1898
Historian and sociologist H. G. Wells (1866-1946), who also penned The Time Machine (1895), publishes his novel War of the Worlds.

In his first sentence, H. G. Wells writes (Steven Spielberg lets the narrator say similar words in his film version of 2005):

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth
century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by
intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as
men busied themselves about their various concerns they were
scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a
microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and
multiply in a drop of water.”

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