THE THAMES VALLEY CATASTROPHE (1884): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

London in ruinsTHE THAMES VALLEY CATASTROPHE (1884) – Written by Grant Allen. The story is presented in the form of a memoir about the destruction of London as seen from “the futuristic” 20th Century.  

“Back” in 1884 a Londoner familiar with lava eruptions and flows that happened in the American West in the past tries – in what would become a trope of later disaster movies – to warn the authorities that danger lurks. Needless to say his warnings go unheeded and lava erupts in the Thames Valley.

Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner Plenty of Londoners die in the ensuing carnage but our hero manages to get his wife and children out. Various other survivors succeed in getting away alive but the geography of the region is forever altered.

London itself was utterly destroyed. The now closed-in Thames River became instead the Thames Lake, with various new towns being established on its banks by the early 20th Century.

One of those new towns is established as the new capital city of England.

From a story-telling angle it’s fascinating to see how far back the fundamental story structure for Disaster Epics goes. I used to think it started with the 1920s silent film about the Johnstown Flood of the 1890s. 

Obviously, however, by 1884 (at least) the basic outline of a protagonist warning authorities about an impending catastrophe but being ignored until it’s too late was being laid out.     

FOR EIGHT ADDITIONAL EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE

FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE:   https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/

FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here:   https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

Advertisements

12 Comments

Filed under Ancient Science Fiction

12 responses to “THE THAMES VALLEY CATASTROPHE (1884): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

  1. I’m glad you take these looks at older material. I think something in the quality of the prose has been lost in many more modern efforts.

  2. Awesome look at a post apocalypse London.

  3. This was my favorite story review so far.

  4. Wow those clichés did start long ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s