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YMMV / Edison's Conquest of Mars

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  • Fanon: Some readers have theorised that it wasn't actually Edison, but rather his rival Nikola Tesla who invented the Disintegrator used to combat the Martians. Edison had a self-admitted tendency of stealing other people's work, and such a device seems more like Tesla's style. (He did believe in aliens, and he did try to build a Death Ray in Real Life - though as far as we know he never made it work.)
  • Harsher in Hindsight: This story postulates that human civilisation orginated with an aryan master race. Back then, this was considered a plausible scientific theory, and the story otherwise has an anti-racist message. However, it can be difficult for modern readers to not cringe at this, as it isn't just a case of Dated History, but also disturbingly similar to claims made by the Nazis to justify their own racist beliefs.
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    • It doesn't help that the humans also commit genocide to win the war, even if it's a last resort which they do feel bad about.
  • Memetic Mutation: The story might be responsible for introducing the term "Reverse the Polarity" to the science-fiction genre.
  • Moral Event Horizon: If the Martians didn't already cross this in War of the Worlds, one of the first things we are told in the book is that the surviving invaders blew up the entirety of New York City, killing tens of thousands of people in the process, to get the necessary amount of propulsion to returm home in their ships.
    • If not the above, then the Martians probably crossed it when they commited genocide on their own slaves for something which wasn't even their fault in the first place.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Some readers enjoy the book simply because of how insane it is.
  • Values Dissonance: Edison's army consists of 2000 of the brightest people on the planet. Naturally, all of them are male. (Though they are joined by Aina - a female Sixth Ranger - later, at which point it merely becomes a very extreme example of The Smurfette Principle.)
  • Values Resonance:
    • While it becomes a bit of a Broken Aesop later, the first chapters has all surviving nations declaring peace on Earth and explicably ending all discrimination based on race and religion! Yes, this was written in 1898.
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    • There is also the Prince of Wales, who does praise the Anglo-Saxons of America (for being, basically, the decendants of Britain) but does everything he can to not talk down to any other people.
      "It gives me much pleasure," he said, "to offer, in the name of the nations of the Old World, this tribute of our admiration for, and our confidence in, the genius of the New World. Perhaps on such an occasion as this, when all racial differences and prejudices ought to be, and are, buried and forgotten, I should not recall anything that might revive them; yet I cannot refrain from expressing my happiness in knowing that the champion who is to achieve the salvation of the earth has come forth from the bosom of the Anglo-Saxon race."

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