Monday, June 21, 2010

Booknotes (NBR): H.G. Wells

I just finished reading a collection of H.G. Wells' short fiction, called A Dream of Armageddon:  The Complete Supernatural Tales.  The following passage struck me; it's from a story entitled "The Queer Story of Brownlow's Newspaper."  One morning, instead of receiving a newspaper for the current year, 1931, he receives a paper from the future:  1971.  His maid accidentally throws it away, and so he can only describe bits and pieces of it to the narrator.  Here's the narrator's response after hearing that the idea of individual nations was more or less obselete in 1971:

Now to me this is a very wonderful thing indeed.  It means, I take it, that in only forty years from now the great game of sovereign states will be over.  It looks also as if the parliamentary game will be over, and as if some quite new method of handling human affairs will have been adopted.  Not a word of patriotism or nationalism; not a word of party, not an allusion.  But in only forty years!  While half the human beings already alive in the world will still be living!  You cannot believe it for a moment.
It's fascinating to look at Wells' work in 2010 and see what he got right about the future.  On the other hand, it's disheartening to see which problems still plague us.

No comments: