I think an interesting approach to understanding H.G. Wells’s short story “The Star” (1897) is by paying particularly close attention to its beginning and end. After launching us straight into the action—a new heavenly body has been observed close to Neptune—the story talks about the relative insignificance of the solar system in the context of the enormity of the universe.
Few people without a training in science can realise the huge isolation of the solar system. The sun with its specks of planets, its dust of planetoids, and its impalpable comets, swims in a vacant immensity that almost defeats the imagination. Beyond the orbit of Neptune there is space, vacant so far as human observation has penetrated, without warmth or light or sound, blank emptiness, for twenty million times a million miles.
The relative minuteness of the solar system in general, and the earth in particular, is an important theme in the story, one which is ironically contrasted with humanity's...
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 982 words.)