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In the Days of the Comet

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,421 ratings  ·  129 reviews
A comet rushes toward Earth, a glowing orb filling the sky, promising doom. Humanity is too busy hating, stealing, scheming & killing to care. As luminous green trails of cosmic dust & vapor stream across the heavens, blood flows beneath: nations wage wars, bitter strikes erupt, jealous lovers plot revenge & murder. Earth slips past the comet by a narrow ...more
Paperback, 221 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by Bison Books (first published 1906)
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MJ Nicholls
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the boo-hooish Edwardian era, a furious socialist is inflamed with hatred when an aristocrat pinches his cash-fond lover. A passing comet then causes the ‘Change’, removing human assholerie from the world with magic green gas, leading to a vague kind of utopia based on niceness and sexless thrupling. Willie Leadford is one of Wells’s angriest protagonists, and this undervalued novel is one of his most scathing, clear-headed, and elegantly written.
Eli Bishop
Jul 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-sff
What an odd little book. I was surprised to see that Wells wrote this later than all his other famous, hyper-influential SF novels, because it reads more like an early failed experiment, but it sure is interesting.

The first section, a realistic portrait of a not very interesting Victorian young man, is quite a slog; you can tell that this novel was not serialized, because most readers would've given up after several chapters about his career decisions and romantic disappointments, wondering when
Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary | "Empathy" - Look it up.
Oh, boy, In the Days of the Comet was a doozy. I liked H.G. Wells insights into the society of that time. This is primarily because the thought that kept occurring to me was how easily you could attribute almost all of his statement to today’s society. (Though as a friend put it: You could make that statement about a lot of books. It’s the clarity of thought where things differ.)The way he poked at and pointed out every bit of societal malignancy had me nodding and highlighting passages.

Erik Graff
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
Wells was a Fabian socialist and pacifist who devoted much of his work both in his fictions and non-fictions towards educating people. In the Days of the Comet he presents a thought-experiment: What if everyone became rational?

By "rational" I mean, upon first consideration, any action predicated upon a realistic understanding of the facts performed by an agent aware of the complex of his or her motives. Upon further consideration, rational behavior would also entail an understanding of the
Joel Julian
Very strange... To read a book by a great writer, with great ideas that is so dreadfully awful.
I like Wells. I love most of his books. I'm close to finishing a 1,000 page hardback of which is supposedly the complete short works. In everything I've read by him there has been something I have been able to appreciate, and the only consistent fault has been his obsession with the word "tumult". But "tumult" is not the issue here.

First, let me acknowledge this:

He predicts tanks.
He predicts war with
Nov 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, scifi
This book begins with the first stanza of Percy Shelley’s poem, Hellas: A Chorus. I don’t believe I’d ever read it before, so I Googled it and read the entire poem, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then I started this book. This was my fifth H. G. Wells novel and I believe this is the only book I’ve ever read that had the word “hobbledehoy” in it – used not once, but twice. This is kind of an odd story. It begins with someone standing in a tower, watching an old man writing. The old man tells the ...more
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a time of war and financial chaos, a comet moves through the Earth’s atmosphere and releases a green smoke. It renders every living being unconscious, but when man awakes he finds that he has lost the capacity for rage, fury and the darker passions. A utopia is then built.

This is nowhere near a front row Wells, but it is a book crammed full of ideas. For the first half at least we have a protagonist who is unhinged with emotion; there are a number of great descriptions (for example; “Mrs
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Let me preface this review with the comment that I enjoy HG Wells' novels such as War of the Worlds. However this novel had to be the longest 200 page book I have ever read. Two of Elmore Leonard's rules for writing were Don’t go into great detail describing places and things and Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. HG Wells failed on both counts. About 30% of the book was descriptions of things or places that really did not contribute to the story. Three or four paragraphs ...more
Lance Schonberg
For this year's reading journey, from all of H.G. Wells’ works, I picked one that I was completely and totally unfamiliar with, and I deliberately picked one in the heart of the time frame I most associate with his writing, the early 1900s, even though I’m well aware that he continued writing fiction into the early 1940s.

The opening pages of the book make me wonder if until sometime in the early 20th century it was only possible to start a novel by putting your tale into the story-within-a-story
Kate Sherrod
This is kind of a bitter read in this stupid year of 2019. It contains perhaps the ultimate hand wave as to how its utopia was achieved, for starters, and contains a few startling passages of racism and sexism enough to remind us that Wells was only woke for his time. But there are also some great bits of observation and descriptive writing, including a great portrayal of the workings of a little Edwardian era newspaper. Worth a look sometime.
Ibrahim Niftiyev
At first, I was amazed why Herbert Wells wrote something like this: simple, non-evolutionary and pretty boring. This work is so different from his other books that I can't even shape my feedback. It is kind of feeling that the author of "Time Machine", "The War of the Words" and "The Invisible Man" is H.G.Wells, nevertheless, the author of "In the Days of the Comet" is another guy. So, to be short, I didn't like it. I even stopped in the middle. The innovation level of the book is insignificant. ...more
Perry Whitford
In literary terms Utopia has never quite been much cop.

That's not to say that it's not a good place, a better place, wonderful, full of Shiny Happy People - positively utopian in fact. It can be. But it's also invariably boring. What was that line from the Talking Heads song - 'Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.'

Surely that genius of science-fiction, Mr. H. G. Wells, managed to make something out of such a dull prospect? He would have livened it up with a time machine, or a bunch of
May 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Once in a while you read a book that you look back and reflect, thinking, “well, that was a pile of rubbish”, this, was such a book. It began with an individuals view of a dystopian life, past, present or future I was unsure. Then a bit of gas, UTOPIAN FUTURE, all happy bunnies, hugging each other like everyone has overnight a lobotomy and the world was put to rights.

In effect, what we have here is a couple of interwoven stories, none of which came to any fruition and just fizzled out. On one
Joe Santoro
Apr 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It's amazing how bad one book can be from a clearly brilliant, intelligent writer. I guess this was Wells' political work... you could sorta compare it to the Jungle, only it's not anywhere near as good.. or even readable.

The 1st two-thirds of the book are about Willie Landford, a young 'modern' (for 1906) boy who gets turned onto socialism and Nihilism, ends up losing his girlfriend because she isn't into 'the cause', then decides he has to kill her.

In the background, a comet (this is a bit
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this an exceptionally modern for its day (1906). "Cheap paper planisphere? - key word: "cheap". The pros were overall informal and modern.

In this novel, Wells seemed to want to sell the wonderful new concept of Marxist socialism but unfortunately, after the comet that releases a nitrogen gas that chemically causes the human race, as well as all air breathing organisms on earth, to lean towards reason and docility, as well as a tendency towards socialist attitudes, his utopia becomes
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about this book?

First off, I am in the main a big H G Wells fan, but had I read this before any of his other works.... I doubt I'd have bothered with the rest.

That's not to say this is a bad book, just that it isn't as polished and smooth as many of his other works are.

It irritated me to a great extent how instead of getting on with the plot, the main character kept pausing to give vent to socio-political tracts. Who, honestly, thinks like that? Who writes like that? It just
Jeff Muise
The "Days of the Comet", published four years before the passing of Haley's comet (1910) and in the run-up to World War I (1914), is only mildly interesting as a story. But it is one of those books that gains more interest considered in light of the times and its author, H.G. Wells. In the story, the tail of the eponymous comet sweeps the earth with a green vapor that has the effect of pacifying people and giving the world a more vivid and beautiful aspect (hilariously, H.G. Wells' description ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Joyce
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
H.G. Wells the Idealist in tip-top form. While he concentrates on one particular character unhappy with his poor station in life, Wells manages to expose the foibles of all classes - upper or lower. He makes his points and views known; no doubt about it. However, he's not nearly as heavy-handed as he was later apt to be.

2nd reading after who-knows-how-long...more powerful than I remembered.

Adam Hoffman
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4th
It started with a small speck in the the sky, but soon it has grown larger and larger. Then in the midst of a world war the tail of the comet grases the atmosphere initiating a wide spread loss of consciousness. And when the world wakes, all crime and hate in the world is quickly obliterated, utopia is formed, and the world undergoes what is described in the book as "the Great Change".
Delilah Des
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
unexpectedly marvellous; I didn't think I liked utopian fiction but this was a neat trick at producing a historical document for future readers, contained a lot of ideas which are still considered "too modern" now, and has a strongly-drawn protagonist. not what I was expecting at all!
Another "classic" published in 1906, about the world changing to a sort of happy, free love, society after a comet passes close to the earth. Different.
This edition has no real critical material or even printing history. Thus I had to look the title up to find out when the book was originally published (1906, to save duplicate efforts). This edition is a cheap edition, a 2nd printing of a Berkley Highland edition. It's dated 1969, and has, not an ISBN #, but an 'SBN' #, so it must be from before the establishment of ISBN #s.

I've gotten to page 76, and I'm getting to the point where I'm looking up and saying "Why doesn't that comet hurry UP,
This is perhaps the least enjoyable of all the Wells novels I've read so far. That's probably at least partially because the book portrays an image of humanity which I just don't buy, but there are other factors involved, as I'll detail.

The book, played out as a memoir being read by an unidentified reader moments after its completion, centers on the life of a central protagonist, Willie, and the conditions of his life 'before the Change', specifically focusing on his romantic affairs with a
Curly Carla Celebrity Readers

Favorite quotes:

I was thinking of revenge—revenge against the primary conditions of my being. I was thinking of Nettie and her lover. I was firmly resolved he should not have her—though I had to kill them both to prevent it. I did not care what else might happen, if only that end was ensured.

Then begins a clatter roar of machinery catching the infection, going faster and faster, and whizzing and banging,—engineers, who have never had time to wash since
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man comes across another older man (Willie Leadford?) writing in a room and wonders who he is and what he’s doing. The writer tells the man that if he wants to read what he writing regarding “the change,” he’s welcome to pick up the pages and read. He does, and the novel unfolds with Leadford as the narrator. Leadford is around 72 at this time looking back at when he was around 20. At the onset, Leadford is a very self-centered man who expects everything to be handed to him with little effort ...more
Emily Dybdahl
I can't help but be partial to Wells' better-known books and his stories full of adventure and fantasy. It's more difficult for me to wrap my mind around and enjoy some of his books that focus more on romance. This book is a prime example. Here you have a cover and synopsis centered around a comet, and, let me spoil it for you. ...the comet is not the main theme. The comet is more so a metaphor, or a behind-the-scenes excuse for the events of the story. And by events, I mean emotional drama. The ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Of all the books written by Wells that I have read this one I enjoyed the least. It started off bad. I just could not get into the story. Then the main character continuously annoyed me. There were times I completely cringed at the blatant bigotry and class warfare that was described in the story. Yes, the arguments that occurred within the story resemble ones going on today. I also tend to have at least a bit of the distrust of all government that comes through in the later parts of the story. ...more
Cillian Flood
Was sorely tempted to give this book a 1 Star review, but it managed to catch me in it's second half with the interesting premise. Which is basically what would humanity be like if we all simultaneously decided to cutout the bullshit we all partake in even though we know it's not beneficial. Such a shame it has a really tedious and boring first off (and kind of ironic as the fictional character reading the book within a book had the inverse reaction to me). Even with the second half it's more a ...more
Cienna Lyon
What an odd book compared to all of H. G. Wells' other novels that I've read. It was still very good, but compared to the others it just wasn't as interesting. There really wasn't any scifi in it per say, and it was really more of a political and moral statement than a book about interesting discoveries or scientific mistakes. The ending was not surprising, but we kind of knew it from the beginning. Overall, worth a read if you can get through it (verrrry long). I listened to this as an ...more
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Herbert George Wells was born to a working class family in Kent, England. Young Wells received a spotty education, interrupted by several illnesses and family difficulties, and became a draper's apprentice as a teenager. The headmaster of Midhurst Grammar School, where he had spent a year, arranged for him to return as an "usher," or student teacher. Wells earned a government scholarship in 1884, ...more
“All passion is madness.” 5 likes
“One may as well starve one's body out of a place as to starve one's soul in one.” 2 likes
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