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When Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide #1)

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,433 Ratings  ·  97 Reviews
South African astronomer Sven Bronson determines that a pair of rogue planets, Bronson Alpha & Bronson Beta, will enter the solar system. The larger one, Alpha, will pass close enough to cause catastrophic damage. Eight months later, after swinging around Sol, Alpha will return, pulverize the Earth & leave. He believes Bronson Beta will remain, assuming a stable or ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 344 pages
Published 1933 by Frederick A Stokes Company (first published January 1st 1932)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
...more
Amy Sturgis
This is justifiably known as a classic of apocalyptic science fiction. It's an absorbing read. Two planets, pulled from their orbits, are hurtling toward Earth. One will make a disastrously close pass, and the second will impact our planet directly. With almost journalistic objectivity, the novel relates the global efforts by humanity to cheat certain death, and in particular the quest in the United States (with both American and international personnel) to shift a small number of people to one ...more
Sandy
Jun 21, 2016 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To look at the astronomical statistics, you would think that planet Earth is a sitting duck. In our teensy immediate neighborhood of the galaxy alone, there are over 14,000 asteroids zipping about, not to mention over 100 near-Earth comets. Asteroids of over one kilometer in diameter have hit the Earth, it is approximated, twice every million years during the planet's history; those of five kilometers, every 20 million years. Every 2,000 years, it has been said, a chunk of space matter collides ...more
Thom
Aug 31, 2015 Thom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-series
This short novel is full of win!

First off, it is a grand adventure story, with all the elements you would expect - travel, landscapes, interactions with people. Next, it's a disaster story like no other - real end-of-the-world stuff. Lastly, it's science fiction - describing manned flight off-planet, weightlessness, and the rigors of take-off and landing. All of this written before 1932!

Yes, some of the science we know today is missing. Miniaturization, computers, radio communication through spa
...more
Sharon Powers
May 12, 2015 Sharon Powers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer. It is the second of three books I have read by the writing team.

SHORT SYNOPSIS: It is discovered
...more
Brian
May 10, 2014 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Brendan
Sep 27, 2013 Brendan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
R. Ellis
Apr 05, 2010 R. Ellis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jon
May 09, 2016 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikita Dirk
When worlds collide,by Philip Wylie,Edwin Balmer, and John Varley was a book about a planet, and a moon to that planet, heading on an intersecting coarse with the Earth that will cause mass extinction around the Earth and will most likely destroy it. There is a group of scientist that will attempt to populate the main planet while earth will collide with the moon. They plan on doing this by building a rocket and sending a select few to the new planet to repopulate and keep the human race alive.
I
...more
Andrew
Apr 29, 2014 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jim Davis
I thought that I was re-reading this book because I remembered the general story line. But when i started i realized I had never actually read it. What I was remembering was from the excellent, for 1951, George Pal movie but as usual left stuff out and changed a few things from the book. I found the book to have become pretty dated over the last 80 years but it must have been a terrific read in 1933 with it's new and exciting SF idea for an earth ending disaster. I wish I had read it when I was ...more
Mscout
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.
Kurtis
An extra-terrestrial planet is flying through space towards earth, causing unimaginable quakes, massive tsunamis and major volcanic eruptions as it nears, wiping out most of the population. But there is still hope as there is a secondary planet, much like earth, orbiting the one with a collision course towards the planet we call home. A group of expert scientists take it upon themselves to succeed in a daunting task of gathering a team and the essentials needed for building a ship to travel from ...more
Robin
Feb 25, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016
This book was so much better than I expected. It wasn't overly deep, but it was exceedingly well paced. It opens with energy and manages to carry it without. There were a few scientific discrepancies, but that's just because it was written in 1933, and they were very easily overlooked.

The story was engaging without being overly heavy. It was a relaxing yet quality read.
I very much so look forward to reading After Worlds Collide.
Erik Graff
Dec 13, 2010 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Mark
Jun 17, 2011 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, 2011
I can see why this book is so popular. The ideas presented are astounding and for its time and they're pretty interesting too, even now-a-days. I can imagine what people must of wondered about after reading this book back in the 30's. Very well written and I'm recommending it to every sci-fi fan I know. True classic!
Jim Dooley
Dec 20, 2014 Jim Dooley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Bob
Jul 06, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ron
Oct 04, 2015 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was a high school freshman I simply loved this novel. I'd be afraid of reading it again for fear of spoiling the memory, so I'll just let it stand as-is..
William Korn
Jul 12, 2014 William Korn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Donald Kirch
Apr 29, 2009 Donald Kirch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic adventure. This is the Queen-Mother of all disaster stories. It made a great movie too!
Tom Rowe
Good book. Not great. Maybe a better movie. No verbs in this review.
Isaac Benge
Jun 16, 2014 Isaac Benge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good! That is the 'original' science fiction!
Megan
Great book, ideas ahead of its time!
Barrett Goldflies
I remember seeing the 1951 film based on the first book, and became curious about what the books had in store. I picked up a copy on Amazon, and began reading. Though it's a bit cliche to state that the book was better...but this is a case that certainly deserves it. "When Worlds Collide" captures by imagination and became one of my favorites instantly! I loved the imagination, creativity and overall story that the novel presents. Although some spelling errors and a few points that seem off did ...more
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MisterFweem
Feb 17, 2015 MisterFweem rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jim
Aug 08, 2010 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Alex
Nov 03, 2012 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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When Worlds Collide 2 9 Aug 09, 2013 01:39AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

When Worlds Collide (3 books)
  • After Worlds Collide (When Worlds Collide, #2)
  • The Terrans of Beta (Worlds Collide, #3)

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