Lord of the World

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Dodd, Mead, 1908 - 352 pages
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I just finished reading this book this weekend. It's an interesting novel published in 1906 about a then futuristic 21st century by Robert Benson, the son of an Anglican bishop who converted to Catholicism.
The story depicts a technological century where thoroughfares, telecommunications and air travel are common, though with a Victorian flavor, for the highways are paved with rubber, people have telegraphs at home and fly in airships.
But it also has other almost prophetic descriptions of the society of the 21st century, where euthanasia is the morally acceptable way to assist victims of accidents and is widely provided by a state healthcare system. Countries are mere entities in larger blocks of countries, like "West", "East" and "Americas". Religion is barely tolerated and the only surviving religions are Catholicism in the West and in the Americas and Islam in the East; all other religions deflated and Mason secularism is the official religion.
In this dystopian society, war is a constant threat, but a charismatic senator appears in the Americas and goes around the world bringing enlightenment and hope as man had never found, even in the Christian religion.
There is world peace at last and all the peoples are united and the new leader is loved by all, amazed at his speeches, though no one recalls what he had said, except that he was thrilling.
But a vermin is identified for elimination: the Christians in the independent enclave of Rome...
Somehow England inspired authors to predict an authoritarian and tyrannical future, even a generation before George Orwell's "1984", like this novel. Sadly, I couldn't help the feeling of familiarity with this dystopian, fictional century. Yet, it was a good read and the end was quite original.
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Review: Lord of the World (Dodo Press)

User Review  - Robert - Goodreads

I found it a bit tough to get through. I found him spending too much time on the descriptions of a persons interior movement and redescribing it over and over. I was impatient with them and skimmed a ... Read full review

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Page 161 - Let no man deceive you by any means : for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...
Page 157 - Wherefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of justice...
Page 184 - O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones.
Page 184 - For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: And the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
Page 285 - For patience is necessary for you : that doing the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a little and a very little while, and he that is to come will come, and will not delay.
Page 157 - God — the girdle of truth, the breast-plate of righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Page 352 - Exile of eternity, the final piteous Prince of rebels, the creature against God, blinder than the sun which paled and the earth that shook; and as He came, passing even then through the last material stage to the thinness of a spirit-fabric, the floating circle swirled behind Him, tossing like phantom birds in the wake of a phantom ship. . . . He was coming, and the earth, rent once again in its allegiance, shrank and reeled in the agony of divided homage .... He was coming — and already the shadow...
Page 195 - Rejoice greatly, 0 daughter of Zion: shout for joy, 0 daughter of Jerusalem. Behold, thy king will come to thee, the just and Saviour. He is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
Page 352 - He was coming now, swifter than ever, the heir of temporal ages and the Exile of eternity, the final piteous Prince of rebels, the creature against God, blinder than the sun which paled and the earth that shook ; and, as He came, passing even then through the last material stage to the thinness of a spirit-fabric, the floating circle swirled behind Him, tossing like phantom birds in the wake of a phantom ship. . . . He was coming, and the earth, rent once again in its allegiance, shrank and reeled...
Page 143 - Far ahead, seeming to cleave its way through the surging heads, like the poop of an ancient ship, moved the canopy beneath which sat the Lord of the world, and between him and the priest, as if it were the wake of that same ship, swayed the gorgeous procession — Protonotaries Apostolic, Generals of Religious Orders and the rest — making its way along with white, gold, scarlet and silver foam between the living banks on either side. Overhead hung the splendid barrel of the roof, and far in front...

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