Valley of the Spiders By H. G. Wells (1903)
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror January 27, 2015
Into the darkest valley. Shadows go before them through the trails of the mountain path. Three men are on an adventure in the wilderness: a gaunt man with a scarred lip, a man riding a silver bridle, a dreamy little man on a white horse. They are pursuing a girl with a bleeding foot. They ride for four days, with a shortage of water, and finally come upon a wild dog. This is the first sign. Not long after, they come upon ragged floating globes, cobwebbey, that begin to descend across the valley.
What do you do when you see a spider in your bathtub? Are you apt to kill it or scoop it up and send it to the outside world where it belongs? Next time you see a spider, wish on it and gently blow it away. They are cute little buggers, right? Not according to H.G Wells.
Wells’ descriptions of gigantic spiders have the makings of a real nightmare. There’s no scooping these guys away. Wells crafts a classic drama about cowardice and pride and the power of nature. He is considered a visionary and the most prolific writer in science fiction–he wrote over fifty short stories. It is said that all were written quickly and virtually at a single sitting each. He said of his short stories “I found that taking almost anything as a starting-point and letting my thoughts play about it, there would presently come out of the darkness, in a manner quite inexplicable, some absurd or vivid little incident more or less relevant to that initial nucleus. Little men in canoes upon sunlit oceans would come floating out of nothingness, incubating the eggs of prehistoric monsters unaware; violent conflicts would break out amidst the flower-beds of suburban gardens; I would discover I was peering into remote and mysterious worlds ruled by an order logical indeed but other than our common sanity.”
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