A book of dream visions from a recently deceased League of Nations diplomat named Doctor Phillip Raven describes future events from about 1930 to 2100. The predicted future is a highly detailed account that proves prescient in many ways, extending past our current time into the transition to a Golden Age.
In the Shape of Things to Come, H.G. Wells looks into the future and discusses political theory in this thinly-veiled political manifesto. In fact, the plot is merely a frame story that interjects so sporadically that its mostly distracting from the political point in question.
H.G. Wells is a fantastic historian, and if his commentary on recent events of World War I and the roaring twenties is insightful, his prediction of the players, causes, and timing of World War II is incredible. He didn’t get every detail correct, but it begs the question of whether Wells was an extraordinarily astute student of current events, or if a large population of the time could have made the same predictions. However, as the predictions move further into the 20th century, he misses the mark more and more, as you might expect.
It’s not fair to judge a book on the author’s ability to see the future, but the climax of the “story” examines how the Modern State, in which an egalitarian world government rules a human population without hunger or gambling or unemployment, comes to be. The future state seems like a place of leisure with infinite resources, but also full of eugenically engineered people in which women have no positions of authority.
Unfortunately, the majority of the book is tedious and rambling, especially if you are looking for a science fiction story with a plot and a protagonist. In fact, it’s downright boring most of the time.
Recommended for fans of history and political theory, and for superfans of H.G Wells!