No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century
that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences
greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied them-selves
about their various concerns they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps
almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the
transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
With inﬁnite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their
little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter.
It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same
No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger,
or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible
or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days.
At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars,
perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise.
Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those
of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this
earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us