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The World Set Free Hardcover – January, 2003

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From the Publisher

This book is a large print version using a minimum of 16 point type in a 6 by 9 inch size and library bound. As with all Quiet Vision print books, it use a high grade, acid free paper for long life. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Herbert George Wells's (1866-1946) career as an author was fostered by a childhood mishap. He broke his leg and spent his convalescence reading every book he could find. Wells earned a scholarship at the Norman School of Science in London. Wells's "science fiction" (although he never called it such) was influenced by his interest in biology. H. G. Wells gained fame with his first novel, "The Time Machine (1895)." He followed this with "The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), " and "The War Of The Worlds (1898)."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 172 pages
  • Publisher: IndyPublish.com (January 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1404338489
  • ISBN-13: 978-1404338487
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,093,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 199 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
In this book, Wells describes nuclear warfare and begins the descriptions of a possible future. He named uranium, "Carolinum" and talked about a chain reaction that would leave radiation behind so that nothing would survive afterwards, even if they did escape from the weapon itself. Dr. Szilard, the man who came up with the idea of splitting the atom with a nuetron, did so after reading, "The World Set Free". I say, NO KIDDING! Wells lays the idea right out in front of the world's face, laughing! It then goes on to describe future events that have occured, though in different times, and some which have yet to occur. He spoke of Carolinum (uranium), the atomic theory and its increadible source of power. He spoke of robotics and computers replacing people in the work place. This is where it all started folks. AND THIS IS JUST IN THE FIRST 100 PAGES! Trust me... it gets better :) If you wish yo know more on the theory and the bombs' construction, I refer you to Richard Rhodes. If you want to know the mind and the story that began this whole deal, read this book!!!!
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 1, 1999
Format: Paperback
H. G. Wells is not usually given enough credit for this particular book (in my opinion, his best). The focus is usually upon one of his other works such as The Time Machine. The World set Free is truly staggering in its scope, scale, and vision of the future. It is interesting to note how much Wells got correct about the future, and to see how much he did not. The fact that this book was written before World War I indicates his genius at seeing what might be possible and how this might come about. I cannot recommend this book more highly than by saying AN EXCELLENT, FASCINATING, GRIPPING PAGE-TURNER. A quick point about the original year of publication - if my memory is correct, it was originally published in 1910, rather than 1914.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By MOTU Review on October 25, 2010
The World Set Free (recently reissued as The Last War) is a 1914 science fiction novel by H. G. Wells. When atomic bombs are developed and the world is threatened with universal devastation, its leaders are forced to rethink war, government, and society.

The World Set Free is remarkably prophetic, as Wells forecasts both nuclear war and the capacity for mutually-assured destruction. And while Wells misses the mark on the way atomic bombs work (his atomic bombs have the same explosive power as conventional bombs, but they just keep on burning), he certainly doesn't underestimate their destructive power.

This book feels like a novel only in the sense that it relates a series of fictional events. What few individuals appear here are scarcely characters in the literary sense - other than Egbert, none are developed in the slightest. This simply wasn't what Wells is trying to do - Wells is interested in the technology and its ramifications, and because that's what he focuses on, The World Set Free reads like a fictional history book, or perhaps like an outline for a longer novel. This keeps it from ever getting too interesting, and while it's a short book, it can be hard to get through.

In short, The World Set Free is an impressively-imagined but not very well-written piece of prophetic science fiction.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By john@informed.co.nz on September 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
Ths work written in 1914 is not one of Wells' great works, but is of interest because it is
reputedly the first use of the words "atomic
bomb", and recognises the dangers of warfare
with a weapon of enormous destructive power
delivered from the air. It is remarkably prescient
in the light of the date of writing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BG on March 8, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent read far ahead of its time. It is both eerie and amazing to think of the gravity of social issues portrayed in context of the timeframe in which the book was written. It should be a required classroom read for high school students.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Guzlowski on December 2, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wells's novel is prophetic. He does imagine the atomic bomb and he does it before WWI. That's some feat, but the novel itself is hardly that. Very little characterization, very little plot development, very little of what we read fiction for.

Wells, at least in this novel, is no Jules Verne.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Chheyden on March 25, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although his stilted language style irked me as I read, it is to be expected from a nineteenth century educated author. Wells’ predictions of Mankind’s progress in the 20th century and beyond are if nothing else accurate and therefore all the more amazing since The World Set Free was finished in 1912. No one before him expounded in such detail and so deftly. He wraps these forecasts in an interesting tale. The professional narration by Eric Jones is well worth the 1.99 and contributes to the British mood in the story.

Wells ventures the untenable prediction that the horrific force of atomic power alone brings Mankind to the irrefutable conclusion that he must reform his ways and think only of his place as a part of the greater striving of Man as a whole, a concept which correlates to his bent towards socialism. Untenable if only because men have employed and enjoyed the use of force to subdue one another, conquer one another and convince one another of the correctness of their beliefs and desires over all others.

What I found truly astounding is, although Wells attributes it wrongly to the Atomic bomb’s unimaginatively coercive destructive force, he predicts the freeing of Man’s attention from the day to day grind for survival into a virtual aesthetic utopia. Forecasting, what I have observed in my life, that men, women, individuals will have the chance in the future, circa our times, to express their innermost creative urges and focus on making things, aesthetic creations.

Finally as the story closes he very simply and boldy affirms his immortal inheritance, in the waning moments via his final major charater Marcus Karinen, the world educator who has come to prominence in the New World Order that has been set free. And that inheritance and its freeing is the key to Man’s continued progress towards being set free.
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