he made the astronomers on the island of Laputa not only observe two satellites, but caused one of these to move round the planet in less time than the planet itself takes to rotate on its axis. As every student of astronomy knows, the satellites were not discovered until 1877, and one of them actually does revolve round Mars three times while the planet makes a rotation. The coincidence is remarkable; but it is to be hoped, for the sake of the peace of mind of terrestrial inhabitants, that Mr. Wells does not possess the prophetic insight vouchsafed to Swift.
In conclusion, it is worth remark that scientific romances are not without a value in furthering scientific interests; they attract attention to work that is being done in the realm of natural knowledge, and so create sympathy with the aims and observations of men of science.
Extract from Experiment in Autobiography, ii, pp. 507-8.
Wells recalls that the 1890s were an ‘extraordinarily favourable time for new writers…. New books were being demanded and fresh authors were in request. ’ Criticism, however, remained hidebound by precedent.