brixtonbrood: (BROOD)
[personal profile] brixtonbrood
The smalls are still at an age where they get a bedtime story read to them - usually a chapter of something each night. A couple of nights ago, having finished volume 3 of "All The Wrong Questions", I thought we'd give "The War Of The Worlds" a go - start them young on classic SF.

But, oh God, the racism. I mean, they know that back then, people thought differently, and you come across statements in passing from works of that vintage that would provoke a sharp intake of breath nowadays; but I thought, H.G. Wells? Decent cove, surely? Politics quite advanced for his time, yes?

And in the first chapter (and they're short chapters), we had a quite staggeringly racist statement about Tasmanian aborigines ("And before we judge of them too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants..."), which made me actually stop and flag it up, pointing out that the reason why the Tasmanians looked like humans was because they actually were human, and not an inferior race either.

After that, the "women, know your limits" sexism of the narrator explaining the signs of the Zodiac to his wife was almost pleasant. I'm quite looking forward to the Martians arriving now.
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