Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1)” as Want to Read:
When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide #1)

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  995 ratings  ·  77 reviews
When Worlds Collide is a '33 sf novel cowritten by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer along with its '34 sequel After Worlds Collide. It was 1st published as a six-part monthly serial (9/32-2/33) in Blue Book magazine, illustrated by Joseph Franké.
When Worlds Collide had far-reaching influences on the sf genre. The themes of an approaching planet threatening the Earth, &
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published 1933 by J.B. Lippincott Company (first published January 1st 1932)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about When Worlds Collide, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about When Worlds Collide

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,849)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mike (the Paladin)
Dated but wonderful book. I have the book with When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide both in it though it's simply called When Worlds Collide. As noted this book is very dated, was written long ago and has some pretty un-PC parts, but it's a good story and shouldn't be missed.

You will definitely spot the time lag here when you start to deal with science in the book but it doesn't take away from the experience. As a matter of fact you might find it interesting. The world of science fiction
R. Ellis
Written in the years immediately preceding World War II, this book and its sequel "After Worlds Collide" tell a gripping tale about the end of our planet and mankind's survival (by creating "arks" capable of jumping to another planet).

These books reminded me of Jules Verne's work in a way, probably because of the fantastic detail of the preparations, the events themselves, and the way the politics of the day affected the story line.

Remember, mankind had no rockets in 1933, certainly none capable
Sharon Powers
Well, you can see I gave this book 5 stars. I know, I know. It's an old book, not a "hot off the presses" book. Not a New York Times best seller. But I really loved it. I've also recently learned that Hollywood is about to turn this book into a major motion picture. And...I can hardly wait.

Now, to the book: First, it is 642 pages, so not a small book. It was written by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. It is the second of three books I have read by the writing team.

SHORT SYNOPSIS: It is discover
All those other apocalyptic books with their puny viruses and piddling nuclear wars have nothing on When Worlds Collide, which is about the smashing of Earth itself into jagged little pieces.

Or it would be -- if physics respected the three-act structure.

The book begins with the man who is carrying the fate of Mankind in his briefcase: photographic plates of two large planetary objects -- one about the size of Neptune, one Earth-sized -- that are on a collision course with the third planet in our
This is a book I will admit I never thought I would find - not that its hard to find - even though it was written some time ago (1933) there are numerous reprints out there - but no it was the fact that I remember the film, In fact the film was up there with Day the Earth Stood Still (the original), and This Island Earth, Invasion of the body snatchers, as some of the science fiction influences of my youth. A time when reading was not as important to me (yes that really did happen) I didnt reali ...more
Witten in the early 1930s, When Worlds Collide tells the story of what happens when two planets that have been set free from their own star "some millions of years ago" make their way into our solar system with first a close pass, then a direct collision course with Earth. Seems as if it's intended as a religious parable (even down to the female lead being named Eve), or at the very least, yet another indictment of man's inhumanity to man and his planet.
Erik Graff
Dec 13, 2010 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sf fans
Recommended to Erik by: C. G. Jung liked Wylie
Shelves: sf
Dated, but I liked it so much that I went out immediately to purchase and read its sequel, After World Collide. Both were read at grandmother's cottage in Lake Charter Township, Michigan.

A movie version of this volume was made in the fifties in color. It also holds up rather well. The most recent remake appears to be 2012--one of the worst disaster movies ever made.
Jim Dooley
This is an "end of the world" fiction that reads as if it was written by Any Rand. It has the same "matter of fact" style with descriptive characters that border on the stylized. The only thing absent from the comparison is the extended preaching to the audience. That does not occur in this book.

The narrative, without highly descriptive and colorful passages, reads almost like a journalist's essay of a major event. Somehow, that gives the story weight and significantly heightened my interest. Th
This is the first book I read outside of books required for school. I have the hard cover which I probably read in the early 50's. It has no date which it was printed. Copyright, 1932, 1933 by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie.
Roger Hecht
Imagine that you have irrefutable evidence that two planets located so deep in space that only the most powerful telescopes in the world can see them are on a catastrophic collision course with Earth. Only you and a small group of scientists know what is about to happen. Close study of one of the planets (Bronson Beta, named after discoverer, Sven Bronson) reveals signs of an ancient civilization that might have existed there before a passing star ripped it and its companion, Bronson Alpha, from ...more
William Korn
This book is an old friend. I first read it in my teens -- in fact, I read it to death over the years. I wanted to look at it again to see if the passage of time would change my opinion of it. I find I still really like it.

This is one of the seminal works of "modern" science fiction and one of the grandest "catastrophe" books ever written. The fact that some of the science is flat wrong and some of the characterizations in the book are decidedly non-PC and racist are a product of the year it was
Donald Kirch
Fantastic adventure. This is the Queen-Mother of all disaster stories. It made a great movie too!
Ah, the simplicity and ubiquity of the humble sandwich.

From lonely Arthur Dent, great sandwich maker and carver of Perfectly Normal Beasts on Lumella, to the famished Bilbo Baggins, longing not for bits of meat toasted on sticks but for a loaf and butter, the human longing for a sandwich knows no earthly nor metaphorical bounds.

Thus it is fitting that the intrepid voyagers in Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s “When Worlds Collide” should share sandwiches, wrapped in waxed paper, as they voyage fro
This binding contains two books, When Worlds Collide (published 1932) and After Worlds Collide (published 1933). I'd give the first a low three and the second a two.

It was an interesting approach to the "end of the world" stories. Based on their publication dates, presumably among the first of its kind. (The golden age of Science Fiction is generally considered late 1930s to 1950s, so this predates that.) Note that the description of a runaway planet that is headed for earth isn't accurate, it's
I found this an enjoyable listen over all (I listened to the Audible audiobook version), however the writing style is is quaint, highly embellished and somewhat stilted to 21st century ears. In fact, I can't believe people actually spoke like that in the 30's. The narrator does an excellent job of interpreting it, reflecting the formal tone but embellishing with good characterisation. The formality of the narrator's tone took some getting used to it, but once I realised it reflected the writing ...more
I probably should have written this review three weeks ago when I actually finished this When Worlds Collide/After Worlds Collide omnibus. But I went on to see how influential the Worlds Collide series actually was, and I've only just managed to escape.

The summary of my findings is… oh God, I don't remember. I ended up somewhere between an Eldritch Abomination and a face full of alien wing-wong and completely lost track of whatever I read at the start. Oh well, I'll just blag it and
Roddy Williams
'A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities and wiping out millions. In central North America a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.

A crackling plot and sizzling cataclysmic vision have made ‘When Worlds Collide’ one of the
The first time I remember hearing the name Philip Wylie was when the University of Nebraska put out this wonderful edition of When Worlds Collide (which also contains its sequel, After Worlds Collide). The plot of the book is no doubt well-known by now. Earth finds itself in the path of two rogue planets, one of them on a collision course with Earth. Some scientists believe the other planet might just be hospitable enough to allow human habitation, the problem being how to get from here to there ...more
Prescient and eloquent, this novel this post WWI novel grapples with deep questions of humanity's place in the scheme of things or maybe even Scheme of Things. The plot revolves around impending doom for the planet (not a spoiler as this comes out by page 10) and the idea of God and Destiny come into play in a way that suited me. The protagonists are modern Americans, scientists and sophisticates and yet a cataclysmic must give rise at least to a discussion of fate and God and that happens here ...more
Yuki Daigo
"What can you do till the world's end?" I think most of the people would regret or blame their destiny. However, people on this book are not weak like that. This book, written prior to World War II, presents a quite dated look at the end of the world. A pair of runaway planets are on a collision course with earth. The world is doomed, but human kind might have a chance to survive, if the best and brightest scientist can succeed in building a spaceship to take a few lucky pioneers to resettle on ...more
Andrew McBurney
This story is unnerving. But that has to be qualified: first, it's not like the 1950's movie; second, the writing style is a little contrived, but you get used to it after a while; third, the physics and engineering of some things described are off, but it doesn't really detract from the story itself; and fourth, there's a whole "genetic superiority" theme running through. The introduction goes into more detail about these issues. Now, having said all that, I still highly recommend it. I don't r ...more
If you forget that this was written 80 years ago, you might not think it is all that good.
It is pulpy in places - relying on fellas who can do anything - for example the stock broker who expertly uses military grade firearms to perfection.
And the mysterious appearance of what may have just as well been called METAL X, in the true tradition of science fiction pulp stories serves as the deus ex machina - it was more than a little Buck Rogers, or Chronicles of the Lensmen - but at least they didnt
Caitlin Binkhorst
While the dialog and situations in this book are very unrealistic the beauty of this is how an author researched and wrote about science and space travel long before the first trips to space. From building a space ship to the logistics of two planets colliding, to the effects of no gravity in space, this book is a mesmerizing time capsule to see how people in the 1930s imagined space travel.
I read this book back when I was an early teenager and absolutely loved it. So, I thought I would read it again, and was very surprised at how well the novels have stood the test of time.

Sure, it's dated, it was written 80 years ago, and sure a lot of the science is unsound, but it was amazing how many scenes jumped back to me while reading it.

The excitement of the discovery, the possible way out, the handling of the end of times, the discovery of a new world, the technology on the new planet s
Written quickly before going to work. Will probably edit later:

From the early days of science fiction comes a story that is a bit dated (unsavory references to Japanese; Germans and Russians are the evil bad guys; guys fight, women take shelter, etc) but still an interesting and well thought-out end of the world scenario. This edition contains both the original "When Worlds Collide" and the sequel "After Worlds Collide"

I really enjoyed When Worlds Collide because I like a good doomsday scenario
A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.
A crackling plot and sizzling, cataclysmic vision have made When Worlds Collide one of the
This is one of those popcorn books I'll read once in a while. Written in a more innocent time period, so the representation of women and other cultures are sometimes not so correct. However, the story is exciting and wondrous and so much fun to read that you can bypass it's faults.
This book is cheesier than a week in Wisconsin and nuttier than the Mr. Peanut family reunion. The science is either 1) exceptionally dated or 2) the stupidest thing I've ever heard, depending on which page we're talking about. If they made an MST3K for books, this would probably end up being one of the greatest episodes of all time. (And yes, I know they made a movie. It didn't work out. Do yourself a favor and run away screaming if you ever come across it.)

However, all that being said, it's a
Maybe I should give it three stars for how much I enjoyed not liking it. The characters were boring, predictable and unengaging, but maybe they were fresh and exciting in the 1930s.
Ditch the book. It is full of the most horrendous racial stereotypes, trite dialogue and dated science. Rent the movie instead: It is a classic.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 61 62 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
When Worlds Collide 2 8 Aug 09, 2013 01:39AM  
  • The Purple Cloud (Frontiers of Imagination)
  • A Wrinkle in the Skin
  • The Long Tomorrow
  • Odd John
  • Aftermath (Supernova Alpha, #1)
  • Down to a Sunless Sea
  • The Rift
  • Greybeard
  • This Is the Way the World Ends
  • The Year of the Quiet Sun
  • Nature's End
  • The Genocides
  • A Gift Upon the Shore
  • The Last Ship
  • Level 7
  • Beyond Armageddon
  • Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D
  • The World Ends in Hickory Hollow
Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when Philip was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University from 1920–1923. He married Sally Ondek, and had one child, Karen, an author who became the inventor of animal "clicker" training. After a d ...more
More about Philip Wylie...
After Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #2) Gladiator The Disappearance When Worlds Collide / After Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #1-2) Generation of Vipers

Share This Book