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Tony Grist

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The Holy Terror: H.G. Wells [Sep. 8th, 2011|12:00 pm]
Tony Grist
If you set your book in the immediate future you're willing it a short life- and if the date of publication is 1939 and you're talking about a universe of the 1940s in which there's no second world war and an (offstage) Hitler retires with honour to his hunting lodge and your anti-hero uses Oswald Mosley's brown shirts (lightly disguised) as a stepping stone to world domination then its vogue is going to be very short indeed.

A pity, really, because The Holy Terror (for all that Wells is writing on auto-pilot for much of the time) is a convincing portrait of a fictional man of genius (in this case a politician) and such things are extraordinarily rare. 

[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-09-09 10:05 am (UTC)
I'm sitting here trying to imagine why Hitler would have retired honorably. Also, I had never heard of Oswald Mosley, before.

Wells seems a fascinating author. Reading your delightful thumbnail reviews, I can easily see why Mencken devoted so much ink to the man's literary autopsy.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2011-09-09 08:03 pm (UTC)
Wells reckoned that the shine would go off Nazism and people would get tired of it and Hitler would just quietly withdraw.

As if...
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[User Picture]From: michaleen
2011-09-10 11:16 am (UTC)
I suspect Wells, for all his amazing foresight, failed to recognize the power of carefully managed, state-of-the-art political spectacle combined with the skillful use of mass media. We look at the rally at Nuremberg, for instance, and we see the Nazis looking backward at Roman imperialism. What we fail to see, I think, is just how modern those magnificent color photographs are. The technology that conjured the Fuhrer and the dream of a Thousand-Year Reich into existence is so thoroughly modern that it is almost transparent to our eye.
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