Saturday, March 23, 2013

'The War in the Air'

H G Wells wrote this book in 1907, and it was serialised in 1908. I discovered it as a free download from Amazon for my Kindle, never having heard of it before. I  finished reading it the other day.

I shouldn't have been surprised by what I read. This is an extraordinary book, written well before aerial warfare had become a reality. It must have been 'science fiction' in its day, and in our day it might perhaps be described as the best in 'steampunk'.

H G Wells describes an Edwardian world in which the air ship is a cheap means by which any country may project power across the globe, perhaps anticipating in an unexpected way the manner in which the aircraft carrier has since the 1940s allowed major nations to do the same.

He writes of a naive world taken by surprise by the secret accumulations of military power by Germany and the nations of the far east, ending in what might best be described as a post apocalyptic world. The action scenes are in my opinion engaging even in this 21st century world, and the style of writing is exactly what what we might expect from one of the great writers of the early years of the 20th century. I am excited to have discovered this book, and disappointed that it has taken me so long to have done so. I thoroughly recommend this book regardless of your interests.


  1. Thanks Robin. I've downloaded a copy and shall read it with great expectation!

  2. Sounds a little like Dystopian Wars, assuming I understand that "system", which I first noticed at Tagcon last year. Yes, I don't get out that often...

  3. Keith

    Yep. although I'd more immediately think 'HotT'.. ... just a great read..


  4. I bought this as a paperback book about 4 years ago and thought it was a fantastic read, great characters an a view of current world actions that are spooky. Alright, Im a huge HG Wells fan so I might be a little biased :) Great book and worth re-reading, as is the War of the Worlds :)