Sep 17 2008

In the Days of the Comet by H.G. Wells

Wells was not a religious man, yet somehow this strikes me as a deeply religious book. He seems to have had a profound conviction that the world we live in is a fallen world that has gone horribly wrong, and he seems to have been equally certain that nothing short of a deus ex machina like a comet from outer space could ever set things right again. From a world of injustice, oppression, inequality, pettiness, and cruelty emerges a new utopia of peace and brotherhood and love. Yet the part of the book that describes this utopia is rather dull and anticlimactic; far more engaging is the earlier account of the narrator as an angry young man with a vendetta against society and a chip on his shoulder against fate. I identified with this bitter young man and his sense of outrage against Things As They Are; I was rooting for him to exact his vengeance when the vapors of the comet suddenly brought peace to the world. Not a great story, but a potent expression of Wells’ vision.

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