Suburbanites as ‘food source for space monsters’

H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds (1897)  claims that commuters with season tickets are more likely to welcome being farmed by the Martians than to resist them.

London commuters in 1890

‘All these–the sort of people that lived in these houses, and all those damn little clerks that used to live down that way–they’d be no good.  They haven’t any spirit in them–no proud dreams and no proud lusts; and a man who hasn’t one or the other–Lord!  What is he but funk and precautions?  They just used to skedaddle off to work–I’ve seen hundreds of ’em, bit of breakfast in hand, running wild and shining to catch their little season-ticket train, for fear they’d get dismissed if they didn’t; working at businesses they were afraid to take the trouble to understand; skedaddling back for fear they wouldn’t be in time for dinner; keeping indoors after dinner for fear of the back streets, and sleeping with the wives they married, not because they wanted them, but because they had a bit of money that would make for safety in their one little miserable skedaddle through the world.  Lives insured and a bit invested for fear of accidents.  And on Sundays–fear of the hereafter.  As if hell was built for rabbits!  Well, the Martians will just be a godsend to these.  Nice roomy cages, fattening food, careful breeding, no worry.  After a week or so chasing about the fields and lands on empty stomachs, they’ll come and be caught cheerful.  They’ll be quite glad after a bit.  They’ll wonder what people did before there were Martians to take care of them.’

(The speaker, an artilleryman, proposes an underground movement to fight the invaders; however he turns out to be all talk and no action.)

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