The World Set Free (version 2)

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(3.3 stars; 9 reviews)

Radioactive decay is a major theme in the novel The World Set Free, published in 1914. Wells explores what might happen if the rate of decay could be sped up. The book may have encouraged scientists to explore theories of nuclear chain reaction. It also served as a vehicle for Wells to develop his ideas on survival of the human race. (Summary by Bill Boerst) (8 hr 4 min)


00 -- Preface, Prelude Sec 1-6 40:44 Read by Jules Hawryluk
01 -- Prelude Sec 7 & 8, Ch First Sec 1-3 55:05 Read by Jules Hawryluk
02 -- Ch First Sec 4-8 43:31 Read by Jules Hawryluk
03 -- Ch Second Sec 1-3 41:55 Read by Jules Hawryluk
04 -- Ch Second Sec 4-8 46:38 Read by Jules Hawryluk
05 -- Ch Second Sec 9 & 10, Ch Third Sec 1 & 2 41:02 Read by William Tomcho
06 -- Ch Third Sec 3-7 51:11 Read by William Tomcho
07 -- Ch Third Sec 8, Ch Fourth Sec 1-6 40:33 Read by William Tomcho
08 -- Ch Fourth Sec 7-11 40:53 Read by Jules Hawryluk
09 -- Ch Fourth Sec 12, Ch Fifth Sec 1-4 39:31 Read by Jules Hawryluk
10 -- Ch Fifth Sec 5-10 43:16 Read by Jules Hawryluk


more accurate than anything by Nostradamus

(3 stars)

The reading was clear. I listened to it at 1.4 speed because the author's narrative and color were not that compelling, hence three stars and not more. The author's preface to an edition that came after World War 1 has him defending some of his prognostications while allowing, perhaps admitting, that his thesis on a voluntary union among elites following a nuclear exchange, patterned on Plato's Republic of idealism, was not realistic. He located such a move in the working classes, and seems generally approving of the Bolshevists. Even so there are haunting correspondences between his forecasts and reality, think King Eggbert(?) in this fiction, and the abdication of Edward in the 1930's. Think of ongoing Serbian nationalism. Think of our fears of terrorists with 'dirty' bombs, something he describes at length as a possibility, and think of the highest ideals of the UN after World War 2. Near space travel, mapping the genome, the challenges to social gender roles, accurately the trajectory of discoveries.