Reviews by Augustine

Lord of the World

by Robert Hugh Benson

"The Lord of the World" is an interesting novel 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 on 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.

Reviewed on 2013.11.19

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