Short summary - Empire of the Ants - Herbert George Wells

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - Empire of the Ants
Herbert George Wells

Captain Gerillo was ordered to help the inhabitants of Badama fight the invasion of ants. The captain suspected that the authorities were simply mocking him. He was a Creole and possessed purely Portuguese ideas about etiquette and discipline. He trusted only Holroyd and Lancashire, a young engineer on the ship. On this journey through the little-known corners of the Amazon, Hollywood discovered the insignificance of man: man is a rare animal that has not settled firmly on this earth. In England, he used to think that the earth belongs to man. In England, it really belonged to man. A merry and seductive pagan deity in the form of a large wine flask reigned throughout the ship.

According to Gerillo, ants come (cleanse the territory) and leave, but man has nothing to do. But these ants, oddly enough, were not going to leave anywhere. It took a man some millennia to go from barbarism to civilization and feel on this basis masters of the future and rulers of the earth. But what can stop ants from going through the same evolution? They have a language, they have a mind! On the river, they saw an abandoned Coubert, on board of which there were two corpses. There were also ants on it. They did not move like ordinary insects, but as if performing a military operation. The larger ones had some kind of gray robe. The captain gave the order to the lieutenant and two members of the crew to board the couberté and inspect it. The lieutenant refused for a long time, but then obeyed the order. Ants bit him on a coubert (they poisoned their victim with strong poison), and he died at night. Gerillo ordered to burn the Coubert together with ants.

Having reached the place, they saw only abandoned buildings and ants. No one dared to go ashore. The captain fired a cannon twice (although he was forbidden to spend the cores) and decided that he should go back for instructions. The final chapter is an ironic account of new aspirants to world domination. They stubbornly moved forward, capturing more and more territories, forcing to flee or bringing death to all the people living here. Their numbers are growing rapidly, and Holroyd is firmly convinced that in the end they will displace people from the entire tropical zone of South America. On this they are unlikely to stop. And according to the author’s calculations, Europe will be discovered by the middle of the 20th century.