Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist
poliphilo

Tono-Bungay: H.G. Wells

Two modern types: Uncle Ponderevo, the silly little fat man with the Napoleon complex- who can never quite bring himself to acknowledge that his business empire is based on fraud- and his nephew George (our narrator) a clear-sighted technocrat, who knows he's gipping the public but does it anyway.  Both are criminals: Uncle Ponderevo is a  forger, George is a murderer.  These two will inherit the earth. 

Uncle Ponderevo gets busted, but there are thousands like him to carry forward the inane good work of the consumer society. George (whose overseas exploits are a perfect little parable of imperialism) gets away with everything. The last we see of him he is designing warships.

Wells is best known for his science fiction. This- his most carefully crafted novel, perhaps his best- is also in its way- a prophecy, even though it never trespasses out of its own time. We still live in the world of the Ponderevos: the one exploiting our weaknesses at home, the other stealing- and killing- abroad.
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