A trip to mars, p.1
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       A Trip to Mars, p.1

           Frank Aubrey
A Trip to Mars

  Produced by Al Haines.

  They returned his greeting as heartily as it wasgiven.--_Front_. PAGE 91.]




  Author of "The Radium Seekers"



  W. H. C. Groome

  LONDON: 38 Soho Square, W. W. & R. CHAMBERS, LIMITED EDINBURGH: 339 High Street Philadelphia: J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY 1909

  Edinburgh: Printed by W. & R. Chambers, Limited.


  In the case of my former book--my first written for young readers--Iinserted a preface stating at some length my reasons for taking up thewriting of stories of the kind. In it I pointed out that I hadendeavoured to combine amusement with a little wholesome instruction;and that what might at first sight appear to be mere irresponsibleflights of fanciful imagination had, in reality, in all cases somequasi-scientific foundation.

  Doubtless such a preface is unusual in a work of fiction, and even moreso in one intended chiefly for boys; but the result proved that itsintention was understood and appreciated. I should show myselfungrateful indeed if I omitted, at the first opportunity, to record mydeep sense of the kindly sympathy and approval with which that prefaceand the whole book were received by those reviewers--and they weremany--who favoured my work with a notice.

  In this, my second attempt in the same direction, I am conscious that Ihave set myself a difficult task, for it is not an easy matter to giveverisimilitude to a story of a visit to another planet about which wenecessarily know so little. Yet astronomy as a study is so fascinating,its mysteries and possibilities are so wonderful, so boundless, itsinfluences so elevating and ennobling, that little apology is needed forany effort to attract the attention of youthful readers to it by makingit the subject of a romance.

  Amongst other difficulties the story-writer here meets with, by no meansthe least confronts him when he is called upon to decide which ofvarious theories put forward by different scientists he shall adopt as astarting-point. Mars, for instance, may have an atmosphere which is likeours, or one that is either thinner or denser, or it may have noatmosphere at all. As to this nothing is known with certainty, and themost learned authorities differ one from another. In thesecircumstances, I have adopted the supposition which seems best suited tomy story--namely, that the air there may be denser than it is on thesurface of our globe; but I do not wish to be understood as asserting itas a fact. The same remark applies to the assumption that diamonds orother precious stones do not exist naturally in Mars. In regard tothese two points, I have felt it may be allowable, as children say, to'make believe' a little in forming a groundwork upon which to build up astory. As to the rest, I have refrained, in deference to the knownprejudices of young people, from interjecting constant scientificexplanations in the course of the narrative. Only sufficient has beenintroduced here and there to justify the hope that none will sit down toits perusal without getting up a little the wiser.

  We are all of us, as Sir Isaac Newton so aptly yet reverently expressedit, 'only as children picking up pebbles on the seashore while the greatocean of knowledge lies stretched out before us.'

  I shall be well satisfied if, in addition to affording pleasure toyouthful readers, I enable them to pick up incidentally even so much asa few grains of the sand which lies beside the pebbles upon thatwondrous, glorious shore.


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