Ar better done Each viewpoint character struggles with self doubt even the man who ends as Pope begins uestioning his own faith The spirit of Antichrist is patently seductive this dystopia is a progressive dream worldalmost like Star Trek s Earth but without warp drive But whereas Star Trek s humans have a evolved sensibility Lord of the World s humans are ust like us imperfect When a few disturbed individuals mount another failed Guy Fawkes plot against the center of the new cult Westminister Abbey the new European president response and that of his followers is far from humane Violence fills the streets and a vicious persecution of all remaining Christians ensues Simply believing in themselves did nothing to better the people of Earth it is in fact their perfect faith in themselves that makes them so vicious Utterly convinced that their cause is righteous those who oppose the dream count for nothing and no action against them is beyond the pale Even as the world at large becomes increasingly awestruck by the dear leader s accomplishments the most idealistic of the viewpoint characters find their faith in him shaken by his cold blooded savageryA century after its publication Lord of the World seems in part prophetic Christianity has waned fast in Europe and rampant consumerism abounds worldwide Moderns chase material hopes instead of spiritual succor ignoring practical philosophy and religion alike for the distracting allure of stuff From Benson s point of view however the west today is not as in as dangerous a position as the west of his book we are in no danger of being fulfilled Every commercial and every election reveal our constant frustration and dissatisfaction Benson s dread was a drowsy contentedness with the way things are that masks spiritual hunger something definitely not present in our own lives The meat of Lord is not hackneyed attempts to force current events into the poetic prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures or action movie thriller antics like the Left Behind novels but soul searching While Benson s Antichrist allows everyone to reassure themselves of man s moral perfectibility his Christian characters understand human nature as frail When an English priest arrives in the City of Rome where many of the trappings of modernity are kept outside the city walls to preserve the interior he breaths a sigh of relief at the messiness of itYet Percy even in the glimpses he had had in the streets as he drove from the volor station outside the People s Gate of the old peasant dresses the blue and red fringed wine carts the cabbage strewn gutters the wet clothes flapping on strings the mules and horses strange though these were he had found them a refreshment It had seemed to remind him that man was human and not divine as the rest of the world proclaimed human and therefore careless and individualistic human and therefore occupied with interests other than those of speed cleanliness and precisionRome s Christianity assures the priest that while he is not perfect he does not need to be Human redemption does not stem from machine perfect order Just as The Iron Heel put forth numerous arguments for a democratic socialist state in the context of a revolution against corporate rule Lord s searching sets two different perspectives about human nature against one another one optimistic but unyielding the other pessimistic but forgiving The moral discussion is the heart of the book though there are minor points of interest for those interested in comparing futurist or alternate histories Aspects of it are very dated like the heavy use of zeppelins and telegraphs and Benson s belief that total command economies would triumph is not dissimilar to HG Wells and Jack London s futurecasting though he s skeptical about its merits One peculiarity of this being Catholic fiction is the fusion of the church s foes Freemasonry and Marxism have merged here and Mason lodges have taken over most churches I don t know if anyone takes the freemasons as seriously as the Catholic church does with the exception of the freemasons themselvesLord of the World is an altogether different endtimes story theologically driven than driven on action It is far humane than 1984 or Brave New World whereas those and other dystopias invent worlds where the human spirit has been utterly crushed by systems in Lord things are promising Man is far from God yes but not abandoned unlike those thrillers where man is left alone to fight against a machine beyond his fathoming the persecuted Christian remnant awaiting salvation in Nazareth have the hope of resurrection God is with them throughout the struggle as St Paul noted even if they die it will be to their gain even if the world perishes it will be reborn anewFor me Lord is provoking torn as I am between the invigorating faith in creative progress and the humble Christian understanding that we are imperfect and in need of grace I was ready to give this book 5 stars right up until the last page maybe even the last line The writing is lush complex with the sort of Victorian era delight in rich and beautiful language that one seldom encounters these days and it was a oy to read Here s an exampleIt was a very upright old man that Father Franklin saw in the chair before him of medium height and girth with hands clasping the bosses of his chair arms and an appearance of great and deliberate dignity But it was at the face chiefly that he looked dropping his gaze three or four times as the Pope s blue eyes turned on him They were extraordinary eyes reminding him of what historians said of Pius X the lids drew straight lines across them giving him the look of a hawk but the rest of the face contradicted them There was no sharpness in that It was neither thin nor fat but beautifully modelled in an oval outline the lips were clean cut with a look of passion in their curves the nose came down in an auiline sweep ending in chiselled nostrils the chin was firm and cloven and the poise of the whole head was strangely youthful It was a face of great generosity and sweetness set at an angle between defiance and humility but ecclesiastical
ear to and brow to chin the forehead was slightly compressed ecclesiastical from ear to ear and brow to chin the forehead was slightly compressed the temples and beneath the white cap lay white hair It had been the subject of laughter at the music halls nine years before when the composite face of well known priests had been thrown on a screen side by side with the new Pope s for the two were almost indistinguishableIsn t that glorious Who writes like that these daysAs to plot since I m a fan of post apocalypse although this is pre and during it was a great fit Lord of the World presents a world in which secular humanism has carried the day and religion has been reduced to a mildly embarrassing and socially inappropriate habit like chewing with one s mouth open The Catholic Church is the lone holdout and even they have been reduced to only two countries Rome and Ireland with a few scattered believers here and there in the remainder Now the author was an Anglican priest and son of the Archbishop of Canterbury so you know which side is going to win in the eventual Apocalypse but it isn t at all obvious at the beginning Initially Benson does an excellent ob presenting this triumph of rationality as a positive development for mankind but gradually skillfully slowly there grows in the reader a sort of creeping nameless horror The fate of Mabel Brand is perhaps the saddest and most heart wrenching of all Curiously in many ways Mabel reminded me strongly of Cherryl Brooks Taggart in Atlas Shrugged they both discover a lie at the heart of their lives and want to face the truth no matter what when they do well no for fear of spoilersThose looking for battles and car chases and excitement and the Rapture will be bored Those who enjoy a subtle philosophical approach to Armageddon will be entranced though you may want to keep a Latin dictionary handySo what happened Why five stars right up until the last page Well it s not that I object to what happens on the last page but rather the fact that it IS the last page The ending is exceedingly abrupt as though the author expended all his energy getting the reader to that point and then collapsed Not that I can imagine where the story could have gone it s a pretty comprehensive last page but we ve been trained to expect buildup climax denouement Well you get a climax for sure but no denouement whatsoever It s uite the crashStill I highly recommend it Just be prepared to be let down ungently at the end Oh boy what is there to say about this book It s fantastic heart wrenching conflicting and beautiful At it s heart it s a story about man s pursuit of higher ideals but in practice it s an apocalyptic vision of the so called progress of modern manThe book follows three main characters a young priest who represents the outmoded Catholic worldview a politician in the new world government representing rigid idealism and utilitarianism and the politician s wife representing the conflicted idealist Through these three characters we see a world striving for transcendence but rejecting the transcendent The book reads as a sweeping cautionary tale against humanism and a very successful one to my eyes Without spoiling the trajectory in the story it becomes uickly obvious who is applying consistent but inhuman logic in the appropriate way and who is notFrom a literary perspective the book is really excellent It s language is beautiful and the interactions between characters if a bit stylized are very human There s a lot of embellishment and flowery language but I chalk that up to the writing of the time much than to a particular method that the author was using to convey a point There are some missed marks as far as future telling goes but no worse than books written significantly later than this one which was written in 1907 He prophetically accurately predicts a future world which includes legalized euthanasia one party states and weapons of mass destruction Also prophetically affluence has led to apathy atheism and a loss of faith by many CatholicsI highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone of any faith persuasion It s a classic work that I think is overlooked in classrooms in favor of softer and secular works like Farenheit 451 1984 and Brave New World I love those books dearly but this one packs punchI subtracted a star because there are times when the book moves slowly than I d like a hallmark of early 20th century literature This is personal taste and can t be accounted for but it diminished my enthusiasm for the book as a whole That being said once the book gets going it s very hard to put down. Sm made the novel a counterpoint to the socialist themed dystopias written at the same time by H G Wells The Sleeper Awakes and Jack London The Iron Heel Introduced and edited by Luke Hartwell author of Atom Heart John Beloved. Settings than I d have preferred But I didn t have any problem reading this and finding it to be an extremely powerful and meaningful reading experienceI ve recommended the book to Christian readers Some nonbelievers might find some food for thought here but I don t think Benson saw them as his audience He addressed it to his fellow Catholics to strengthen them in the face of coming persecution and both Pope Francis and his predecessor have urged their flock to read it In keeping with his own early 20th century milieu of very conservative English Catholicism the author sees his denomination as largely coextensive with Christianity In his fictional early 21st century Protestantism is largely extinct distinctive Catholic ideas are often expressed in the text and Catholic mysticism which Protestant readers might find somewhat alien is prominent here Nevertheless I think this is worthwhile reading for Protestant readers too for the same reason as for Catholic ones what unites us in the face of a world that rejects God is important than what divides us and we all need the reminder that our salvation comes ultimately from Jesus Christ not from cultural power or political action An apocalyptic novel written in 1907 Personally I prefer A canticle for Leibowitz which seems to me better built and believable because the apocalyptic end is caused by man himself rather than by unexplained acts of GodThere are two kinds of atheism1 Optimistic atheism which replaces faith in God by an overpowering faith in Man God in this view is the result of evolution not its cause The last uestion a short story by Asimov could be considered the most concise representative of this ideology in the field of SF2 Pessimistic atheism which reduces man to ITS NOT YOUR FAULT just an animal an epiphenomenon something of no importance about whose future Nature or the universe cares nothing something that in the long range can have no impact This would be I believe the line followed by the new atheists such as Richard Dawkins Lord of the World shows where optimistic atheism could lead us to When the book was written this form of atheism looked like the most probable conseuence of the foreseeable progress of Mankind In a sudden change that startedust a few years later the two world wars and the subseuent half a century cold war when the self destruction of man seemed to be the most probable future have vaccinated us making us lose most of our trust in Man and the unlimited progress of science Today we are witnessing an increasing attack of militant pessimistic atheism against religion but this form of the ideology may be somewhat less damaging than the other as the novel showsAs to science fiction forecasts the novel has few I d mention high speed trains nuclear weapons represented by Benninschein explosives by which the author fails to foresee that mass destruction weapons would be created by team work not by individual personalities and advanced methods for euthanasia On the other hand the scientific world depicted at the beginning of the 21st century is uite similar to the status of science and technology at the beginning of the 20th century radio telegraph as the main way of communication telephone restricted to government uses zeppelins for air travel and little elseI have always believed that the Antichrist will be an ideology not a man I find a little ludicrous the idea of a mass of atheists worshipping as God a man Unfinished Puzzle just like themselves Orwell s creation of Big Brother as a mysterious impersonal chief to be worshipped was betterIn spite of these criticisms the novel is very good In fact at times it is overwhelming In this book a practically unknown one term United States senator with a charismatic personality and a magnetic speaking voice comes to power in 2008 and turns out to be the Antichrist HonestYes this is basically the same plot as a book I was handed by a wild eyed fellow outside Redfern station a decade ago You may have been handed the same book However in this case 1 it is the Protestants who cave immediately tooin the Antichrist while the Catholics are the persecuted minority fighting him and 2 the writing is really very goodYou should read this book for its prefigurements of the great 20th century dystopias Before Our Ford s T Model here is a London with the same Brave New World aesthetic the euthanasia centres the selfless meritocrats keeping the proles happy with bread and circuses Before Mussolini s march on Rome here is Big Brother s Cult of Personality the Nuremburg style crowds the world eerily divided into three great blocs In 1907 here is a dysfunctional European parliament a thoroughly Godless Europe about to be overwhelmed by barbarism from the East a London convulsed by mob violence The book is like a chrysalis containing the whole terrible century that was to come Of course science fiction is not about prediction but this book which doesn t claim to be science fiction comes closer to predicting the real 2008 than anything else I ve read from a similar distance in timeUnless you are fond of the sort of things Charles Williams used to write there is no real reason to read all the way to the end after all you know how it will turn out I would suggest stopping after the passage of the Alps except to flip ahead and look for the bits with Mabel in them These are rather good and also contain the basis for my assertion that the novel takes place in 2008 Oh and the novel is full of Catholic argon in a Morris West likefrom ear to
fashion only so Those are my only caveatsThe book contains nothing toonly so Those are my only caveatsThe book contains nothing to Edwardian middle class Protestants raised on tales of Catholic perfidy The main characters are almost almost fanatical enough to be seen from the opposite direction as the bad guys in a Sheri S Tepper novel While the official position of the Church and of the heroes who are all priests is one of extreme in your face pacifism in response to persecution there are other Catholics who do try to blow up Westminster Abbey assassinate government officials etc and the main characters never really condemn them ust worry about the possible blowback Which are admittedly pretty really condemn them The Mystery of Risk just worry about possible blowback effects Which are admittedly pretty It s hard to remember this book is over one hundred years old Technologically speaking it s out moded of course Robert Hugh Benson s volors flying machines which sound like Zeppelins zip along at 150 mph and people rely on typewriters for administrative work but Ray Bradbury s The Martian Chronicles is far dated and it s fifty years newer Where Lord of the World stands up to the test of time is in its presentation of ideas Written in 1907 it accurately predicts a future world which includes legalized euthanasia one party states and weapons of mass destruction Also prophetically affluence has led to apathy atheism and a loss of faith by many Catholics Set in England with occasional forays to Rome and Jerusalem Monsignor Benson focuses his attention on Catholic Christians without looking closely at other Christian denominations No doubt this was necessary for flow but it also allowed Benson to illustrate the variety of responses among Catholics who could be seen as representative of all professed believers in Jesus Christ There were those tried by adversity who immediately fell away those who like the seed among the rocks and thorns died from lack of root and finally those who persisted growing stronger as a result of struggle The point being the Grace of God and response to that Grace determine whether or not a soul remain committed Theological training and denominational affiliation were not at issue There were a number of apostate priests Lord of the World offers one illustration of the Antichrist and end times It might not be how you envision him and them I m still not sure exactly what I think but Julian Felsenburgh and the scenario were certainly chilling Depressingly but unsurprisingly Felsenburgh was an American Fortunately he didn t remind me of anyone though apparently there were some contemporary British personalities Benson patterned him after Ramsay McDonald and Evan RobertsI can certainly see why Popes Benedict XVI and Francis want us to read it It s a catalytic book at the end I felt the need to talk it over with someone So many interesting issues and uniue situations are presented it would be ideal as a group discussion novel Any book clubs out there looking for their next good read Didn t like this as much as Come Rack Come Rope I must not a fan of dystopian literature So while I was inclined to 4 or 45 stars considering I read Benson s two books so close together I figured this one suffered from comparison and gave the extra5 starJuly 29 2016 This has been on my to read list for EVER I started it several times but always got bogged down in the Prologue trying to understand it It even says it is not essential and it isn t but I m a stickler for reading things in order so I doggedly kept trying This time I gave it up and now I m zipping through this Woohoo At the turn of the 21st century war between the states of Europe and the East threatens at the midnight hour however comes an obscure American politician a senator of no fame whose cosmopolitan charm allows him to calm the troubled diplomatic waters and prevent a century of peace and prosperity from being overturned by strife Hailed as a savior the rising star becomes a pivotal figure in world affairs but the epitome of modernity this senator has a far darker role to play in cosmic history He is the Antichrist and his triumph means the end of the world is at hand Published in 1908 Lord of the World is a piece of Catholic fiction driven by conflict between Christian tradition and modernity The prevailing drives of the 19th century seem to have achieved fruition in Lord of the World democracy has triumphed over monarchy social programs and psychology over religion and in general the material over the spiritual Europeans across the board are irreligious with the exception of what is left of the Catholic church concentrated in Ireland and the City of Rome There is a religious sentiment alive in the Europeans a worship of the human soul a sense of human beings as divine this humanitarian religion achieves deliberate expression when the American becomes President of Europe and institutes French revolution like a Cult of the Supreme Being a Cult of the Human Initially harmless it uickly becomes the state religion mandatory and supreme Catholic resistance is answered by the obliteration of Rome and a new pope in exile flees to Judea there to await the endAlthough the depiction of an Antichrist figure and the Endtimes may bring to mind thoughts of the Left Behind series Lord of the World is Dystopian novels Lord of the World published in 1907 presents a world controlled by Freemasonry with only a small Catholic minority bravely opposing them Benson's portrayal of the Freemasons as dominated by Marxism and Humani. ,
Not sure what to write as a reviewLoved reading this book And the dystopia presented in the book is very visible in today s world This book was written in the begiining of the 20th century 1907 It imagines the future 2000 when Humanity Religion Humanitarianism will overtake the entire world The oly challenge it will feel will be from the Catholic religion which will by then reduced to a small minority The whole world will unite under one leadership Lord of the World having one religion humanitarianism as the uniting force The Lord of the World and the last Pope of the Catholic Church are the main characters The contrasting opinions are interestingly uxtaposed In Humanity Religion man is God and God is man There is no supernatural element to be believed in Man must believe in the idea of man and life principle Of course he cannot give up his need to wors A precise rating is four and a half stars since it is not a perfect work but I erred on the higher side because I thought this a beautifully written and prophetic novel of ideas As you can read from its description it s a dystopian novel of a future where secular humanism has come to dominate the world and seeks the final eradication of religion especially Christianity The one religion that remains is Roman Catholicism but any Christian denomination would have sufficed The author is a Roman Catholic priest so he is writing from what he knows The novel was written in 1907 and is set a hundred years into its future which would make it now In that future secular humanism has come to dominate society and seeks the eradication of all religion especially Christianity since it proposes a metaphysical world of a transcendent God who s values go beyond the human ego The totalitarianism of Orwell has come and gone but the secular stranglehold of Benson s dystopian vision is very much with us And what does Benson see as the source of the secularist s power Humanitarianism as seen through the ego and not of Christ and cold logic at the expense of human values The Lord of the world has been replaced by a lord over human beings all of which will bring the narrative to an apocalyptic endingNot only is this a novel of ideas but one of extraordinary lyricism Robert Hugh Benson is a gifted writer There are scenes delineated in the best tradition of fine Victorian prose Here is an example of a moment when Fr Percy Franklin the novel s central figure enters a chapel to prayIt was drawing on towards sunset and the huge dark place was lighted here and there by patches of ruddy London light that lay on the gorgeous marble and gildings finished at last by a wealthy convert In front of him rose up the choir with a line of white surpliced and furred canons on either side and the vast baldachino in the midst beneath which burned the six lights as they had burned day by day for than a century behind that again lay the high line of the apse choir with the dim window pierced vault above where Christ reigned in majesty He let his eyes wander round for a few moments before beginning his deliberate prayer drinking in the glory of the place listening to the thunderous chorus the peal of the organ and the thin mellow voice of the priest There on the left shone the refracted glow of the lamps that burned before the Lord in the Sacrament on the right a dozen candles winked here and there at the foot of the gaunt images high overhead hung the gigantic cross with that lean emaciated Poor Man Who called all who looked on Him to the embraces of a GodSuch a simple moment and yet Benson makes it come alive And here also is the dramatic entrance into the novel of its chief antithesis the newly elected secular President of the world dubbed Lord of the World Julian Felsenburgh Here he enters on some sort of hovering craft over a cheering crowdHigh on the central deck there stood a chair draped too in white with some insignia visible above its back and in the chair sat the figure of a man motionless and lonely He made no sign as he came his dark dress showed vividedly against the whiteness his head was raised and he turned it gently now and again from side to sideIt came nearer still in the profound stillness the head turned and for an instant the face was plainly visible in the soft radiant lightIt was a pale face strongly marked as of a young man with arched black eyebrows thin lips and white hairThen the face turned once the steersman shifted his head and the beautiful shape wheeling a little passed the corner and moved up towards the palaceThere was an hysterical yelp somewhere a cry and again the tempestuous groan broke outThere are many such startling scenes that this novel would make a superb movie Why hasn t this been made into a movie The final climatic scene where the religious have ust finished Mass and are in procession with the Blessed Sacrament chanting Latin hymns while the onslaught of the destroying bombers make their way is brilliant This is a novel that should have a much wider audience and should be reuired reading across universities if universities had the incentive to be balanced But they are not So it behooves you to read the novel for yourself Our Pope Francis is full of surprises This book is on his list of favorites It is the public domain so is is on his list of favorites It is in the public domain so is free in the kindle store and is available free in audio on librivox I read it both ways The author was a Catholic priest so there is definitely a Catholic perspective but I think that anyone would find the book a page turner Fr Robert Hugh Benson wrote it in 1907 and it is shocking how prophetic it is Honestly I think it would be a very interesting read especially for people who have no faith or a weak faith Humans have a need for worship in their lives If we don t worship God what do we choose Particular world views can sound good but without a foundation of faith in God they can lead to places we don t want to go Once there we can never come back This is an end times book I don t think I ll ever be able to hear O Salutaris Hostia again without getting chills No matter how you read this book I recommend that you listen to the final chapter on librivox The reader sings the song in such a haunting voice that you will never forget itI recommend this book to everyone In the real world of the early 21st century the Western world which dominates the rest of the world economically and politically is similarly dominated internally by a ruling wealthy political and cultural elite That elite is united behind a worldview that serves them as a de facto state religion the basic tenets of which are materialistic atheism that rejects any concept of a transcendent God as not only misguided but evil idealization and idolization of a deified Mankind while denying any inherent rights or dignity to any individual human absolute centralization of political and economic power and rationalization of economic and social processes to maximize profit and control Although large numbers of the subservient population of workers consumers taxpayers and nominal voters don t share this belief system the power elite largely dominates all levers of political economic and Yo salí del abismo judicial decision making mass education and communication and therefore also dominates perception and access to information about events and uses economic coercion bribery brainwashing and manipulation of the electoral process to ensure its agenda Many of us including but not only traditional Christians view this state of affairs with dissatisfaction and genuine fear Christian believers especially perceive an agenda on the part of the elites sometimes avowed openly and a trend towards the elimination of even vestigial legal safeguards for religious and other freedoms and the establishment of open totalitarianism and persecution with the intent to exterminate religious believersIn 1907 the intellectual currents that would lead to this state of affairs were far less advanced than they are now But they were there and already clearly expressed in germinal form in much of the Utopian thought of that day Obviously what an adherent of this worldview sees as Utopia would pretty much be everybody else s dystopia Robert Hugh Benson former Anglican priest turned Roman Catholic priest extrapolated from those currents with incredible prescience to create a Christian response to them in fictional form Set apparently in the early 21st century mention is made of the legislation in 1998 establishing legal euthanasia some years before the characters present it describes a world where the materialistic Utopia is largely a reality save for the galling persistence of a small minority of religious believers This is social science fiction subject to the limitations of its time future technological developments here aren t portrayed exactly as they turned out though some are pretty close and nobody in 1907 or even 1967 foresaw the Internet But what we have in the main is a chillingly realistic and plausible portrait of the secular world that is in its essentials basically not much different than the one we live in or could reasonably expect to live in very soonHowever this is than dystopian SF because Benson recognized the real issues as spiritual rather than sociological and the answer to the problem as coming from God s action not ours So this is a novel that takes very seriously the reality of Christian eschatology of a climax of history in which God Himself will act to replace the present world order with an eternal one based onustice and righteousness as adumbrated in Bible prophecy and Benson takes some aspects of Bible prophecy literally than most Catholic expositors have although without the bizarre distortions of prophecy featured by the dispensationalist writers of for instance the Left Behind series This isn t a spoiler it s foreshadowed from the Prologue on and it s the essential core of Benson s messageThis is very much a novel of ideas but it also has a very real taut plot focusing mainly on three viewpoint characters who represent very different takes on the events of their world All three are drawn very realistically and in such a way that we can truly get inside their heads and understand how they think Nonbelievers aren t necessarily treated unsympathetically Mabel is actually one of the most sympathetic characters in the book Events move swiftly with a mounting degree of menace and suspense The Edwardian diction features some big words including Catholic ecclesiastical vocabulary and some lines especially near the end in untranslated Latin which educated readers in 1907 of course could translate and complex sentences and there can be at times description of physical. Before Huxley before Orwell and long before Fahrenheit 451 A Clockwork Orange Blade Runner and The Hunger Games Robert Hugh Benson wrote a story of the coming of the Anti Christ that today is considered one of the first modern.