Rumors of War and Infernal Machines

BookRumors of War and Infernal Machines

Rumors of War and Infernal Machines

Technomilitary Agenda-Setting in American and British Speculative Fiction

Liverpool Science Fiction Texts and Studies, 28


October 1st, 2003



Other Formats



This book places major emphasis on the ‘predictive’ aspects of the future war genre and on the important role that writers played in official US military think-tanks after the Second World War. From the profusion of future war fictions in Victorian England which paralleled the British Empire’s struggle to convert itself into the first modern superpower, to the USAAF future war-planning conference (where almost a quarter of the invitees were authors of military science fiction), Rumors of War and Infernal Machines provides a detailed political, historical and literary analysis of the American and European ever-increasing fascination with mechanised warfare.

 You will come away with some respect to HG Wells and even Robert Heinlein’s insight into their war extrapolations.
Geoff Willmetts, SFCrowsnest

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Introduction: Assessing Rumors – of War and Infernal Machines
1. Armageddon by Gaslight: Victorian Visions of Apocalypse
2. Opportunistic Anticipations and Accidental Insights: William Le Queux’s Exploitation of Edwardian Invasion Anxieties
3. Promoters of the Probable, Prophets of the Possible: Technological Innovation and Edwardian Near-Future War Fiction
4. H. G. Wells: The Far-Future War Prophet of Edwardian England
5. Hard Numbers, Hard Cases, Hard Decision: Politics and Future-War Fiction in America
6. An Imperfect Future Tense(d): Anticipations of Atomic Annihilation in Post-War American Science Fiction
7. Nuclear Fiction and Silo Psychosis: Narratives of Life in the Shadow of a Mushroom Cloud
8. Radio Waves, Death Rays, and Transgressive (Sub)Texts: Future-War Fiction in the Wide Black Yonder
9. Making Man-Machines of Mass Destruction: Future-War Authors as Seers in an Age of Cyborg Soldiers
10. Cultural Casualties as Collateral Damage: The Fragment-ing/ation Effects of Future-War Fantasies vs. Fictions
Afterword: On Conducting a Literary Reconnaissance in Force – and in Earnest