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33 ..... "Petronius," Dial, LXXI (Sept 1921), 315-23. Rev of Satyrlcon: contrasts realism and romance. M idealizes the present. Recounts Secret Glory. Petronius recalls us to life. REVIEW: A BOUQUET FOR H. G. WELLS Mark R. Hlllegas, The Future as Nightmare: H. G. Wells and the Anti-Utopians. New York: Oxford University Press, 19677 15.75. Here is everyone's guide to antl-utopia. To the general reader it offers a survey of the major anti-utopias of the twentieth century that compares favorably with Kingsley Amis's survey of their pulp counterparts In New Maps of Hell. To the classroom teacher it offers a systematic history of the development of antlutopia based not only on a close knowledge of the texts and criticism but also on Mr. Hlllegas's considerable experience of teaching science fiction at the graduate and undergraduate levels. To the specialist It offers much important fresh Information. But the real value of the book is that it presents all this wealth of material In support of a significant and provocative thesis, namely , that "to an extraordinary degree the great anti-utopias [of the twentieth century] are both continuations of the imagination of H. G. Wells and reactions against that imagination." Actually, Wells's imagination is regarded as double. The antlutoplas are continuations of the pessimistic imagination of the Wells who wrote The Time Machine. The Island of Dr. Moreau and (but here already the pessimism is equivocal)~The First Men in the Moon, When the Sleeper Wakes and "A Story of the Days to Come.' Oq the other hand, the antl-utoplas are reactions against what Orwell termed the "fat-bellied perfectionism" of the imagination of the Wells who later wrote A Modern Utopia and Men Like Gods. The book has three sections. The first and longest Is a chronological discussion of Wells's work and views from cosmic nightmare to earthly paradise - from The Time Machine to Men Like Gods. The second is a discussion of the great antl-utoplas, especially "The Machine Stops," We, Brave New World, 1984 and That Hideous Strength, relating all of them firmly to Wells. The final section Is a briefer account of the antl-utoplas of the 1950's and 1960's, works like Evelyn Waugh's Love Among the Ruins, L. P. Hartley's Facial Justice and Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange besides "a veritable flood of novels and stories" by pulp science fiction writers (who now turned to antl-utoplas for the first time), among them at least three of superior literary force: Frederick Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth's The Space Merchants, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Player Piano and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. All of these works, too, are easily identifiable as antl-utoplas lineally descended from the earlier Wells of the scientific romances. Yet the book concludes with a brief glance at "that other Wellsian form, the utopia," instancing as signs of its renewed vitality three Important utopias published since World 34 War II: B. F. Skinner's Waiden II, Ivan Yefremov's Andromeda and Aldous Huxley's Island. The Future as Nightmare is annoying In a major respect. Since Wells's rapid reversal about I900 from anti-utopian to Utopian so conveniently puts him on both sides of the issue, and since, in any case, the ground of this shift is the main puzzle of Wells criticism today, It is disturbing that Mr. Hlllegas registers the changeover in silence as to its causes or its significance. One inevitably wonders in just what sense the anti-utoplans are Wellslan and in what sense counter-Wellsian if Wells himself was somehow both. The force of Wells's influence, and of its binocular quality, are not in question here. Mr. Hlllegas very fully and convincingly demonstrates the deliberate evisceration of fatbellied Wellslanlsm In the great antl-utoplas; and he is equally authoritative in demonstrating the less obvious fact that, more or less consciously or unconsciously, the anti-utopias (except That Hideous Strength) are derivative in form and in certain important imagery from Wells's early works of cosmic pessimism, the scientific romances. Nevertheless, it is with some sense of disappointment that one reads at the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 33-34
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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