By Charles E. Gannon
This provocative and specific paintings unearths the remarkably influential function of futuristic literature on modern political strength in the US. Tracing this phenomenon from its roots in Victorian Britain, Rumors of conflict and Infernal Machines deals a desirable exploration of the way fictional speculations on emergent or imaginary army applied sciences profoundly impression the political agendas and activities of contemporary superpower states. Gannon convincingly demonstrates that army fiction expected or even encouraged the evolution of the tank, the advance of the aircraft, and in addition the sour political battles inside of Britain's warfare place of work and the Admiralty. within the usa, future-fictions and Cold-War thrillers have been an formally said think about the Pentagon's examine and improvement agendas, and sometimes gave rise_and shape_to the nation's strategic improvement of applied sciences as different as automation, atomic weaponry, aerospace cars, and the Strategic safety Initiative ('Star Wars'). His e-book finds a notable dating among the expanding political impact of speculative army fiction and the parallel upward push of superpower states and their technocentric ideologies. With its distinctive political, ancient, and literary research of U.S. and British fascination with hi-tech struggle, this vigorous and revealing research will entice scholars, literary and cultural students, army and heritage lovers, and basic readers.
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Extra info for Rumors of War and Infernal Machines: Technomilitary Agenda-setting in American and British Speculative Fiction
46 This scene is not only wildly improbable, but in direct contradiction with the earlier established tactical modus operandi of the German infantry. The heretofore mobile, versatile, and above all modern, German army suddenly begins to goose-step to the front in packed masses, prepackaged by their ofﬁcers into easy-to-hit bunches. This inconsistency is further evidence of the uncertain — and possibly very compromised — editorial pedi- ARMAGEDDON BY GASLIGHT 31 gree of this narrative. ’47 This peremptory wrap-up may suggest editorial preemption of the series in response to either ﬂagging reader interest or ﬂagging conﬁdence on the part of the editors themselves.
As if to underscore this, in 1898 34 RUMORS OF WAR AND INFERNAL MACHINES the weapon manufacturer Krupp instituted the Flottenverein Navy League. After only two years of existence, the League had a membership of 600,000, had sponsored more than 3,000 lectures, and had distributed more than 7 million pamphlets on naval (and consequently, international) policy. As the century turned, so did relations between Britain and Germany — for the worse. Accordingly, the diverse ranks of future-war authors began to turn their prognosticative lenses upon this developing situation: the time had come for an expert assessment of the probable resolution of these rising tensions.
The reader is given the visceral, tangible consequences of such a weapon without being tasked to understand the science underlying its operation. By using this rhetorical strategy, Le Queux succeeds at presenting new technologies in three speciﬁc areas of military applications: artillery, mobility, and psychology. The ﬁrst of these — artillery — offers the most textually concrete evidence of this (probably unintentional) achievement. Although Le Queux never uses the terms ‘air-burst’ or ‘proximity fuse,’ it is clear that this is precisely what he is describing through the observations of Mr.