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Darkness And Dawn (1914)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Darkness And Dawn (1914) author: George Allan England

This is the first book of a trilogy, The Vacant World.

Two people awaken from a long slumber to find themselves in a future New York City which is abandoned and overgrown with vegetation. They are Allan, an engineer, and Beatrice, his filing clerk. Since their clothes have all but rotted off they eventually find some furs that were kept in a sealed trunk. She wears a tiger skin and he that of a polar bear. They are primarily in the Madison Square Avenue area of the city, which is now a towering forest and game is plenty. Allan estimates that it's 1,000-1,500 years in the future. They do some exploring and set up house on the fifth floor of one of the ancient buildings and have taken the roles of "man" and "woman". He does all the hunting and she the cooking, et cetera.

Then, one day Allan finds a flint spearhead and that gets him worried because he thinks there may be "savages" about that may put them in danger. He keeps this info to himself until the actually witness these natives, who are not quite human. They are apelike, have bluish skin and vicious doglike snouts. They also use fire and weapons, such as blow-darts. There's a huge battle between these creatures and another similar tribe--and the losers are eaten. Allan and Beatrice become trapped in their building and need to get water but the area is overrun by their camp. So he sneaks out and is caught. At first they are wary of him and think he's a supernatural creature--but when they realize he needs to drink water that he's mortal and can be killed. They barely get away. Allan, since he was an engineer, knows how to make explosives and has the necessary chemicals in his lab and plans to use them to destroy the tribe.

On one hand this is a cool book, considering it was written nearly a hundred years ago. It's vaguely in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard and is surprisingly violent and gory. On the other hand it's extremely racist, which probably reflects the time in which it was written. In one part Allan surmises that these blue-skinned creatures are the descendants of surviving blacks, who were incapable of continuing society after all the white people died off and then reverted back to savagery. In another part, when he describes that their skin is "mottled, like a Mexican dog's" I don't think he's referring to a canine. The book also has the characters very narcissistic, at the end having Allan equate himself as some white god. When he first wakes up from his slumber he views this future world as completely empty and barren, but it's overrun by jungle and brimming with life. It's just empty of people. And immediately his thoughts are to "conquer it". This is all a bit irritating so I'm not sure I'll ever read the following two books. However, if you're a white supremist then this will be like candy to you.

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