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-
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 -
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-
“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
In a world-
After the projectile has been fired from the Space Gun, the concussion having literally
crushed Theotocopulos and his fellow counter-
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?
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 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-
As it turns out, Lowell himself professed a faith in Saint-
John Cabal, wearing his octopus-
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
Things To Come
A Critical Text of the 1935
London First Edition, with an
Introduction and Appendices
edited by Leon Stover (McFarland, 2007)
JAMES HILTON's NOVEL LOST HORIZON
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-
GEORGE ORWELL's NOVEL 1984
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
THINGS TO COME
United Texas faced vicious enemies in the post-
“What is a Communist?
In what may loosely be described as the ‘whole Party’, there are many different kinds—the
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-
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-
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-
Leon Stover (1929-
Wells’ scientific romances included such great and well-
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-
Wells’ socialist mentor-
Therefore, Wells wasn’t a Marxist. Nevertheless, in Wells’ estimation, the closest
approximation to the Saint-
In Wells’ estimation, the biggest flaw in the new Soviet Union was that the leaders
Leon Stover, The Annotated H. G. Wells, Volume 9: Things To Come
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