Griffith, G. (1911) The Lord of Labour

lord-labourGeorge Griffith (1911) The Lord of Labour.

This book was published posthumously. So determined was Griffith that this book be published that he dictated part of it on his death bed. This future war novel features fantastical weapons. “In George Griffith’s The Lord of Labour (written in 1906, published in 1911) the Germans invent a ray which can “demagnetize” metal in such a manner that it crumbles into dust on impact. The British fleet is manipulated into destroying itself when it fires its guns at the ray-wielding enemy fleet of wooden ships. But Anglo-Saxon ingenuity and civilization triumph as the English retaliate with helium-radium bullets of stupendous explosive power.”

……… in George Griffith’s 1906 The Lord of Labour (published posthumously in 1911), a German professor invents a disintegrating ray and proposes, like the scientific geniuses in the American novels, “to make warfare impossible by making it so awful that no man in his senses would go upon a battlefield. ” But the Kaiser responds: “My dear Professor, before you make war impossible you will have to make another discovery. You will have to find out how to alter human nature”. [Howard Bruce Franklin (2008) War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, p.131]

Not everyone, of course, believed in the myth [that powerful weapons would make war unthinkable]. George Griffith was not prepared to let his awareness of the potential of new military technologies interfere with his enthusiasm for the coming conflict—in his last future war novel, The Lord of Labour (posthumously published in 1911), the war is fought with atomic missiles and disintegrator rays but is still presented as a glorious endeavour …….. [Brian M. Stableford (2007) Space, Time, and Infinity: Essays on Fantastic Literature, p.113]