The Conquest of the Moon is one of Laurie’s most interesting science fiction novels and probably one of the most fanciful cosmic tales of all times. In it, a consortium which intends to exploit the Moon’s mineral resources decides that, since our satellite is too far to be reached, it must be brought closer to the Earth. A Sudanese mountain composed of pure iron ore becomes the headquarters of the newly established Selene Company. Solar reflectors are used to provide the energy required to convert the mountain into a huge electro-magnet, with miles of cables wrapped around it. A spaceship/observatory is then built on top of the mountain. When the experiment begins, the mountain is ripped away from the Earth and catapulted to the Moon. There, the protagonists have various adventures and eventually return to Earth by re-energizing the mountain.
Laurie, André was the pseudonym of Paschal Grousset (1845-1909), French politician and author. Grousset also published under the pseudonyms of Philippe Daryl, Tiburce Moray and Léopold Virey.
Grousset was born in Corsica, and studied medicine before commencing a journalistic career. As a result of an attempt by Grousset to challenge Prince Pierre-Napoleon Bonaparte to a duel during 1870, Grousset’s second, Victor Noir was shot and killed by Bonaparte during a quarrel. Later the same year Grousset was sentenced to six months imprisonment. He was arrested again in 1872 and deported to New Caledonia. He escaped, and lived in Sydney, San Francisco and London, making a living by teaching French. He returned to France after the 1880 amnesty, becoming involved in literature and physical culture, but eventually returning to politics and, in 1893, becoming a Socialist Deputy for the 12th arrondissement of Paris.