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The film Things To Come was the Summa of Wells’ ideas for a Socialist World State. Wells used the characters John Cabal and his grandson, Oswald Cabal, as spokesmen for Wellsism = Leninism. They embodied the truest aspects of the Scientist-Technocrat.

The film is divided into four parts:


Part I.    Present Conditions: Anticipating the Coming "War Smash" (1940)

In Wells’ view, the coming "War Smash" would be horrific. But at the same time, it would be an opportunity to smash and clear away the Old Order, an opportunity to rebuild civilization along the lines of a New World Order. Men of Vision, Intelligence, and Courage, such as John Cabal, could reconstruct from the ruins of war a shining new Socialist World State. (The film was released in 1936, so the opening scenes are actually projecting ahead to 1940 and the approaching Second World War.)

Part II.    "War Smash" Interlude: Anticipating the Air Dictatorship (1940 -1970)

After many years of seemingly endless war, the nucleus of the idea for the Air Dictatorship, an instrument to bring about the Socialist World State, takes root in the mind of John Cabal.

Part III.    Reconstruction: Anticipating the Socialist World State (1970)

John Cabal, now 70, but still fit and vigorous, is the leader of the Air Dictatorship, a mighty organization of scientists, engineers, and technocrats who have banded together to rebuild civilization along the lines that had been set down by Henri Saint-Simon in the early 19th Century. Their object is to build the Socialist World State. But first, they must clean up the mess left behind after the ravages of war and the resulting pestilence. They must rid the planet of the last vestiges of feudalism. At the outset of the “mop-up operation”, John Cabal addresses the Council of Direction at their world headquarters in Basra:

“Do you realize the immense task we will undertake, when we set ourselves to an active and aggressive peace, when we direct our energies to tear out the wealth of the planet and exploit all these giant possibilities of science that have been squandered hitherto upon war and senseless competition. We shall excavate the eternal hills. We shall make such use of the treasures of sky and sea and earth as men have never dreamt of hitherto...”

Part IV.    Final Revolution: The Triumph of the Socialist World State (2036)

This part of the film depicts the triumph of the Socialist World State. John Cabal has long since passed away, but his legacy to the world is the Socialist World State that his Air Dictatorship had made possible. And his grandson, Oswald Cabal, is at the head of the World Council of Direction. Oswald Cabal rules by the watchwords, “RESEARCH, INVENTION, WORLD PLANNING—AND SCIENTIFIC CONTROL.” In the final scene, Oswald Cabal, head of the World Council of Direction and grandson of John Cabal, and Raymond Passworthy, grandson of John Cabal’s friend, stand on a high balcony, just off Cabal’s office, overlooking the new Everytown of 2036, which nestles in an excavated hill, not far from the ruins of the original Everytown of 1936. For all its streamlined modernity, this new city resembles nothing more closely than a high-tech human ant-hill.

In a world-wide broadcast, an artist named Theotocopulos had incited a rebellion against the Socialist World State; specifically, he had incited an attack on the Space Gun, the latest massive project of the State, which was set to hurl a projectile containing a young man (Passworthy’s son Maurice) and young woman (Oswald’s daughter Catherine) round the Moon.

After the projectile has been fired from the Space Gun, the concussion having literally crushed Theotocopulos and his fellow counter-revolutionaries, Cabal and Passworthy stand in front of a large silver screen on which is projected the image produced by a huge reflecting telescope, and they end the film with the following conversation:

Cabal:                          There. There they go. That faint gleam of light.  

Passworthy:                I feel that what we’ve done is monstrous.


Cabal:                          What they’ve done is magnificent.

Passworthy:                Will they come back?

Cabal:                          Yes, and go again and again, until the landing is made and the moon is conquered. This is only the beginning.

Passworthy:                And if they don’t come back? What of that, Cabal?

Cabal:                          Then presently others will go.

Passworthy:                Oh God, is there never to be any age of happiness? Is there never to be any rest?

Cabal:                          Rest enough for the individual man. Too much and too soon, and we call it “death”. But for MAN no rest and no                                     ending. He must go on. Conquest beyond conquest. First this little planet with its winds and waves. And all the                                     laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him. And at last out across the immensity to                                     the stars. And when he has conquered all the deeps of space and the mysteries of time—still he will be                                     beginning.

Passworthy:               But we’re such little creatures. Poor Humanity, so fragile, so weak—little animals.

Cabal:                         Little animals, eh? And if we’re no more than animals we must snatch each little scrap of happiness and live and                                    suffer and pass, mattering no more than all the other animals do or have done. It is this or that. All the universe                                    or nothingness. Which shall it be, Passworthy? WHICH SHALL IT BE?


H.G. Wells' Film Things To Come (1936), Final Scene

Running Time: 02:50

Oswald Cabal asks: "Which shall it be?"

(Starring Raymond Massey as John Cabal and Oswald Cabal)

After the triumph of the Socialist World State on Planet Earth in 2036 A.D., Oswald Cabal,

grandson of John Cabal, looks out into space, the next beachhead for Socialist expansion.

John Cabal, Socialist Savior of the Human Race

There was always a connection between the “Red Menace” (Communist aggression) and the “Red Planet” (Mars) that was more than just coincidental. For example, in the film Things To Come, it was obvious that Wells wanted Planet Earth to become the “Red Planet”.

“The film’s most perplexing image has to be Cabal’s ‘1970 gas mask’… What he portends is the coming world state… the historical reference is to a German gas helmet of experimental design at the outset of World War I… Cabal’s helmet is more bulbous… it oddly suggests the classic contours of an octopus head.

This instant perception is not misplaced. The world state following on the Air Dictatorship is called 'the Modern State Octopus' (STTC). For this metaphor Wells has in mind the [octopus-like] Martians of his War of the Worlds… In this 1898 novel the Martians invade with a view to replicating on Earth the world state they designed on Mars… More, Cabal’s helmet… is meant to suggest ‘a Buddha against a circular halo’… In other words, Cabal is given as a salvation figure, and so is the totalitarian octopus state he brings with him …

The Martian model behind this goes back to the socialist planet of Percival Lowell who ‘discovered’ canals on Mars. His Mars of 1896 was as sensational as books ever get. Life on Mars! Intelligent life. Builders of an advanced civilization pointing to the future here on Earth... The great engineering feats of the Martian canal builders were inspired by the Suez Canal, conceived and carried out by Ferdinand de Lesseps, a disciple of Saint-Simon who had proposed just such a canal by way of facilitating world trade...

As it turns out, Lowell himself professed a faith in Saint-Simonian socialism and its vision of a world-industrial civilization. Headstrong to see its intimations on Mars, he described a global system of canals that signified a world state. No nations on Mars, where Saint-Simonian doctrine prevails: make collective war on nature, not on one another. The Martians arrived at that rational solution to a planetary crisis. As Mars, older than Earth, aged, it turned to desert, temporarily relieved by irrigation canals fed by melt waters of the [polar ice caps].

John Cabal, wearing his octopus-head helmet, comes to save mankind with the same doctrinal unity. Even more interesting, the world state he sets up goes on with plans to leave planet Earth when it begins to die, the very object of the Space Gun at film’s end: the same means by which the Martians leave Mars [in War of the Worlds].”

Leon Stover, The Annotated H. G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come

NOTE: For more about the film Things To Come, see the wonderful book:

The Annotated H. G. Wells

Volume 9

Things To Come

A Critical Text of the 1935

London First Edition, with an

Introduction and Appendices

edited by Leon Stover (McFarland, 2007)





Lost Horizon (1937), Excerpt: Shangri-La

Running Time: 01:56

Film Version of James Hilton's Novel

(Starring Ronald Coleman as Diplomat Hugh Conway)

In his film, Things To Come, H. G. Wells advocated a Socialist World State. In the film, Lost Horizon, released in 1937, one year after Things To Come appeared, James Hilton's vision of a fairy-tale Socialist Utopia, Shangri-La, was brought to the screen. In Wells' Utopia, the Socialist Party ruled with an iron fist; in Shangri-La, the rulers also wielded an iron fist, but one hidden inside a velvet glove.





George Orwell's 1984 on Studio One TV Show (1953)

Running Time: 50:40

A television play based on George Orwell's Novel

(Starring Eddie Albert as Outer Party member Winston Smith)

Big Brother is watching you!

Big Brother represents The Socialist Party. Anyone who opposes The Party is branded a politically-incorrect "Thought Criminal." In his film, Things To Come, H. G. Wells advocated a Socialist World State. In his novel, 1984, written in 1949, George Orwell warned that such a Wellsian-type Socialist Utopia would be nothing less than the brutal oppression of the masses by members of the ruling Socialist Party. And in 1949, Orwell had three excellent historical examples of nascent Socialist World States with which to make his case: Josef Stalin's Soviet Union, Adolph Hitler's Third Reich in Nazi Germany, and Mao Tse-tung's Peoples' Republic of China.


J-9's 1956 WORLD




United Texas faced vicious enemies in the post-WW II era, chief among them the Soviet Communists and the Chinese Communists (the “Reds” as some referred to them). They were dedicated to the total destruction of the nation’s institutions and the total subjugation of its citizens. A strong military was an absolute requirement to counter the Communist threat. The nuclear shield provided by the military was vital to the survival of United Texas as a nation. But that only countered the external threat posed by the Reds in the Soviet Union and Red China (Peoples' Republic). Equally as menacing was the internal threat posed by these Reds and their co-conspirators within United Texas, the members of CAPUT (Communist Amalgamated Party of United Texas). They threatened to tear apart United Texas, to subvert it from within.

“What is a Communist?

In what may loosely be described as the ‘whole Party’, there are many different kinds—the power-hungry leader, the sheep-like follower, the very poor, the very rich, the social outcast, the misanthrope, the arrogant intellectual, the dangerously deceptive psychopath. Perhaps the neophyte Communist can speak with unashamed truth when he declares—a bit wistfully—that he clings to a dream of a bright new world without war, without poverty, without hunger. Perhaps this was the dream of Karl Marx... But the seeds of Marxism bear evil fruit. When put into practice the theories of Karl Marx become, in all essential elements, a criminal code of behavior. The methods used by the followers of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung are depraved, and any ‘new world’ the Communists create becomes a nightmare instead of a dream. The ‘people’s democracies’ are reverse prisons where honest people are locked up and the gangsters are the wardens. Wherever Communism touches the lives of people, whether in the Free World or in the Prison Nations, there is heartbreak, sorrow, disaster, and death. The greatest fraud of this century [the 20th] is the promotion and sale of tyranny in a package labeled ‘social progress’.”

Herbert A. Philbrick, I Led 3 Lives: Citizen, “Communist”, Counterspy

Why Must You Have My Death Comrade Stalin?

The closest approximation to a socialist “Heaven on Earth” was the original Soviet Union,

Set up by the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of V.I. Lenin, it achieved complete domination,

Communist Party, Red Army, and Secret Police—Lenin and the Politburo provided direction.

Proletariat, guided by the firm hand of the Communist Party bureaucrats (models of dedication),

Backed by the Red Army and NKVD Secret Police (an admirable and efficient organization),

They were—persuaded—to create the ideal socialist industrial state, envy of every other nation.

Comrade Stalin vied with the vile deviationist and traitor, Trotsky, for Comrade Lenin’s favor;

In a maneuver to neutralize Comrade Stalin, Trotsky denigrated the Georgian’s bad behavior,

He organized a move to marginalize him, not realizing that Stalin’s intellect was to his superior.

When Lenin had a stroke and could no longer rule, Trotsky found he was in a position inferior;

Not even the glorious Red Army could save the traitor Trotsky from Comrade Stalin’s furor,

He was exiled to Mexico, and Comrade Stalin took total control of the levers of state power.

It soon became clear that the nation was rife with conspirators organizing a counter-revolution,

A counter-revolution to overthrow the best friend and benefactor of all the Soviet population;

Even though they were starving by millions, Comrade Stalin had become a man of veneration.

And so Comrade Stalin enlisted a Georgian, Comrade Beria (an admirable man of distinction);

He would lead the NKVD to root out all traitors showing the slightest deviationist inclination;

Through terror, lovingly administered, Comrade Beria would make sure of their total destruction.

Even old friends and colleagues, their entire families, were subjects of Comrade Stalin’s scrutiny;

Members of the Politburo, veteran Bolsheviks, Red Army officers were found guilty of complicity;

They were put on public trial, confronted with indisputable charges (but treated with civility).

All these dirty little miserable traitors, vile plotters against Comrade Stalin, all were found guilty;

They were taken to prison (where screams could be heard echoing through the halls) with alacrity,

And they were dispatched with a bullet to the brain by Comrade Beria (a model of efficiency).

There are some fools who want Marxism-Leninism still, a new Soviet Union in Texas to make;

They actually think they’ll rule Texas, they haven’t learned from History at all, a fatal mistake,

For once a Soviet Texas is made, by vote or by force, a new Comrade Stalin will all power take.

And a new Comrade Beria, all dirty enemies of the new Texan Comrade Stalin he will break;

They will be slaughtered in the streets if necessary, if their friends and family they don’t forsake,

And they’ll cry again, “Why Must You Have My Death Comrade Stalin?... For God Sake!”

A number of remarkable insights that put into context the ideology that the Reds embraced (or, at least, to which they gave lip-service) can be found among the polymathic writings of the late Dr. Leon Eugene Stover, Ph.D., Lit.D..


Leon Stover (1929-2006) was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Stover was the author of 24 books in varied categories, including Anthropology, History, Fiction, and Criticism. His major works include his massive nine-volume explication of H. G. Wells’ “scientific romances” as vehicles for expounding Wells’ brand of Saint-Simonian socialism, The Annotated H. G. Wells. Dr. Stover’s unique view of Wells’ Utopian ideas prompted members of the H. G. Wells Society in London to invent the term Stoverism. Even though Stover and Wells would have been poles apart, politically, the two men shared what might be called “Cosmic Vision,” a view of humanity in the context of vast reaches of space and eons of time.


Wells’ scientific romances included such great and well-known works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When The Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. All of these novels were, to some extent, “Fables of Socialism”, advocating the “Socialist World State”, which did, in fact, materialize in several nascent forms during the 20th Century, in part, because Wells’ scientific romances inspired men such as V. I. Lenin.

Things To Come, 1936 New York Premiere

Running Time: 03:31

The Rivoli Theatre

Interview with various celebrities attending the premiere of Things To Come,

including actor Raymond Massey (who played John Cabal and his grandson, Oswald Cabal),

under the marquee of the Rivoli Theatre in New York City.

The film Things To Come (released in 1936) was the Summa of Wells’ ideas for a Socialist World State. The Annotated H. G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come: A Critical Text (McFarland, 2007) is the Summa of Dr. Stover’s explication of Wells’ scientific romances, the explication of the film Things To Come as a propaganda vehicle for Wells to expound his brand of Saint-Simonian socialism.

Wells’ socialist mentor-saint was Henri Saint-Simon, a nobleman who was stripped of his nobility during the French Revolution, and whose greatest disciple was Auguste Comte, the man who invented the word “socialism.” Saint-Simon was the first thinker to see that the Industrial Revolution was more important than the political one. The French Revolution, in the name of the People, did nothing to put down the feudal and military system, and the old order soon came back. To overthrow feudalism once and for all, that was the original socialist idea. Saint-Simon advocated the control of society by its “industrial chiefs,” they who were the aristocracy of talent, the technocrats, run under the guidance of a “Council of Newton,” composed of scientists and engineers.

Therefore, Wells wasn’t a Marxist. Nevertheless, in Wells’ estimation, the closest approximation to the Saint-Simonian socialist “Heaven on Earth” was the original Soviet Union, set up by the Bolsheviks, under the leadership of V. I. Lenin. We had Lenin and the Politburo embodying the “Council of Newton”, the Communist Party, the Red Army, and the Secret Police embodying the technocratic executives, all under the direction of the Politburo, and the Proletariat guided by the firm hand of the dedicated Communist Party bureaucrats, backed up by the Red Army and the Secret Police.

In Wells’ estimation, the biggest flaw in the new Soviet Union was that the leaders gave lip-service to the Marxist rhetoric of class-warfare. In private, Lenin and the Party Elite were technocratic socialists of the Saint-Simonian stripe. But, to appeal to the masses of the Proletariat (their term for laborers), Communist Party propaganda had to be couched in terms of Marxist ideology. This Wells despised. If we could define Communism, as practiced by the Communist Party under V. I. Lenin, as Marxism-Leninism, then Wellsism, Wells’ brand of Saint-Simonian socialism, might be close to Communism minus Marxism; that is, close to Leninism.

“The state-idea in Wells is … Plato’s ideal little city-state globalized and industrialized. In STTC [Wells’1932 novel The Shape of Things To Come], the first modern statesman to seize upon this idea for a world revolution was Lenin who led the 1917 Russian Revolution. [Leon Stover quoting Wells in STTC:] ‘The Communist Party … owes its general conception to that germinal idea of the Modern State, the Guardians of Plato’s Republic. For if anyone is to be called the Father of the Modern State it is Plato. The Members of the Communist Party were extremely like those Guardians.' Their failing was to promote Communism as a Marxist idea loaded with ‘democratic and egalitarian cant.’' The Airmen in Things To Come do not make that mistake, and so they found the Modern State as it should be. John Cabal, the Great Air Dictator, cleared the way for [his grandson] Oswald Cabal [President of the World Council of Direction in 2036] to rule the accomplished Modern World State.”

Leon Stover, The Annotated H. G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come