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In the Days of the Comet

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

William ("Willie") is a student living in the British town of Clayton. As a Socialist, he tries to move power from the upper class to the working class. Interestingly, in a fictitious confrontation Britain declares war on Germany. Willie falls in love with Nettie, but when she elopes with an upper-class man, Willie resolves to kill them both. Throughout the novel there is present in the sky a large comet which gives off a green glow. As Willie prepares to shoot the lovers, two battleships appear and begin shelling the coast, causing Willie to nearly lose his targets. As the comet enters the atmosphere, it gives off a green gas which envelopes everyone including Willie, who falls asleep. Willie wakes up a changed man. He is able to reason so clearly that he realizes the foolishness of his plan for revenge. Other people have changed too. Our hero marvels at how humankind has risen to new levels of vision and understanding. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .hat she thought our talk might end.

But I did not mean it to end like that.

"For good?" said I. "No! . . Nettie! Nettie! You don't mean that!"

"I do," she said deliberately, still looking at me, and with all her pose conveying her finality. She seemed to brace herself for the outbreak that must follow.

Of course I became wordy. But I did not submerge her. She stood entrenched, firing her contradictions like guns into my scattered discursive attack. I remember that our talk took the absurd form of disputing whether I could be in love with her or not. And there was I, present in evidence, in a deepening and widening distress of soul because she could stand there, defensive, brighter and prettier than ever, and in some inexplicable way cut off from me and inaccessible.

You know, we had never been together before without little enterprises of endearment, without a fa. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Wells was a Fabian socialist and pacifist who devoted much of his work both in his fictions and non-fictions towards educating people. In the Days of the Comet he presents a thought-experiment: What if everyone became rational?

By "rational" I mean, upon first consideration, any action predicated upo

In The Days Of The Comet is the perfect setting for Wells to explore and dissect the psychology of humanity as a whole.

This psychology is explored by answering one, fairly vague, question; "What would happen if the whole of humanity was suddenly nice to each other and stopped being mean to each oth

Wells really nailed the melodramatic angst of the incel. I'm not entirely onboard with the latter portion of the book, but it didn't end terribly. Much of the sentiment in the work regarding women is dated and sexist: it's definitely a product of its time...more

Somehow different from the other H. G. Wells novels, as the comet and the SF part play a subsidiary role here. In fact, we have a social pamphlet involving the young socialist William, his early life and his fate.

In the boo-hooish Edwardian era, a furious socialist is inflamed with hatred when an aristocrat pinches his cash-fond lover. A passing comet then causes the ‘Change’, removing human assholerie from the world with magic green gas, leading to a vague kind of utopia based on niceness and sexless thrupl

La storia ruota attorno a William Leadford, uno studente disoccupato che vive nella città industriale di Clayton in Gran Bretagna. Convinto socialista, egli lotta per un cambiamento di potere a partire dalle classi più elevate, per via dalle squallide condizioni di vita causate dallo sviluppo indust

For this year's reading journey, from all of H.G. Wells’ works, I picked one that I was completely and totally unfamiliar with, and I deliberately picked one in the heart of the time frame I most associate with his writing, the early 1900s, even though I’m well aware that he continued writing fictio

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