Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The Sleeper Awakes: H.G. Wells

A Victorian gentleman wakes from a 200 year coma to find himself in the middle of a revolution. The brutalised working class of a future London is rising up against the mercantile elite. There is lots of fighting and running around. It's a bit like Fritz Lang's Metropolis- which Wells hated- probably because he thought Lang and his writers had ripped him off. It's also a lot like Dr Who.

The descriptions of  the new London- a roofed city of skyscrapers, largely lacking in private space- are exhilarating. Among the things Wells predicted and got approximately right are these: television, video, surveillance cameras, sexual equality, porn, celebrity hairdressers, powered flight, motorways, moving walkways, fascism and the Battle of Britain. Things he failed to anticipate include mass migration and the future's distaste for unthinking racism.

He later said he thought this particular future was impossible because capitalists aren't smart enough to become despots.  Living in a age in which the gap between rich and poor continues to widen and only millionaires can aspire to high office I'm not so sure.
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