he long trek through Don Quixote continues, the end in sight. Given that I had a train show, an airport run and a software load (all before sunup Sunday), I didn’t get it done (expecting it cleared by dinner tonight). So that being the case, I grabbed one of my H.G. Wells collections from the shelf, opened to a random story and read it.
A Dream of Armageddon opens in our living dream, that of a man on a train pausing at Rugby, of a haunted man entering, of the conversation quickly turning towards dreams (for the narrator is carrying a book on that subject). And hence begins the strange tale of the shivering man in the coach who channels for some future life, a life of a man who has left the reckless game of politics behind, who turned his back on “The North” and came down to Italy to be with his love, to live his own life.
But in the North the man he left in power, this Evesham, he is rattling cages, engaging in rhetoric and rising the world towards the wars hardly remembered nor imagined. The old machines long left dormant are coming back on line, there are bold patriotic parades in the streets, sabre-rattling galore. Even members of the man’s old party have come down, to seek him out, to ask him to return (the rub being that should he return, he shall be forced to renounce this life of his, and this woman of his, to throw it away). And this he chooses not to do.
The story gets darker and darker as we see the penalties for the road, not of duty, but of pleasure. The pair flee the world gone mad but this is a world war, a total war – there is no safety. And in the end, as the sleeper confesses, there is an end, a dark end. And then, what comes next…
I can’t say anything bad about Wells. I’ve loved his work and enjoyed this one. The best I can do is point you to a link where advanced readers can try it for themselves. Just ignore that the world 400 years hence will still use aeroplanes and bullets (and not more massive munitions). It’s right here for your pleasure.