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This review is from: Hartmann the Anarchist: The Doom of the Great City (Paperback)First published in 1892 this little sci-fi tale has seemed to have become neglected and forgotten, although it is a fun little read. Written by Edward Douglas Fawcett (brother of Percy Fawcett - the famed lost explorer) whilst only in his teens this has been re-vamped with some new illustrations by Stanley Donwood.
Our story is narrated by Arthur Stanley and relates to incidents in 1920. Fawcett was quite prescient as this book would seem to predict the world wars and the bombing of London, as well as the rise of mass consumerism. In this tale Hartmann who is thought dead after his unsuccesful bombing in 1910 returns to wreck destruction on the world. Believing that the world order needs to be changed and that the proletariat will not rise en masse to achieve such an aim, Hartmann decides to do it for them by imposing his own anarchaic vision. Written at a time when anarchists were going around throwing bombs to commit assasinations and terror Fawcett has taken this one step further to a more organised reign of terror.
Hartmann with his aeronef (which in itself seems in its appearance to predict the Art Deco Movement) is intent on wasting London by dropping bombs and incendiary devices, whilst also shooting people en masse. At the same time he has his agents both in this country and abroad causing havoc with their bombs in a concerted effort to change things. With the death toll mounting, and the Houses of Parliament blown up (no more MP's expenses scandals), it is obvious that Hartmann is completely mad.
Will he be stopped? Or will the world order be changed for evermore? With Arthur trying to reach his fiancee, Lena and get her away from the destruction he also gets a letter from Hartmann's dying mother to deliver if he can. Will Arthur manage to deliver the letter, and will it help matters in any way?
Although this isn't the best sci-fi tale ever written, it has to be among the most fun to read. If you are an avid sci-fi fan then this should be in your collection, also if you like 19th century tales.