Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s – When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide

When After Worlds Collide

Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer’s – When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide

I recently downloaded these books from Audible and I have no idea why other than they may have been free or something.  I don’t remember what prompted me to be interested in them.  However, it wasn’t until after I listened to the stories that I found out they were written in 1933 and 1934!  It is that fact that prompted me to do a review for you even though it is not a sponsored review.

When Worlds Collide (1933)

A runaway planet hurtles toward the earth. As it draws near, massive tidal waves, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions wrack our planet, devastating continents, drowning cities, and wiping out millions. In central North America, a team of scientists race to build a spacecraft powerful enough to escape the doomed earth. Their greatest threat, they soon discover, comes not from the skies but from other humans.

After Worlds Collide (1934)

When the group of survivors from Earth landed on Bronson Beta, they expected absolute desolation. This Earth-like planet from another universe had been hurtling through space, cold and utter darkness for countless millennia. All life should have perished millions of years ago. But the Earth-people found a breathtakingly beautiful city, encased in a huge, transparent metal bubble; magnificent apartments filled with every luxury; food for a lifetime in the vast, empty kitchen; but with no trace of either life – or death. Then the humans learned that they were not along on Bronson Beta…

A crackling plot and sizzling, cataclysmic vision have made When Worlds Collide one of the most popular and influential end-of-the-world novels of all time. This Bison Frontiers of Imagination edition features the original story and its sequel, After Worlds Collide.

Philip Gordon Wylie (May 12, 1902 – October 25, 1971) was a prolific American author on subjects ranging from pulp science fiction, mysteries, social diatribes and satire, to ecology and the threat of nuclear holocaust.  Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when Philip was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University from 1920–1923.


I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am amazed with this duology.  I can’t even begin to understand how he created such an artistic and scientifically relevant story – that is still very relevant in 2014.  I listened to these books without knowing they were written 80-81 years ago.  At no point in the stories did I hear anything that gave me a clue to such a history.  I had assumed the stories were written relatively recently and were looking from this point in time to the future.  It wasn’t until I listened to the credits at the end of After Worlds Collide that I heard the date and could not believe that it was true.  Even today much of what was referenced by Philip Wylie seems futuristic.  And apparently human nature is human nature – whether it was 80 years ago, today or on some distant futuristic planet.  I had hoped there was a third book that would identify some of the inhabitants from Bronson Beta because I constantly felt that they, millions of years ago, must have perfected a way to keep what remained of their population alive through their travels away from the sun.  The stories were very well written and researched but also had a phenomenal way of looking to the future that not many people possess.  But, the duology came to and end and my craving for more will not be satisfied.  I will have to leave the future of the Bronson Beta Earth inhabitants up to my own imagination.

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