1899 __ « When the Sleeper Wakes »
‣ Comment : His early novels, called "scientific romances", invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. Wells contemplates the ideas of nature versus nurture and questions humanity in books such as The Island of Doctor Moreau. Not all his scientific romances ended in a happy Utopia, and in fact, Wells also wrote the first dystopia novel, “When the Sleeper Wakes” (1899, rewritten as “The Sleeper Awakes”, 1910), which pictures a future society where the classes have become more and more separated, leading to a revolt of the masses against the rulers. — The Sleeper Awakes (1910) is a dystopian novel by H. G. Wells about a man who sleeps for two hundred and three years, waking up in a completely transformed London, where, because of compound interest on his bank accounts, he has become the richest man in the world. A fanatical socialist and author of prophetic writings, the main character awakes to see his dreams realized, and the future revealed to him in all its horrors and malformities. The novel, originally published as When the Sleeper Wakes in 1899, was re-written in 1910, its original form having proved unsatisfying for Wells. "Like most of my earlier work", says Wells, "it was written under considerable pressure; there are marks of haste not only in the writing of the latter part, but in the very construction of the story". — Francis Bacon's thinking (in "New Atlantis", 1656) could bave been placed into the realms of modern science fiction writing. He has something in common with H.G. Wells who, in his novel "When the Sleeper Wakes " (1899), predicted babble machines chattering out news and propaganda into people's homes everywhere. The old man character made this interesting philosophical observation about the cultural limitations of physiologically separating the human voice from the body. The central character Graham appreciates the propagandist power of this new medium of communication. Bear in mind that H.G. Wells was writing in 1899, twenty-two years before radio was effectively established as a 'broadcasting' service. (Tim Crook)
‣ French comment : Wells questionna l'essence même de l'humanité en opposant les idées de nature et de culture. Toutes ses utopies ne se terminaient pas forcément de manière heureuse, comme le montre le roman “When the Sleeper Wakes” (1899) (republié sous le titre “The Sleeper Awakes”, 1910) qui relève davantage de la dystopie.
‣ Original excerpt : « Chapter XI. — [...] When I was a boy. — I'm that old. — I used to read printed books. You'd hardly think it. Likely you've seen none. — they rot and dust so. — and the Sanitary Company burns them to make ashlarite. But they were convenient in their dirty way. Oh I learnt a lot. These new-fangled Babble Machines. — they don't seem new-fangled to you, eh ?. — they're easy to hear, easy to to forget. [...] Chapter XV. — The state apartments of the Wind Vane Keeper would have seemed astonishingly intricate to Graham had he entered them fresh from his nineteenth century life, but already he was growing accustomed to the scale of the new time. They can scarcely be described as halls and rooms, seeing that a complicated system of arches, bridges, passages and galleries divided and united every part of the great space. He came out through one of the now familiar sliding panels upon a. plateau of landing at the head of a flight of very broad and gentle steps, with men and women far more brilliantly dressed than any he had hitherto seen ascending and descending. From this position he looked down a vista of intricate ornament in lustreless white and mauve and purple, spanned by bridges that seemed wrought of porcelain and filigree, and terminating far off in a cloudy mystery of perforated screens. Glancing upward, he saw tier above tier of ascending galleries with faces looking down upon him. The air was full of the babble of innumerable voices and of a music that descended from above, a gay and exhilarating music whose source he never discovered. — Chapter XX. — [...] He went off at a tangent to ask for information about these Babble Machines. For the most part, the crowd present had been shabbily or even raggedly dressed, and Graham learnt so far as the more prosperous classes were concerned, in all the more comfortable private apartments of the city were fixed Babble Machines that would speak directly a lever was pulled. The tenant of the apartment could connect this with the cables of any of the great News Syndicates that he preferred. When he learnt this presently, he demanded the reason of their absence from his own suite of apartments. Asano stared. 'I never thought,' he said. 'Ostrog must have had them removed. »
‣ Source : Wells, H.G. (1899), “ When the Sleeper Wakes”, London : Harper & Brothers.
‣ Urls : http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/775 (last visited ) http://www.gutenberg.org/files/775/775-h/775-h.htm (last visited )
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