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Old 02-26-2018, 10:22 AM
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Default The War in the Air, HG Wells, 1907



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The War in the Air, a military science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, written in four months in 1907 and serialized and published in 1908 in The Pall Mall Magazine is, like many of Wells's works, notable for its prophetic ideas, images, and concepts. In this case, the use of aircraft for the purpose of warfare and the coming of something completely new - World-wide War.

First, the book can be had for free - The War in the Air by H. G. Wells in multiple formats (MOBI/Epub, etc) Amazon offers the book as a free in Kindle - if you have an account.

A well done synopsis can be found here - The War in the Air - Wikipedia

I recently traveled to Texas for a respite from the snow. As a consequence, found that I would have a large layover in Sea-Tac - not to mention 8 hours worth of air time.

Now, with these basics out of the way, why should you download and read the book?

The book, written in 1907 is almost prophetic in arguing that the old way of war is (was) overcome by the ability to wage war in the air.
Most specifically, no place in a warring Nation could be considered "safe". Where before, if one was more than a cannon shot from a coastline, safety was assured. With free access by air 7x24, this 'safety' had evaporated. Wells missed on his hardware predictions, but was spot on in his descriptions of the results.

I'm the kind of reader that looks for the details in a work - this book struck me as especially insightful. Wells looked at the results of war on an urbanized UK - of his time. People, he noted, didn't cook anymore. So whatever the survivors produced were poor fare indeed. With the advent of large scale mills, nobody even knew how to weave cloth, so folks were reduced to wearing rags.

In other words, a careful examination shows the book to truly be survivalist fiction. Written in 1907.

Wells examines the loss of credit, the loss of faith in paper money (script) and the resulting chaos. He also looks at the impact on urban areas when food stops arriving by rail.

He makes the points that while military force from the air can topple a government, it cannot subdue a people. If only Billy Mitchell had read and understood the concepts in this book... In this point, the book is as relevant today as when published - one need only look at the mes in SWA.

My point? If you are trying to spread the word on personal preparedness, this may be a book to recommend - it is a 'classic' and affords a view of Victorian England as it unraveled. It makes many good points about the workings of an urban society and the results of a collapse of the currency, among others.

That a solid personal preparedness message in baked in is a real plus.

This is an easy read, in proper English, and is a decent story, altho parts do drag a bit, mostly due to the change in technology.

I would recommend this for any HS aged young adult. While not as graphic as much of what passes for popular fiction today, it does have several areas that would be upsetting to a younger reader.

Have fun.
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Old 02-26-2018, 03:52 PM
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It is truly amazing how close some of the earliest novelists came to what would happen well beyond their life times. As you said, details were not always correct, but many of the concepts and societal ideas were spot on.

H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard, and Sir Arthur Cannon Doyle all had good insights into the human condition and placed them in science fiction stories.

Just my opinion.
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