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The War of the Worlds

by H. G. Wells

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In The War of the Worlds, who was the first to discover the Martian spacecraft?

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The first person to come across the fallen Martian spacecraft is the astronomer Ogilvy.  He had been observing Mars at the moment there was an apparent explosion or expulsion of something, and so when something falls to Earth in his locale, he goes off to investigate.  When he sees the cylinder that is the spacecraft laying in a crater in a field, he immediately connects it with the phenomenon he'd witnessed on Mars, and quickly reaches the (correct) conclusion that it is a Martian object.

Ogilvy hurries to town and succeeds in interesting a reporter in his tale of a fallen Martian object, and from there the crater gathers a ring of onlookers, who are present to witness the 'lid' of the cylinder begin to rotate.

"'Good heavens!' said Ogilvy. 'There's a man in it--men in it! Half roasted to death! Trying to escape!'

At once, with a quick mental leap, he linked the Thing with the flash upon Mars.

The thought of the confined creature was so dreadful to him that he forgot the heat and went forward to the cylinder to help turn."

Unfortunately, when the Martians emerge, they incinerate Ogilvy and many of the bystanders, proving their hostile intentions.

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