“Under the Knife,” H. G. Wells, 1896 — (alternate: “Slip Under the Knife”) A depressed man with a pain in his ribs is about to go “under the knife.” Before the operation, he goes for a walk in the city and ruminates on his life and possibly impending death. While under anesthesia, a vein is accidentally cut. During his near-death experience, he is “cut adrift from matter” and his consciousness or “soul” leaves his body. He floats through space, further and further from Earth, such that he beholds the cosmos. While ensconced in a feeling of serenity, he speculates on man’s place in the universe. At the end of the universe, he encounters a grotesque cloud in the shape of “clenched Hand.” It pronounces that there will be “no more pain,” and as he awakes, the surgeon takes shape. The man finds that his physical and perhaps spiritual pain has been cured.
Author: Wikipedia: “Herbert George ‘H.G.’ Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English author. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing text books and rules for war games. Together with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback, Wells has been referred to as ‘The Father of Science Fiction’.”