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The World Set Free

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

The World Set Free is considered a prophetical novel foretelling the advent of nuclear weapons.

A constant theme in Wells’s work was the role of energy and technological advance as a determinant of human progress.

The novel opens: “The history of mankind is the history of the attainment of external power. Man is the tool-using, fire-making animal.” Scientists of the day were well aware that the slow natural radioactive decay of elements like radium continues for thousands of years, and that while the rate of energy release is negligible, the total amount released is huge. Wells used this as the basis for his story.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .as an electric-traction system is planned, without reference to pre-existing apparatus, upon scientific lines, did not take a very strong hold upon the popular imagination of the world until the twentieth century. Then, the growing impatience of the American people with the monstrous and socially paralysing party systems that had sprung out of their absurd electoral arrangements, led to the appearance of what came to be called the 'Modern State' movement, and a galaxy of brilliant writers, in America, Europe, and the East, stirred up the world to the thought of bolder rearrangements of social interaction, property, employment, education, and government, than had ever been contemplated before. No doubt these Modern State ideas were very largely the reflection upon social and political thought of the vast revolution in material things that had been in progress for two hundred years, but for a long time they seemed to be having no more influence upon existing institutions t. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This was an unusual book which at times is written in a very historical textbook-like manner in some distant future looking back upon our times. In other places, the narrative becomes more story-like and focussed upon certain individuals who have an impact on major events. This book is renowned for

I enjoyed reading this book even though I was thoroughly aware of the predictions about nuclear weapons. In fact, that was some of the reason I picked the book up. I wanted to read this legendary story about humanity and nuclear warfare. What did surprise me were the predictions that are not discuss

I have read other HG Wells books, and this one was on par with his part storytelling, part documentary-philosophy format, which is admittedly not always an easy read.

Wells wrote the book in 1913, and the alternate history story he writes predicts such things as atomic bombs, an increase in capitalis

I read this when I was about 11 and I can't remember a thing about it, except that Wells predicts atomic weapons and they finally turn out to be a good thing. I suddenly feel I should re-read it!

Looking for something else, I just made a startling discovery.

As Iran and America ramp up nuclear war, it is time to reappraise this 1914 novel predicting the atomic bomb. In the wake of the worldwide nuclear catastrophe, Wells envisions a form of world state, a global government, to prevent complete armageddon, not unlike the formation of the UN after WWII. T

This is one of the more unsettling pieces of sci-fi I've read. I say "unsettling" not because of the early predictions of use of atomic power as energy, and (as most often cited by other reviews) nuclear war, but by the future echoes of Brexit, Marine LePen, and the question of a viable European uni

Like nearly everyone who has already reviewed this book, I found Wells’s prescience astonishing! Admittedly, this was my first H.G. Wells book and I expected the prose to be stronger. Nonetheless, one cannot help but suspect that all the prophetic aspects of the work (atomic energy and atomic weapo

Me gusta muchisimo Wells y tuve muchas ganas de leer este libro cuando me enteré que existía a partir de un documental sobre la bomba atómica.
Si no es uno de los libros que más se popularizaron de Wells es porque claramente no está a la altura que sus mejores clásicos. En particular se siente como

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