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Kamis, 05 Februari 2015

WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES (Annotated)

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The Sleeper Awakes is H. G. Wells's wildly imaginative story of London in the twenty-second century and the man who by accident becomes owner and master of the world. In 1897 a Victorian gentleman falls into a sleep from which he cannot be waked. During his two centuries of slumber he becomes the Sleeper, the most well known and powerful person in the world. All property is bequeathed to the Sleeper to be administered by a Council on his behalf. The common people, increasingly oppressed, view the Sleeper as a mythical liberator whose awakening will free them from misery.

The Sleeper awakes in 2100 to a futuristic London adorned with wondrous technological trappings yet staggering under social injustice and escalating unrest. His awakening sends shock waves throughout London, from the highest meetings of the Council to the workers laboring in factories in the bowels of the city. Daring rescues and villainous treachery abound as workers and capitalists fight desperately for control of the Sleeper.

"When the Sleeper Wakes," by far the longest story Mr. Wells has yet given us, presents a spacious picture of the development of our civilisation during the next two hundred years. The sleeper is a typical liberal-minded man of means of the nineteenth century, and he awakens from a cataleptic trance in the year 2100, to discover that by an ironic combination of circumstances he has become the central figure of an enormous political convulsion. His attempt to rise to the responsibilities of his position, his struggle for power—inspired by an enthusiastic girl—with the great political organiser Ostrog, give the great structural lines of the story.

"He fell to sleep a fanatical democrat—a socialist: he woke a tyrant; he died fighting with the people against the tyranny he had unconsciously fashioned while he slept. Surely a theme of magnificent possibilities—a theme more fertile in romance even than the central idea of 'The War of the Worlds.' The discovery of such material is in itself no mean triumph."—Bookman.

"One of the cleverest books ever written."—Birmingham Post.

"Mr. Wells sustains his reputation as the leading novelist of the unknown in his latest effort of imagination, 'When the Sleeper Wakes.'"—The World.

"There is more than the triumph of extravagant fancy in Mr. Wells's book; its undertones are well worth attention too."—The World.

"Mr. Wells beats Jules Verne on his own ground."—Daily News.

"An enthralling effort of imagination, vivid and bizarre as a powerful nightmare."—The Guardian.

"This is undoubtedly a most remarkable book, a tour de force of the intellect and imagination."—The Queen.


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