Radium Age 100 (8)
June 7, 2015
One in a series of 100 posts about the best science fiction novels published from 1904–33. HILOBROW’s Josh Glenn has named that era science fiction’s Radium Age; more info here. The complete Radium Age 100 list can be found here.
Upton Sinclair’s The Millennium (1924 edition).
In 1907, Upton Sinclair wrote The Millennium, a comedic yet serious-minded play that looks forward to the year 2000 — at which point a “radiumite” explosion will kill everyone in the world except eleven people… who experiment with one sociopolitical system after another: Socialism, Communism, Capitalism, Feudalism, survivalism. Finally, three of the survivors — led by poor but resourceful Billy Kingdom — establish a utopian colony. In 1924, Sinclair rewrote the play as a novel.
Fun fact: In 1906, Sinclair plowed the proceeds from his bestselling novel The Jungle into Helicon Home Colony, an artistic commune in New Jersey; it burned down in ’07. The utopian colony at the end of The Millennium bears a striking resemblance to Helicon.
MORE RADIUM AGE SCI FI ON HILOBROW: HiLoBooks homepage! | What is Radium Age science fiction? |Radium Age 100: 100 Best Science Fiction Novels from 1904–33 | Radium Age Supermen | Radium Age Robots | Radium Age Apocalypses | Radium Age Telepaths | Radium Age Eco-Catastrophes | Radium Age Cover Art (1) | SF’s Best Year Ever: 1912 | Radium Age Science Fiction Poetry | Enter Highbrowism | Bathybius! Primordial ooze in Radium Age sf | War and Peace Games (H.G. Wells’s training manuals for supermen) | Radium Age: Context series | J.D. Beresford | Algernon Blackwood | Edgar Rice Burroughs | Karel Čapek | Buster Crabbe | August Derleth | Arthur Conan Doyle | Hugo Gernsback | Charlotte Perkins Gilman | Cicely Hamilton | Hermann Hesse | William Hope Hodgson | Aldous Huxley | Inez Haynes Irwin | Alfred Jarry | Jack Kirby (Radium Age sf’s influence on) | Murray Leinster | Gustave Le Rouge | Gaston Leroux | David Lindsay | Jack London | H.P. Lovecraft | A. Merritt | Maureen O’Sullivan | Sax Rohmer | Paul Scheerbart | Upton Sinclair | Clark Ashton Smith | E.E. “Doc” Smith | Olaf Stapledon | John Taine | H.G. Wells | Jack Williamson | Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz | S. Fowler Wright | Philip Gordon Wylie | Yevgeny Zamyatin