Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The War In The Air: H.G. Wells

Wells (in 1907) thought a world war would bring about the collapse of civilisation as we know it.  He was soon proved wrong, of course. He was also wrong about air war rendering ground-based armies obsolete- which is odd because- while he foresaw the horrors of aerial bombarment- he also realised you couldn't conquer and subdue a population simply by dropping bombs on it.

The book has lost its interest as prophecy but survives as entertainment. It is- I suppose- the grandaddy of steam punk. A little cockney cad- not unlike Kipps or Mr Polly- gets caught up in the drama of the breaking of nations and comes out the far side as a thin-lipped gun-slinger. There are air-ships. Lots of them. And aeroplanes with flapping wings piloted by Japanese swordsmen. 
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