Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Modern Utopia – Book Review


Author – H.G. Wells

A review of A Modern Utopia

I admire what H.G. Wells attempted to do with this idea of utopia.  In our modern time such a place, as utopia isn’t in the minds of man, as it would appear to have been back in Wells era.  I’ve never read a book on this topic and didn’t realize what I was getting into.  Having now read one I’m glad my first was Wells take on it.  I’ve read four of his books, this making five, but this one stands in a different light.

            What I thought was creative was the two characters who have traveled to utopia were never actually there.  It was a private discussion on what could make the perfect utopia.  It doesn’t read that way until the end and that’s what makes this book worth looking at.  It’s quite an intellectual read; there are ideas that really intrigued me.  The samurai is a class in society that anyone can join so there is no discrimination against anybody on the planet.  That’s right, this utopia is worldwide, not delegated to one fantastical piece of magic space set aside for a select few who can find it.  This view completely changed what little I knew of utopias in the first place.

            He is trying to purify the world and that creates quite a bit of controversy.  I completely understood those challenges he tried to take on.  What race is the best?  Is there a best?  Do you allow stupid people to breed?  Should there be a cap on the world’s population?  All of these have to do with humanity, which will always be the sensitive side of the building of utopia, but the questions are valid.  The state of the current world is a mess, as most any intelligent person would agree.  People killing people is an effect of the very reason why certain people should be kept from breeding.

The use of money as a tool for power is ridiculous in itself as Wells alludes to.  There wouldn’t be slaves; everybody would work to contribute to utopia.  What he is suggesting is humanity coming together as one organism in a sense to make life easier on each individual.  That works best when everyone gets involved.  Although there would still be different levels of work, the stupid couldn’t possibly keep up with the more thought invoking tasks but there would be put in place plenty of programs to educate everyone.  Thus there can be no excuse to not be given a chance to learn.  It’s all conjecture but it’s fascinating.

What I find tiresome is the manner in which some of the less interesting aspects of utopia are explained.  It requires focus to read through these areas and after reading them there are most likely a couple snippets of information that are worthwhile to log away.  I like Wells style.  I like the daring way he writes.  He doesn’t hold back his ideas and truthfully tells it how it is.  If this book were written in a way that shared those ideas through the characters more, thus creating a story-like atmosphere it would read smoother.  I still enjoyed it but I prefer the other books I’ve read of his so far.