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Thread: "It looks like a spider shamming dead . . ."

  1. #1
    BigBella's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    SF, CA
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    "It looks like a spider shamming dead . . ."

    While digging through some books the other day, I happened upon a very old illustrated collection of H.G. Wells stories I hadn't seen in years. Among The War of the Worlds, First Men in the Moon, When the Sleeper Wakes and The Country of the Blind, there were some odd rare short stories, including "The Flowering of a Strange Orchid: A Tale of an Orchid Enthusiast." In describing a mysterious plant new to his hothouse collection, the character's housekeeper thought its twisted aerial roots reminded her of "a spider shamming dead," which wasn't, as it turned out, too far from the truth.

    With that British stoicism so common to nineteenth century writing, there was one early passage which really had me laughing. In describing the fate of the intrepid explorer and botanist who had discovered the rare plant,

    "That orchid-collector was only thirty-six -- twenty years younger than myself -- when he died. And he had been married once and divorced once; he had had malarial fevers four times, and once he broke his thigh. He killed a Malay once, and once he was wounded by a poisoned dart. And in the end, he was killed by jungle-leeches. It must have all been very troublesome, but then it must have been very interesting, you know -- except perhaps, the leeches."

    Here is a link to the original Wells story, for those so inclined:

    You just can't beat that, baby . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

  2. #2
    swords's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    Cernunnos Woods
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    I like his short stories better than the long ones. I've got a book called 30 Strange Stories which is full of HG Wells' shorter works. Great book if you can locate a copy!
    Perhaps there's another bigger/better collection of all his shorter works?

  3. #3
    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Lakewood, California, USA
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    sweet! id love to get my hands on that book. very cool, thanks for sharing.
    "It's easy to rip on cops, when you aren't the one needing saving"

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