New Book of the Week: When Worlds Collide


George Pal‘s production of When Worlds Collide was released to cinemas in 1951, at a time when it was still a major selling point to announce that it was in ‘color by Technicolor!’



I don’t remember how old I was when I first saw the film – eleven? twelve? – but I do remember being very impressed by the concept and the drama, if not the scientific accuracy (yes, even back then I was a pedantic little $#!%). This was science fiction writ large – the end of the worldRogue planets! Space arks! Had I not already had my neural switches set to SF, it’s likely this would have been the film to turn me. It was many years later that I discovered that the film had been a book first, published in 1933 and co-written by Edwin Balmer and none other than Philip Wylie, whose 1930 novel Gladiator was the inspiration for Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster‘s Superman.

With the world still sadly full of people willing to believe in discredited ancient prophecies or the rubbish put about by deluded apocalypse cults, it’s perhaps no surprise that there is a continued fascination with end-of-the-world stories. But, as good as the novel and the film of When Worlds Collide are, they’re still just stories. If they weren’t, there’d have been no publishing industry extant to release the sequel, After Worlds Collide . . .