Extract 1

“The First Men in The Moon” was written by H. G. Wells in 1901. This extract from the book explains how an inventor called Mr. Cavor creates 'Cavorite' - a substance which will propel a rocket to the moon. Here, the narrator describes a powerful explosion which is caused by an experiment with ‘Cavorite’.

I remember the occasion with extreme vividness. The water was boiling, and everything was prepared, and the sound of Cavor’s "zuzzoo" had brought me out upon the verandah. His active little figure was black against the autumnal sunset, and to the right the chimneys of his house just rose above a gloriously tinted group of trees. Remoter rose the Wealden Hills, faint and blue, while to the left the hazy marsh spread out spacious and serene.

And then -

The chimneys jerked heavenward, smashing into a string of bricks as they rose, and the roof and a miscellany of furniture followed. Then overtaking them came a huge white flame. The trees about the building swayed and whirled and tore themselves to pieces, that sprang towards the flare. My ears were smitten with a clap of thunder that left me deaf on one side for life, and all about me windows smashed, unheeded.

I took three steps from the verandah towards Cavor's house, and even as I did so came the wind.

Instantly my coat tails were over my head, and I was progressing in great leaps and bounds, and quite against my will, towards him. In the same moment Cavor was seized, whirled about, and flew through the screaming air. I saw one of my chimney pots hit the ground within six yards of me, leap a score of feet, and so hurry in great strides towards the focus of the disturbance. Cavor, kicking and flapping, came down again, rolled over and over on the ground for a space, struggled up and was lifted and borne forward at an enormous velocity, vanishing at last among the labouring, lashing trees that writhed about his house.

A mass of smoke and ashes, and a square of bluish shining substance rushed up towards the zenith. A large fragment of fencing came sailing past me, dropped edgeways, hit the ground and fell flat, and then the worst was over. The aerial commotion fell swiftly until it was a mere strong gale, and I became once more aware that I had breath and feet. By leaning back against the wind I managed to stop, and could collect such wits as still remained to me.

In that instant the whole face of the world had changed. The tranquil sunset had vanished, the sky was dark with scurrying clouds, everything was flattened and swaying with the gale. I glanced back to see if my bungalow was still in a general way standing, then staggered forwards towards the trees amongst which Cavor had vanished, and through whose tall and leaf-denuded branches shone the flames of his burning house.

I entered the copse, dashing from one tree to another and clinging to them, and for a space I sought him in vain. Then amidst a heap of smashed branches and fencing that had banked itself against a portion of his garden wall I perceived something stir. I made a run for this, but before I reached it a brown object separated itself, rose on two muddy legs, and protruded two drooping, bleeding hands. Some tattered ends of garment fluttered out from its middle portion and streamed before the wind.

For a moment I did not recognise this earthy lump, and then I saw that it was Cavor, caked in the mud in which he had rolled. He leant forward against the wind, rubbing the dirt from his eyes and mouth.

He extended a muddy lump of hand, and staggered a pace towards me. His face worked with emotion, little lumps of mud kept falling from it. He looked as damaged and pitiful as any living creature I have ever seen, and his remark therefore amazed me exceeding.

"Gratulate me," he gasped; "gratulate me!"

Extract 2

This article reports on the ruins of an ancient city, discovered under the sea off the coast of Japan.

A City Submerged in the Ocean — Ruins Around Yonaguni Island in Japan

At the southern tip of Yonaguni Island in the Ryukyu Islands, approximately half a century ago, divers found ruins of man-made constructions in the ocean. The site included a square-shaped structure covered with coral, a giant platform with edges and corners, as well as streets, stairways, and an arched building. One could say that the ruins resembled an altar in the ancient city. It covered about 200 metres from west to east, and about 140 metres from north to south. Its highest point reached about 26 metres.

In 1986, local divers named this underwater city "Diving Area of Undersea Ruins." It drew a lot of attention when the news media reported it. Soon after its discovery, the University of Ryukyu formed an "Undersea Archaeological Exploration Team" (UAET), and embarked on an eight-year research project. Under the sea southeast of Shihuan Island and in the surrounding areas, more ruins were discovered, including a construction made of stone, a cave-like structure surrounded by pillars, a statue of a human head, an arch, and geometric turtle statues. The most surprising discovery was the "Hieroglyph," which was engraved into a stone wall and left behind by an ancient civilization assumed to be a highly advanced human culture.

If one looks from above, there are streets and farmland surrounding the ruins. The largest ruin was 100 metres in length, and 25 metres in height, and was built with giant rocks. According to the UAET of the University of Ryukyu, a computer-generated model showed that the place might have been an altar of a temple, where the ancients gathered and held worship ceremonies. There were two half-circle pillar caves north of the temple. Archeologists believe them to be a place for bathing prior to a ceremony. There was an arched gate east of the temple where two giant rocks overlapped each other. The top showed rectangular man-made holes in the rocks. Presumably, the rocks were shaped by machines and used as the city's cornerstones.

In addition, under the ocean, around the well-known area of "Lishenyan" off southeast Yonaguni Island, a statue of a human head several feet tall was uncovered. Facial features could still be clearly discerned. Later, near the giant human head statue, groups of hieroglyphs were found. This indicates the builders of the undersea ruins were a highly advanced civilization.

Masaaki Kimura is a professor of geology at the University of Ryukyu. He stated during a September 1999 interview that one could clearly see that they were man-made constructions. There were streets, right angle stairs with round holes in the rock which seemed designed for stone pillar insertion, etc. The discovery of the human head statue and the hieroglyphs, were especially convincing that the undersea ruins at south Yonaguni Island originated from a prehistoric civilization.

Incredible Undersea Pyramid

In addition to the findings south of Yonaguni Island, important discoveries were made to the west of the island. In 1990, divers found a giant pyramid built of rocks. This pyramid was 183 metres in width, and 27.43 metres in height. It was built of rectangular rocks, and had 5 levels. There were also several small constructions nearby resembling the giant pyramid. Such mini-pyramids consisted of stone layers, with a width of about 10 metres and a height of about 2 metres.

Geologists from the University of Ryukyu involved in this study concluded that this was a man-made construction, and not of natural origin. Otherwise, there should be a pile of stones from erosion, and yet not a single stone was found. Moreover, there were street-like remnants surrounding the pyramid, which also indicate that this was not a natural product. Geologist divers from Boston University in the United States found that the giant stairs were made of a series of one-metre high rock layers, which resembled a stair-like pyramid. Although one could hypothesize that such a structure was formed by rocks broken by water erosion, such sharp stair sections have never been found that resulted from a natural process. Archaeologists at the University of London believe that the builders had to be at least on the level of ancient civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Indian River.

According to a geology professor at Tokyo University, the area must have sunk around 10,000 years ago, that is, during the last Ice Age. However, based on modern scientific understanding, human beings were still primitives, hunting animals for food then. It is unlikely they would have been able to build such pyramid-like structures. Some people believe them to be the doings of some unknown culture. One may wonder if such an advanced and prosperous civilization really once existed. Do these undersea ruins exist only in Japan? The answer is No.

Extract 3

Lorna Doone” was written by R. D. Blackmore in 1869. The story takes place in 17th century Exmoor, in England. John Ridd, who comes from respectable farming stock, experiences tragedy when his father is murdered by the notorious Doone clan. In this extract from the book, the narrator describes his first chance encounter with the young Lorna Doone.

When I came to myself again, my hands were full of young grass and mould, and a little girl kneeling at my side was rubbing my forehead tenderly with a dock-leaf and a handkerchief.

‘Oh, I am so glad,’ she whispered softly, as I opened my eyes and looked at her; ‘now you will try to be better, won’t you?’

I had never heard so sweet a sound as came from between her bright red lips, while there she knelt and gazed at me; neither had I ever seen anything so beautiful as the large dark eyes intent upon me, full of pity and wonder. And then, my nature being slow, and perhaps, for that matter, heavy, I wandered with my hazy eyes down the black shower of her hair, as to my jaded gaze it seemed; and where it fell on the turf, among it (like an early star) was the first primrose of the season. And since that day I think of her, through all the rough storms of my life, when I see an early primrose. Perhaps she liked my countenance, and indeed I know she did, because she said so afterwards; although at the time she was too young to know what made her take to me. Not that I had any beauty, or ever pretended to have any, only a solid healthy face, which many girls have laughed at.

Thereupon I sat upright, with my little trident still in one hand, and was much afraid to speak to her, being conscious of my country-brogue, lest she should cease to like me. But she clapped her hands, and made a trifling dance around my back, and came to me on the other side, as if I were a great plaything.

‘What is your name?’ she said, as if she had every right to ask me; ‘and how did you come here, and what are these wet things in this great bag?’

‘You had better let them alone,’ I said; ‘they are loaches for my mother. But I will give you some, if you like.’

‘Dear me, how much you think of them! Why, they are only fish. But how your feet are bleeding! Oh, I must tie them up for you. And no shoes nor stockings! Is your mother very poor, poor boy?’

‘No,’ I said, being vexed at this; ‘we are rich enough to buy all this great meadow, if we chose; and here my shoes and stockings be.’

‘Why, they are quite as wet as your feet; and I cannot bear to see your feet. Oh, please to let me manage them; I will do it very softly.’

‘Oh, I don’t think much of that,’ I replied; ‘I shall put some goose-grease to them. But how you are looking at me! I never saw any one like you before. My name is John Ridd. What is your name?’

‘Lorna Doone,’ she answered, in a low voice, as if afraid of it, and hanging her head so that I could see only her forehead and eyelashes; ‘if you please, my name is Lorna Doone; and I thought you must have known it.’

Then I stood up and touched her hand, and tried to make her look at me; but she only turned away the more. Young and harmless as she was, her name alone made guilt of her. Nevertheless I could not help looking at her tenderly, and the more when her blushes turned into tears, and her tears to long, low sobs.

‘Don’t cry,’ I said, ‘whatever you do. I am sure you have never done any harm. I will give you all my fish Lorna, and catch some more for mother; only don’t be angry with me.’

She flung her little soft arms up in the passion of her tears, and looked at me so piteously, that what did I do but kiss her. It seemed to be a very odd thing, when I came to think of it, because I hated kissing so, as all honest boys must do. But she touched my heart with a sudden delight, like a cowslip-blossom (although there were none to be seen yet), and the sweetest flowers of spring.

Extract 4

This is an article which describes what sports might be like in 2050. It was written in 2004.

Sport of the future

By Tom Fordyce

What will the sports we love look like in 2050?

Manchester United fans might say that the future of football has already arrived - and he's called Wayne Rooney.

But enough of such petty banter. We're talking here about big ideas and crazy concepts - what over-paid management gurus would call blue-sky thinking.

We've come up with a few propositions, mocked up some images and then asked the experts how likely those things are to happen.


The use of the third umpire to adjudicate on run-outs and stumpings is now an accepted part of the game.

But why not extend the range of decisions that technology can clarify?

Not sure whether a batsman has nicked a delivery to the wicketkeeper? A sensor built into the edge of the bat could send an instant signal to the umpire's ear-piece if it makes contact with the ball.

Just think - no more contentious (or incorrect) decisions, no more sly appeals from behind the stumps and no more stomping back to the pavilion by disconsolate batsmen.

Is it possible? Steve Carter of Hawk-Eye, the company behind Channel 4's ball-tracking, lbw-deciding graphics, has no doubt.

"There is already a tape developed that can be wrapped round the bat in a very thin layer to give you such a signal when it meets the ball, " he says.

"The problem is that it changes the way the ball comes off the bat. And international batsmen aren't keen to try it, probably because they don't want to be given out."


Cyclops is all very well for helping line judges decide whether a serve is in or not.

But it cannot be used once a rally is in progress. And hey - why not get rid of line judges altogether?

They don't always get it right, they cost money to employ and those blazers and slacks are so last century.

By underlaying the entire court with sensors and using balls in-laid with a special conductive material, it would be possible to judge with complete accuracy whether a shot was in or out.

If it's out, a loud noise signals the fact to players, umpire and spectators.

You saw chalk dust, Mr McEnroe? Who cares?

The game's rule-makers do, that's who.

"We can't see it happening in the near future," said a spokesman for the Lawn Tennis Association.

"We would be talking about hundreds of courts and thousands of balls - and that would be a massive expense."

Ian Pearson, a futurologist with BT, foresees other problems.

"A tennis ball is hit at 100mph, and it is deforming elastically all the way through its flight, going from round to rugby ball-shaped and back again.

"So a sensor would not be able to give an exact indication of where the ball was."

Then again, changes are already in motion.

Players at the Superset tournament will be allowed to appeal to the umpire if they genuinely believe a line call is incorrect - and the umpire will use Hawk-Eye technology to examine the point.

"We can be accurate to within three millimetres," says Steve Carter. "As soon as the rally is finished, you can watch it again in real-time on Hawk-Eye."

Improvements in positioning systems in the next few years should also allow television viewers to enjoy instant interactive replays.

"You could pretend you were the ball, and see what it was like to be whacked through the air at 100mph," says Pearson.


The long jump is all very well. But the plasticine marker used to judge fouls on the take-off board has got to go.

And why should athletes jump from one small area, anyway? Surely the event should be a test of who can jump the furthest, not who can jump the furthest from one particular point.

A chip in the athlete's spikes could be used to give a perfect indication of take-off point from the runway

And replacing the out-moded sand pit would be an impact gel which retains the shape of the jumper for a few moments to allow measurement before morphing back to its original shape for the next jump.

Could it happen? Maybe.

"We are always looking at new ideas and technologies to evolve sports and make them more exciting or accessible," says Steve Chisholm of Fast Track, the company that organises the big athletics meets in the UK.

"One idea which has been considered for the sprint events, and which could happen immediately, would be to make the winner's lane light-up when they cross the line.

"Given the narrow margins of victory in the sprints, often spectators are unaware of who has crossed the line first.

"With this new initiative, a sensor linked to the photo-finish equipment would trigger immediately as the winner crossed the line. This would lead to a golden spotlight identifying the winners lane."

What else? Javelins could to be fitted with light pulses to make them easier to view as they fly through the air - or be modified so that they leave a laser-imprint in the air, highlighting their arched trajectory from point of release to the point of impact.

"These could be colour-coded to represent different athletes and would be an interesting visual way to compare performances," says Chisholm.


Cars have air-bags to protect drivers in the event of a crash. Moto GP riders often come off their bikes and injure themselves.

Put them together and what do you have? The personal airbag-suit.

Okay, so the name's not too catchy, but the concept is good. When a rider is thrown from their bike, their suit instantly inflates and cushions their impact on the tarmac.

It's an idea so good that it's almost happening already.

"A company called Dainese make a jacket called the D-Air, which might be out in 2006," says Daniel Thornton, products editor of Motorcycle News.

"It's made of three separate air-bags that inflate in 30 milliseconds - but a lot of people have questions about what happens if it inflates at the wrong time.

"Professional riders do also not want to be riding in anything too bulky or non-aerodynamic."

Ian Pearson fears that such an air-bag would actually make motorbikes less safe - because riders would think they could take more risks.

"They've always said that the way to improve safety in cars is not to keep making improvements in in-car protection, but to put a six-inch nail in the middle of the steering-wheel and dispense with seat-belts," he says.

"That way, people would drive astonishingly carefully, because they would know that if they crashed, they would be killed."