15 October 2008
The sleeper awakes - H.G. Wells
Oh how I love H.G. Wells. He is bloody brilliant, if I am permitted such an "englishism". The Sleeper Awakes is the story of a man who falls in a sleeping beauty-like coma, only to awake over 200 years later. As he awakes, he discovers that he is the master of the world; in his sleep, his estate has grown to own the entire world, simply through time. His once meager fortune is now immense, due to compound interest - I guess there wasn't a financial crisis requiring congressional intervention.
The novel, as you would guess, is a ripping indictment of capitalism. The owners of Graham (the sleeper) wealth use his money to first buy up the entire world and then to exert control over humanity. The sleeper becomes a prophetic character whom everyone reveres but whose existence is somewhat uncertain. As with many of his works, Wells succeeds in creating an almost eerily accurate depiction of the future, one in which, nevertheless, modern man may yet escape the pitfalls that Wells has envisioned.
This five years Ostrog has been working, and there has been trouble and trouble, and hunger and threats and high talk and arms. Blue canvas and murmurs. No one safe. Everything sliding and sliping.