Sources of Science Fiction: Future War Novels of the 1890s

These novels map the evolution of a relatively new literary genre: the British speculative future war novel. They forecast invasions from the land, sea, air, and ultimately, outer space. They can be interpreted in many ways: as fin-de-siecle paranoia, as critiques of British imperialism, as xenophobic tirades, or as fear of the advances of technology. Taken together they illustrate the development of the genre that cultimated in The War of the Worlds and which afterwards overshadowed the whole of the twentieth century.