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Lord of the Dynamos [Classic Tales Edition]

Narrated by: B. J. Harrison
Length: 25 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Technology worship is brought to a head when Azuma-zi’s head spins at the wonder of a humming, whirling, and buzzing electric dynamo. He prays for the dynamo to deliver him from his troubles, and make his life easier to bear. Apparently the dynamo demands a sacrifice....

Public Domain (P)2018 B.J. Harrison

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Innovative science fiction, antiquated xenophobia

It was a cool idea, and a good story, but what passed for, from what I know of the time, enlightened views on race and foreign culture is by modern standards cringe-worthy and off-putting. Much of the language used and the "scientific facts" of ethnology (What!? No, really.) espoused regarding the physical and mental differences between the white characters and the "savage" (please forgive me) "nedroid" from the "mysterious east" would have been considered progressive in 1894, a lamentable lack of knowledge of African tribal culture not withstanding. Either way, it's hard to hear now and it monstrously overshadows what is otherwise fantastic allegorical science fiction.

The concept of technology worship with the uncivilized man representing our inner savage is in a way timeless. Rewritten with a few 21st century "PC" edits, I would recommend this as one of the great classics. As written though, it's no wonder it's become so obscure. It's obvious from the text that Wells was not a racist in any hateful sense of the word, but wow. He was definitely a product of the 19th century.

Proceed with caution. "Negroid" is not the worst word or concept you'll encounter, but this work does provide an interesting window into what passed as empirical, progressive thoughts on race in 1894, and if you can get through all that, there's a gem of a sc-ifi thriller mixed in.