Manny's Reviews > The World Set Free

The World Set Free by H.G. Wells
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Mar 21, 2012

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bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in January, 1969

I read this when I was about 11 and I can't remember a thing about it, except that Wells predicts atomic weapons and they finally turn out to be a good thing. I suddenly feel I should re-read it!

Looking for something else, I just made a startling discovery. If we're to believe Leó Szilárd's Wikipedia page, Szilárd, a prominent nuclear physicist, read Wells's book in 1932 and was greatly affected by it.

In 1939, with WW II clearly about to start, Szilárd drafted a letter to President Roosevelt, urging him to fund a project which would develop an atomic bomb. Knowing that this would improve his chances, Szilárd persuaded Einstein to co-sign the letter; Einstein's illustrious name did indeed convince Roosevelt, and the direct result was the Manhattan Project, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Cold War. But, so far at least, WW III has not happened. Wells's vision came true.

Who says science-fiction writers have no influence on history? And check out the rest of Szilárd's life story - he was evidently a remarkable person.
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05/23 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Riku (new)

Riku Sayuj ah if we do that for every book we feel so about...

Manny I just feel I was too young to understand the political stuff. I was only interested in seeing how close he was to predicting how atom bombs would work. I can't even remember that, except that I'm pretty sure it was significantly different from what actually turned out to the right way...

message 3: by Ivy (last edited Mar 21, 2012 03:37PM) (new) - added it

Ivy Reisner I'd never heard of this book before. Now I have to go hunt down a copy. :)

ETA: Just looked at the book's page on GoodReads. Book hunt sucessful.

Manny It's available for free online. Can't quite remember where but was very easy to find.

message 5: by Ivy (new) - added it

Ivy Reisner Manny wrote: "It's available for free online. Can't quite remember where but was very easy to find."

On GoodReads actually, in multiple formats. Very cool, that.

message 6: by Tuck (new)

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