In an America where civilization has collapsed, a young man sets out to see the world -- and to fight the rising power of an empire.
of the Ancients. Men crossed the oceans to east and west. The cities were full of whirring wheels, and instead of the many little city-states of our time, there were giant nations with thousands of cities and a hundred million--a hundred and fifty million people."
Hull stared. "I do not believe there are so many people in the world," he said.
Old Einar shrugged. "Who knows?" he returned. "The ancient books--all too few--tell us that the world is round, and that beyond the seas lie one, or several continents, but what races are there today not even Joaquin Smith can say." He puffed smoke again. "Well, such was the ancient world. These were warlike nations, so fond of battle that they had to write many books about the horrors of war to keep themselves at peace, but they always failed. During the time they called their twentieth century there was a whole series of wars, not such little quarrels as we have so often between our city-states, nor even such as that between the Memphis League and the Em
Yes, it's a classic, and was highly regarded at the time. Now it seems quaint. The hero, Hull, has his life spared way too many times; in a modern dystopian story he would have been killed by chapter 4.
It's good writing for the 1930s, but creaks a little today.
Get deeply into early pulp Science Fiction with the Mavin and arguably the creator of the genre.
This story, along with "The Black Flame" has it all, pulpwise. It even contains many surprising predictions that were incredibly prescient for the 1930s.
5 circles checked for the story as pulp entertainment, rating it only against it's own companion literature.