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The Angel of the Revolution

George Griffith

Book Overview: 

A lurid mix of Jules Verne's futuristic air warfare fantasies, the utopian visions of News from Nowhere and the future war invasion literature of Chesney and his imitators, it tells the tale of a group of terrorists who conquer the world through airship warfare. Led by a crippled, brilliant Russian Jew and his daughter, the 'angel' Natasha, 'The Brotherhood of Freedom' establish a 'pax aeronautica' over the earth after a young inventor masters the technology of flight in 1903. The hero falls in love with Natasha and joins in her war against society in general and the Russian Czar in particular. It correctly forecasts the coming of a great war, but in pretty well all other respects widely misses the mark of the real events that followed. Nevertheless, it is a gripping and exciting story of intrigue and plot interwoven with love and romance played over a background of world war.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Smith to come and relieve him. A minute later Smith's head appeared at the top of the companion-ladder which led from the saloon to the wheel-house, and Arnold gave him the wheel and the course, saying at the same time to Colston—

"Now, come down and have something to eat, and then we will have a smoke and a chat and go to bed. There is nothing more to be seen until the morning, and then I will show you Petersburg as it looks from the clouds."

"If you told me you would show me the Ourals themselves, I should believe you after what I have seen," replied Colston, as together they descended the companion-way from the wheel-house to the saloon.

"Ah, I'm afraid that would be too much even for the Ariel to accomplish in the time," said Arnold. "Still, I think I can guarantee that you shall cross Europe in such time as no man ever crossed it before." [Pg 78]

CHAPTER XI.

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Community Reviews

Apparently this is Griffith's first and signature s.f. novel. It certainly is full of interesting concepts both high and low: war to end all wars, a progressive income tax, the intrigue of underground revolutionaries, aerial warships, international politics, advanced explosives and more.

There are re

This book was published in 1893 and fairly accurately predicted the invention of heavier-than-air vehicles in the early 1900s, although the planes were more like modern helicopters than the modified gliders that the Wrights first developed. Nevertheless, I found the description of the airplane’s des

The plot concerns Richard Arnold, a young man in England at the beginning of the 20th century who devotes his life to creating the world's first fully functional airship. After years of effort, he finally succeeds, but at the expense of everything else in his life, to the point that he finds himself

This one didn't hold up very well for me. Moorcock's update of the idea is a much more enjoyable read. Griffith's approach is just so juvenile much of the time--which isn't to say childish, it's more of a young man's immaturity.

The whole premise: that a powerful terrorist force is trying to destroy

An early example of a genre known, apparently, as"invasion fiction", this is a mix of early sf and political polemic. It's very much of its time, with airships regarded as the weapon that would make their possessor unbeatable and future war impossible. The idea of an Anglo-Saxon alliance being the n

I hadn't read any Griffith before and found this a very interesting work in comparison with other SF novels of the 1890s and early 1900s, such as _The Time Machine_ and _The Purple Cloud_. Griffith is very interested in ships, how they work, and the advantages that they provide, so a lot of this is

This was bonkers. A pre-WWI author trying to imagine what a World War would look like. And he gets so much right, which is pretty eerie. More people should have read this pre-1914.

Including.....

- Cascading military alliance treaties entangling the whole continent

-The main sides: France-Russia-Italy

I almost gave it a third star out of pity. It was interesting at points, but never anything special.

I can ignore the laughable, utopian characterization of socialism because it was a common product of stories at the time.

What's less forgivable is the lack of depth to these characters. Did anyone ca

In The Angel of the Revolution A Tale of the Coming Terror, Arnold is a poor inventor living in the east side of London. He invented a model air ship that runs on internal combustion by two (unknown) reactive gases. He was eating one day and a person came to him asking about the air ship. Arnold ask

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