Monday, January 18, 2010

The Sleeper in H G Wells

I read the Time Machine when I was about 12. It was nothing like I expected it to be with its Morlocks & Eloi. With what I know now about literature I feel comfortable classifiying The Time Machine as both science fiction and modernism. In the end it shows us a brave new world that is a terrible place, a place where humanity has degenerated on the way to progress. I really like the book and have read it twice. I read about Wells on Wikipedia and found a lot to be impressed about. In his later life he was a kook who had odd ideas about aeroplanes. But that is okay. Along with the Time Machine I read The Chronic Argonauts, The Invisible Man, The Island of Dr Moreau, The Food of The Gods, lots of his short stores and The Sleeper Awakes.

The Sleeper Awakes is an obscure preqeul to the The Time Machine with a man who wakes up to find that he has slept for hundreds of years and is now the owner of the world since his stock holdings have grown to incorporate everything that can be owned . Furthermore, the managers of his vast fortune have become the world government. In this world there is now racial equality of a sorts with Africans being used to police and supress worker unrest in England, this causes a great deal of anger in our humble hero who believes in white supremacy to the very core of his being and he is willing to do everything he can to prevent it. Ultimately he fails when his plane crashes to earth. There are some interesting things in the novel such as aerial dogfights, strafing and bombing before anyone had built a working plane let alone used one in war which is very interesting.

The prose in the book is very dated to a modern reader and it has all the faults of most Edwardian/Victorian age science fiction. I think the biggest thing is the casual and blatant white supremacist views that Wells advocates in the book. I migh blog about this some more late or maybe not. The pattern is similar to what you can find in Bulwer Lytoon's The COming Race.

No comments: