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The Inheritors

Joseph Conrad

Book Overview: 

The Inheritors: An Extravagant Story is a quasi-science fiction novel on which Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad collaborated. It looks at society's mental evolution and what is gained and lost in the process. Written before the first World War, its themes of corruption and the effect of the 20th Century on British aristocracy appeared to predict history. In the novel, the metaphor of the "fourth dimension" is used to explain a societal shift from a generation of people who have traditional values of interdependence, being overtaken by a modern generation who believe in expediency, callously using political power to bring down the old order.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .l these people clubbed together and started a paper which they hired Fox to run, which was to bring their money back again, which was to scratch their backs, which…. It was like the house that Jack built; I wondered who Jack was. That was it, who was Jack? It all hinged upon that.

"Why, yes," I said. "It seems rather neat."

"Of course," Fox wandered on, "you are wondering why the deuce I tell you all this. Fact is, you'd hear it all if I didn't, and a good deal more that isn't true besides. But I believe you're the sort of chap to respect a confidence."

I didn't rise to the sentiment. I knew as well as he did that he was bamboozling me, that he was, as he said, only telling me—not the truth, but just what I should hear everywhere. I did not bear him any ill-will; it was part of the game, that. But the question was, who was Jack? It might be Fox himself…. There might, after all, be some m. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Genre-wise it's classified as a sci-fi thriller. Extra-dimensional beings are infiltrating the higher echelons of western society to engineer an economic collapse by scuppering yet another colony, this time in Greenland. The actual fantasy elements are reduced to a shimmering city in the air, a lady

In 1901 Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford, two of the greatest literary writers of the 20th Century, pooled their talents to write a novel about interdimensional terrorism. Almost no one has read it, and those who have do not seem to think much of it.

To critics, it is a mere curiosity, only of any

I finished reading the Inheritors this afternoon. Overall an enjoyable read, but one must remember, it is a science fiction/political intrigue story from 1901. Sadly, this was not the book that inspired Genesis in the song A Trick Of The Tail, though admittedly, it was an honest mistake. By the time

Separately, Joseph Conrad and Ford Maddox Ford wrote some of the most compelling fiction of the early 20th Cent. I had not been aware of their friendship and literary collaborations. What an odd pair! Condrad was a methodical stylist who wrote ponderous novels in an oddly-syntaxed English (Conrad wa

If you're not an aspiring Conrad completist like I am, you can quite easily not read this book because, frankly, it isn't very good. It starts off impressively--mysterious and beautiful girl "accidentally" meets a failing writer, tells him her secret (she's part of a pan-dimensional force of conques

The Dimensionists were to come in swarms, to materialise, to devour like locusts, to be all the more irresistible because indistinguishable. They were to come like snow in the night: in the morning one would look out and find the world white; they were to come as the gray hairs come, to sap the stre

This novel is crap Conrad. It has his usual amazing prose, but the story is tedious and goes nowhere. It was a chore to get through at only 200 pages. Also, don't buy into the idea that this is an early science fiction novel. While a major character claims that she's from the "Fourth Dimension," the

Different to most of Conrad’s books, and written in collaboration with another great author, Ford Maddox Ford.

A story about a romantically obsessed young writer, who slavishly follows the wishes of a very politically ambitious lady who is from the 4th dimension – that was the science fiction pretens

I get the appeal of this book in it's time, but the combination of light sci-fi and a study in manners just didn't wash for me. I would have been just as happy and far less distracted by having the plot work out without the fantatstical element, which in my mind was only a distraction. It read like

What a strange novel!
The Inheritors is an obscure book by two major British novelists. It's rarely discussed, and I can see why.

The plot concerns a political scheme to undermine the British empire, based on a Congo-like colonial venture and manipulated journalists. The lead schemer claims she's from

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