In a word, tedious. Underneath the Victorian racism and faux-socialism there might have been an interesting story here, and there is certainly some science fiction in there that is now science-fact (for instance television, a lengthy discourse on powered flight, state propaganda, and something like radio, written about in 1899), but not enough to make this a good read.

The Sleeper Awakes reads in a similar fashion to Brave New World. It is clipped, poorly characterised, and very much a product of its generation. In other words, a vehicle for some pretty fantastic and big ideas. Wells was visionary, but here he has missed the mark, a point he concedes in the preface.

I got about 2/3 of the way through before I had simply to give up. And it’s a pity, because this had the potential to make some very interesting comments about the nature of the industrial revolution, capitalism, and the transformation of society. But the Victorian lens was too distorting.

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