These two young men were sitting in one of the most pleasant places in all the world in which to sit on a summer evening—in a ground-floor room looking out upon the Great Court of Trinity College, Cambridge. It was in that short space of time, between six and seven, during which the Great Court is largely deserted. The athletes and the dawdlers have not yet returned from field and river; and Fellows and other persons, young enough to know better, who think that a summer evening was created for the reading of books, have not yet emerged from their retreats. A white-aproned cook or two moves across the cobbled spaces with trays upon their heads; a tradesman’s boy comes out of the corner entrance from the hostel; a cat or two stretches himself on the grass; but, for the rest, the court lies in broad sunshine; the shadows slope eastwards, and the fitful splash and trickle of the fountain asserts itself clearly above the gentle rumble of Trinity Street. Aeterna Press
This dystopian tale from Robert Hugh Benson offers a unique spiritual twist on typical end-of-the-world narratives: in Benson's imagined future, it's the Catholic Church that offers the only respite from encroaching doom. Whatever your religious beliefs may be, Lord of the World is a gripping must-read for fans of novels like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's 1984.
Gradually memory and consciousness once more reasserted themselves, and he became aware that he was lying in bed. But this was a slow process of intense mental effort, and was as laboriously and logically built up of premises and deductions as were his theological theses learned twenty years before in his seminary. There was the sheet below his chin; there was a red coverlet (seen at first as a blood-coloured landscape of hills and valleys); there was a ceiling, overhead, at first as remote as the vault of heaven. Then, little by little, the confused roaring in his ears sank to a murmur. It had been just now as the sound of brazen hammers clanging in reverberating caves, the rolling of wheels, the tramp of countless myriads of men. Aeterna Press
Belief in God has been replaced by secular humanism in this gripping tale of the apocalypse. Protestantism is over, Catholicism is driven underground, and the Eastern religions have merged into a single pantheistic creed that poses an ongoing military threat to the West. Without a spiritual dimension to their lives, people are literally bored to death, choosing legal euthanasia rather than an empty existence. A charismatic leader arises amid this culture of despair, and in their eagerness for change, the citizens support the coming of the Antichrist and the end of days. One of the first works of modern dystopic fiction, this 1907 novel is remarkably prescient in its depiction of a technologically advanced society that rushes headlong toward its own destruction. Author Robert Hugh Benson, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury and a convert to Roman Catholicism, wrote this dark parable in response to the science-fiction novels of H. G. Wells, which portrayed utopian societies in terms of atheism and one-world government. The novel has been hailed as prophetic by Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, among others.
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