Clarke, I. F. – Books

The most prolific writer on the history of Invasion and Future War literature is I F Clarke.

His books include:

Clarke, I. F. (1966). Voices prophesying war, 1763-1984. London ; New York etc., Oxford U.P.clarke_voice_frontcoverclarke_voice_backcover

Clarke, I. F. (1978). Tale of the future : from the beginning to the present day : an annotated bibliography. London, Library Association.clarke_talefuture_cover

Clarke, I. F. (1995). The tale of the next Great War, 1871-1914 : fictions of future warfare and of battles still-to-come. Liverpool, Liverpool University Press.

This selection of short stories offers a return journey through the future as it used to be. Time speeds backwards to the 1870s – to the alpha point of modern futuristic fiction – the opening years of that enchanted period before the First World War when Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and many able writers delighted readers from Sydney to Seattle with their most original revelations of things-to-come.

The imaginary wars in this collection of sixteen stories are powerful reminiscences of dominant expectations as these were perceived and projected during a fateful period of European history. They are venerable echoes from the last age of innocence, before the military technologies of the First World War demonstrated in the most brutal ways that the unexpected can make nonsense of assumptions about the future. (Extract from Publisher’s Description)


Clarke, I. F. (1997). The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914 : fictions and fantasies of the war-to-come. Liverpool, Liverpool University Press.

In the second of a series of anthologies on future war stories, the leading specialist in the field presents a selection of prophetic tales about the conflict-to-come between the British and the Germans, tales which had immense influence in the quarter-century before the First World War. An extensive range of contemporary illustrations is included. (Extract from Publisher’s Description)


A more general work on Science Fiction but covering much material relevant to Future War Literature is:

Clarke, I. F. (1979). The Pattern of Expectation 1644-2011. Book Club Associates / Jonathan Cape.clarke_pattern_cover

Discussion of the future is a working tool for some and a plaything of the imagination for others. In this remarkable book — the result of twenty-five years of research — Professor Clark traces the evolving pattern of prediction. He shows how the factors making for change in a society — political, social, technological, philosophical – decide the pattern of expectation from generation to generation.

Professor Clarke discusses the many factors that have worked together to make the story of the future a dominant form of fiction — written for every kind of purpose, from the prophetic visions of H. G. Wells and the admonitory projections of Huxley and Orwell to the delightful entertainments of the science fiction writers. Stories of the future provided a way of imagining, describing and playing with the new-found potential of the applied sciences.

From the early 1800s onwards this form of fiction developed rapidly – future wars, ideal states of the future, scientific romances of the future. The first peak came about 1870 with the early romances of Jules Verne and the Battle of Dorking by Sir George Tomkyns Chesney, which alarmed the British and astonished the Continent with a vivid account of a German invasion of the United Kingdom. Thereafter came the first attempts at social and technological forecasting.

the theory of evolution, the idea of progress and the facts of imperial growth and technological development. A change was to come with the discovery of lethal military technologies in the First World War; and since then the discussion of the future has grown more acerbic in such projections as Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, more practical in the calculations of the futurologists and more popular in the explosion of science fiction stories in the last twenty years.

In this facinating survey the reader will be able to trace the pattern of expectation over the past three centuries and gauge the course of prediction in the future.   (Publisher’s Description)

He also published many papers – details are here.