly closed his visor and turned on the valve of
his insulated compressed air tank before opening the door of his
turret. Slamming this quickly behind him, he stepped down from his
craft, sinking ankle deep in the soft, gray moss that coated the forest
Otis Adelbert Kline, Maza of the Moon (1930)
Ten feet overhead was the fissure, like a petrified mouth, and the mist came out of it and smoked upward. It formed almost a roof, a thin ceiling between us and the sky. And the Sun was behind the upper wall, invisible to us. The peaks reflected some of its beams down through the fog.
So we stood there in a cold, faintly golden-white radiance, a fog-glow - God! There's never been such light on Earth! It seemed to pervade everything, drenching us, cold and white, like silence made luminous. It was the light of Nirvana.
And I had seen it once before.
I couldn't remember where. I stood there in that totally alien dream-light, with the mist swirling and breaking overhead, with the stillness of eternity humming in my earphones and my soul, and I forgot everything except the chill, calm, incredible loveliness of it -
But I had seen it somewhere, sometime, and I couldn't remember -
Baird and I jerked from our thoughts and lumbered to him. He stood crouched a few feet away, staring and staring.
I looked at the ground and something went hollow in me. There were footprints.
Poul Anderson, The Light (Galaxy, March 1957)
...I landed on the plated surface of the moon, at seven o'clock P.M. and walked about three miles before I saw the smallest hope of finding it inhabited; at length I discovered an intellectual something, for I cannot call it Matter, because it has no parts; nor Spirit, because it seemed materially visible: in short, if I must compare it to anything we know, it must be to an intelligent and sparkling Human Eye. That you may understand me, Sir, I must ask, if you have seen a human eye which could convey the several ideas of love, or fear, or pride, or anger, with a single look? and, without the help of language, could express the strongest pleasure or disgust? Such, in a degree beyond human conception, was the object I am describing, and with what I held a converse purely intellectual; for it answered my queries, and satisfied my utmost curiosity, before I had time to form my questions into words. Of this almost intuitive conference the result was this: - that in the moon there is no variety; a perfect sameness dwells throughout the extensive regions of this mighty luminary, consequently, it can only be inhabited by a single person; for it is impossible for two things, however nearly resembling each other, to exist without distinction.
three supposed volcanoes, therefore, are but one great glare, the sole
use of which is to keep up an uniformity of light and warmth during the
absence of the sun; for here is no difference betwixt day and night, or
betwixt heat and cold. Upon further inquiry into the state of existence
in a country where perfect uniformity prevailed, I found that there was neither pain, nor fear, nor sorrow;
but while I was going to rejoice in being admitted to such a state of
happiness, I was told by a look, that there was also neither pleasure, hope, nor joy...
Humphrey Repton, From a Private Madhouse (1787),
reprinted in Far Boundaries (1951), ed. August Derleth
...The walls of the deeper caverns were covered with luminous fungi which emitted a dim but steady light. When Magnus' eyes became adjusted to it, he could see, if but poorly.
Decapods, it seemed, had cats' eyes. Like a cat, they couldn't see in total darkness, and had to feel their way. But their eyes could make the most of only a little light.
Finally they carried him into an enormous cavern, and then suddenly released him and retreated some yards, so that they stood around him in a semi-circle. He looked before him, away from them, and found he was standing on the edge of a very flat, glassily smooth area. Then he noticed beneath that glassy floor small pallid lights moving. He was puzzled by them until a suspicion struck him.
He knelt, reached forward, and touched the surface with his fingers. It was water. He was on the edge of a dead calm underground lake. The shapes moving within it, he guessed, were luminous fish.
The decapods stood motionless, as if awaiting his reaction to the water...
William F Temple, Martin Magnus, Planet Rover (1954)
“Softly!” Uneasily the Lord of the Peaks glanced about him. “Let us go to the Peak Chamber, where we may speak at ease.” He led the way from the platform, halting only to allow Ross to relay an order for his six ships to land. Through a winding subterranean corridor they hastened to the council room of the Peak, which marked the administrative center of one of Artana’s provinces. Once inside the great room, Artana led them to low divans of stone, covered and made comfortable with soft cellulose-like stuff that rustled as they moved. He gave them the news bluntly, without preamble.
“Horta has seized power in two-thirds of the Kingdom,” he cried, his voice breaking with emotion. “King Magnus was killed, perhaps not by Horta’s orders – but who else would have plotted it? The assassination seemed to be the signal for an uprising – and Horta issued a proclamation as one of the three regents, declaring that he would act to preserve order in the Caverns and the land beyond where the Crater folk live. Three of the Peaks were overrun, and the signal systems were all destroyed. Here at Peak Four, my soldiers were ready, and all the rebels were slain.”
“Queen Boada – and the Princess Illaria?” asked Ross…
Linton Davies, Warlords of the Moon (Planet Stories, Winter 1939)
Crystal City made up in violence what it lacked in size. It was a typical boom town of the Lunar mining regions. Mining and a thriving spacefreight trade in heavy metals made it a mecca for the toughest space-crews and hardest living prospector-miners to be found in the inhabited worlds. Saloons and cheap lodging-houses, gambling dens and neon-washed palaces of expensive sin, the jail and a flourishing assortment of glittery funeral parlors faced each other across two main intersecting streets. X marked the spot and life was the least costly of the many commodities offered for sale to rich-strike suckers who funneled in from all over Luna.
The town occupied the cleared and leveled floor of a small ringwall “crater”, and beneath its colorful dome of rainbowy perma-plastic, it sizzled. Dealers in mining equipment made overnight fortunes which they lost at the gaming tables just as quickly. In the streets one rubbed elbows with denizens from every part of the solar system; many of them curiously not anthropomorphic…
Stanley Mullen, Master of the Moondog (Planet Stories, July 1952)
The Russian rocket was gone. The Anglo-American rocket was gone. Moon-Base was gone before it had ever been.
The weapon fell from Randick’s hand, and he stepped unsteadily into the light toward the Russian. Suddenly human companionship was very, very important. Panicky terror was plucking at his throat.
The two men stumbled toward each other across the pass cut deep into the jagged back of the Doerfel mountains. As one they turned and looked out across the vast expanse of the Moon’s hidden face.
They were soldiers. They knew an invasion base when they saw one. As far as the eye could see, lines of sleek mammoth spaceships of unknown design stretched away into the distance. The face of the vast unnamed mare was covered with them….
Alfred Coppel, Task to Luna (Planet Stories, January 1951)
“…From here we’ve a clear view right to Tycho, that’s that long mound on the horizon. Now, if we set the lasers at about this level, set them in the face to either side, for example, we’ll be able to cover the ground with cross-fire as well as an almost vertical cone. You agree?”
“It’s hard to say,” Felix squinted through the window, his face pressed against the crystal. “The bulk of the mountain protects the rear but we don’t want to limit the field of fire more than is essential. I’ll have to go outside.”
“Of course.” Crombie was affable. “I’ll have Sergeant Echlan arrange a detail and we can discuss it again after you’ve had a chance to study the ground.” He hesitated. “That is unless you’d rather have a detached detail?”
“No. Not at first, anyway. It’s a military matter and I’d prefer military personnel.”
“Glad to hear it,” beamed the Major. “Technical men are too concerned with engineering problems in terms of supply and construction rather than military necessity. Why, I remember one time when…”
His voice rambled on but Felix wasn’t consciously listening. He stood by the window, looking down at the vista outside, but his thoughts were elsewhere. He was thinking of a certain type of psychotic personality, a symptom of which was a necessity and a delight in looking down from high places…
E C Tubb, Moon Base (1963)