The Plattner Story

"The Plattner Story" is a short story by English writer H. G. Wells, first published in 1896 in The New Review. It was included in The Plattner Story and Others, a collection of short stories by Wells first published in 1897, and in The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, a collection of his short stories first published in 1911.[1] In the story, a man recounts his experiences in a parallel world.

"The Plattner Story"
AuthorH. G. Wells
CountryUnited Kingdom
Genre(s)Science fiction
Published inThe New Review
Publication typePeriodical
Media typePrint
Publication dateApril 1896

Background

The story is an early example of science fiction in which a parallel world is described. The protagonist reaches this world by moving through the fourth dimension, a concept described in 1880 by Charles Howard Hinton, a mathematician and writer of science fiction, in his essay "What is the Fourth Dimension?".

Story summary

The narrator discusses the case of Gottfried Plattner, a schoolteacher in the south of England. He establishes the known facts: the unsymmetrical parts of his body are opposite from the usual way round, and his unsymmetrical facial features are the reverse of what are seen on his portrayal in an old photograph. "The curious inversion of Plattner's right and left sides is proof that he has moved out of our space into what is called the Fourth Dimension, and that he has returned again to our world." Plattner disappeared when he experimented in a chemistry class with green powder found by a boy, which caused an explosion; he re-appeared nine days later. He has related his account of that period to the narrator, who sets it down so that the reader can decide whether it is plausible.

After the explosion, Plattner, still with the bottle containing the rest of the green powder, tries to make sense of his new environment. The schoolroom and people there are seen faintly; they do not see or hear him, and they can walk through him. The solid environment around him, which he explores, is a rocky hillside, and the sky has a green glow. People, dispersing from a mausoleum-like building in a gorge, have heads showing distress and anguish, above tadpole-like bodies. They seem to be unaware of him. Still faintly seeing our world which is superimposed on this "Other-World", he notices that "to almost every human being in our world there pertained some of these drifting heads; that everyone in the world is watched intermittently by these helpless disembodiments". The narrator calls them "Watchers of the Living". "It may be... that, when our life has closed, when evil or good is no longer a choice for us, we may still have to witness the working out of the train of consequences we have laid."

Plattner notices a room in a street near the school, where a dying man lies in bed; a woman in the room is looking for a document. Many "Watchers of the Living", who seem to know the woman, are there, contemplating the event: "Faces that might once have been coarse, now purged to strength by sorrow." When the woman finds what she seeks, perhaps a will, she burns it in the flame of a candle. A shadowy arm stretches across to the man in the bed. Not daring to see the shadow behind the arm, Plattner runs and falls, smashing the bottle of green powder, which explodes; and so he returns to his former world.

The narrator later finds that there was a death in a street near the school at the time of Plattner's return. The widow, much younger than the deceased, soon married again. The narrator interviews her: although she contradicts Plattner's account of events during her husband's last moments, Plattner's description of the room is curiously accurate.

See also

References

  1. ^ The Plattner Story title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 16 January 2019.

External links

Anthony West (author)

Anthony West (4 August 1914 – 27 December 1987) was a British author and literary critic.

G. P. Wells

George Philip Wells FRS (17 July 1901 – 27 September 1985), son of the British science fiction author H. G. Wells, was a zoologist and author. He co-authored, with his father and Julian Huxley, The Science of Life. A pupil at Oundle School, he was in the first class to learn Russian as a modern language in a British school. He accompanied his father to Soviet Russia in 1920, acting as his Russian translator and exchanging ideas with Russian zoology students. He won an entrance Exhibition to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he became Senior Scholar in his first year of residence.Wells, a comparative physiologist, worked on invertebrates of several phyla. He determined their tolerance for changes in the salinity and the ionic balance of the surrounding water, and analysed the water relations of land gastropods.

For the latter part of his career he was a member of staff in the Zoology Department of University College London, eventually as professor. His range of zoological knowledge was notably wide, and his main research was on the behaviour of the lugworm Arenicola. He determined its habits by elegant experiments, and showed that the rhythm which controls many of its activities arises in the oesophagus. Such spontaneous rhythmic activity was shown to occur in many polychaetes.

He was known to all by his nickname, Gip, and appears by this name in his father's fictional story "The Magic Shop". He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1955.Wells also published the 1971 (and last) edition of his father's The Outline of History in the wake of Raymond Postgate's death in March of that year. Postgate had revised four previous editions following H. G. Wells' death in 1946, published in 1949, 1956, 1961 and 1969. He also edited and published H. G. Wells in Love, his father's account of his main extramarital love affairs.

H. G. Wells (crater)

H. G. Wells is a lunar impact crater that is located on the far side of the Moon, behind the northeastern limb. It lies to the south of the crater Millikan, and to the northeast of Cantor. Just to the southeast is the smaller Tesla.

This large formation is most notable for the extremely battered state of its outer rim. Little or nothing remains of the original rim, so completely has it been eroded and incised by smaller craters. As a result, the crater floor is now surrounded by a ring of irregular peaks and worn crater valleys. This rugged surroundings intrudes only part way into the interior, while the remaining floor is relatively level and in some places gently rolling. The interior is marked only by a multitude of tiny craterlets.

The writer H. G. Wells earned the right to have a Moon crater named after him by his well-known science fiction, including the novel The First Men in the Moon.

H. G. Wells bibliography

H. G. Wells was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction. His writing career spanned more than sixty years, and his early science fiction novels earned him the title (along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback) of "The Father of Science Fiction".

In the Abyss

"In the Abyss" is a short story by English writer H. G. Wells, first published in 1896 in Pearson's Magazine. It was included in The Plattner Story and Others, a collection of short stories by Wells first published in 1897. The story describes a journey to the ocean bed in a specially-designed metal sphere; the explorer within discovers a civilization of human-like creatures.

Invisibility in fiction

Invisibility in fiction is a common plot device, found in both the science fiction and fantasy genres. In fantasy, invisibility is often invoked and dismissed at will, with a magic spell, a potion or a ring. In science fiction, invisibility is often conferred on the recipient as part of a complex process that is difficult or impossible to reverse, so that switching back and forth at frequent intervals is less likely to be done in science fiction.

Joseph Wells (cricketer)

Joseph Wells (14 July 1828 – 14 October 1910) was an English cricketer and father of the noted author H. G. Wells.

List of fiction employing parallel universes

The following is a list of fiction employing parallel universes or alternate realities.

Plattner

Plattner is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Hannelore Plattner, 20th-century Austrian luger

Hasso Plattner (born 1944), German businessman, cofounder of the software company SAP AG

Karl Friedrich Plattner (1800-1858), German metallurgical chemist

Radio Tales

Radio Tales is an American series of radio drama which premiered on National Public Radio on October 29, 1996. This series adapted classic works of American and world literature such as The War of the Worlds, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Beowulf, Gulliver's Travels, and the One Thousand and One Nights. The series was co-produced by Winnie Waldron and Winifred Phillips. Waldron created the series and served as on-air host. Phillips composed music for the series.

The Radio Tales series has won awards which include the International Radio Festivals WorldMedal for its production "Fortress of Doom" and four Gracie Allen Awards from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, including a Best Actress in a National Network Drama award for Winifred Phillips’ performance in "The Yellow Wallpaper".

The Argonauts of the Air

"The Argonauts of the Air" is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1895 in Phil May's Annual. It was included in the collection of Wells short stories The Plattner Story and Others, published by Methuen & Co. in 1897.Written several years before the first flight of the Wright brothers, it describes the painstaking development of a flying machine, in the face of public amusement, and its unsuccessful trial flight over London.

Wells lived at one time in Worcester Park, where the machine is launched; he studied at the Royal College of Science, where it crashes.

The Cone

"The Cone" is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1895 in Unicorn. It was intended to be "the opening chapter of a sensational novel set in the Five Towns", later abandoned.The story is set at an ironworks in Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire. An artist is there to depict the industrial landscape; the manager of the ironworks discovers his affair with his wife, and takes him on a tour of the factory, where there are dangerous features.

The Country of the Blind and Other Stories

The Country of the Blind and Other Stories is a collection of thirty-three fantasy and science fiction short stories written by the English author H. G. Wells between 1894 and 1909. It was first published by Thomas Nelson and Sons in 1911. All the stories had first been published in various weekly and monthly periodicals. Twenty-seven of the stories had also been previously published in five earlier story collections by Wells.

The title of this collection refers to one of Wells's best known short stories, "The Country of the Blind", which is included in this book.

The Damned Thing (short story)

"The Damned Thing" is a horror short story written by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce. It first appeared in Tales from New York Town Topics on December 7, 1893.

The Diamond Maker

"The Diamond Maker" is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1894 in the Pall Mall Budget. It was included in The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents, the first collection of short stories by Wells, first published in 1895.

In the story, a businessman hears an account from a man who has devoted years attempting to make artificial diamonds, only to end as a desperate outcast.

The Plattner Story and Others

The Plattner Story and Others is a collection of seventeen short stories written by H. G. Wells. This volume was first published in March 1897 by Methuen & Co.

The Sea Raiders

"The Sea Raiders" is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1896 in The Weekly Sun Literary Supplement. It was included in The Plattner Story and Others, a collection of short stories by Wells published by Methuen & Co. in 1897. It was included in The Country of the Blind and Other Stories, a collection of short stories by Wells published by Thomas Nelson & Sons in 1911.The story describes a brief period when a previously unknown sort of giant squid, which attacks humans, is encountered on the coast of Devon, England.

The Time Ships

The Time Ships is a 1995 science fiction novel by Stephen Baxter. A sequel to The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, it was officially authorised by the Wells estate to mark the centenary of the original's publication. The Time Ships won critical acclaim. It won the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and the Philip K. Dick Award in 1996, as well as the British Science Fiction Association Award in 1995. It was also nominated for the Hugo, Clarke, and Locus Awards in 1996.

Æpyornis Island

"Æpyornis Island", or "Aepyornis Island", is a short story by H. G. Wells, first published in 1894 in the Pall Mall Budget. It was included in The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents, the first collection of short stories by Wells, first published in 1895.

In the story, a man looking for eggs of Aepyornis, an extinct flightless bird, passes two years alone on a small island with an Aepyornis that has hatched.

Novels
Nonfiction
Collections
Short stories
Screenplays
Related

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.