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The Land Ironclads by H. G. Wells

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This is a guest post by Slava Heretz

"The Land Ironclads" is a 1903 science fiction short story by H. G. Wells. It is an eerily prophetic story about a war correspondent and a soldier in a fictitious battle between “townsmen” and “countrymen”. What’s the catch? While one side has the brawn, the other may have the brains to turn the tide of the war forever.

H. G. Wells: Master Oracle of Future Science:


Even though we don’t have time machines and anti-gravity units yet, Wells certainly was a pioneer of these now almost ubiquitous concepts in science fiction. But what actual science did he predict? The military now uses heat emitting microwave rays for riot control. We live in a wirelessly connected world not so different from his utopian novel, Men Like Gods. He even described in great detail automatically sliding doors, escalators and airport people movers before the turn of the 20th century – a true visionary.

Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell:

A news reporter is on assignment at the front. He’s thrust into the heart of battle with his only source being a war-weary soldier with a very cynical attitude towards the whole ordeal. Can they survive the onslaught, dug in and entrenched, and ready to once again put up a staunch defense? Or does the opposition have a secret weapon that will finally put an end to the bloody stalemate?

Interesting Tidbits:

  • Word Count: 8,690 (16 pages)
  • Did you know that military officers frequently read The Strand Magazine and might have picked up a few pointers on trench warfare tactics from reading this story?

Where You Can Find The Land Ironclads:

  • Originally published in the December 1903 issue of The Strand Magazine.
  • You can read (or download) a free version of "The Land Ironclads" at The Scrapboard.
  • It is also included in his many short story collections.

More About the Contributor, Slava Heretz:
Slava Heretz

  • Slava Heretz writes science fiction and is the author of The Outer Pendulum, a serialized space opera:
  • Slava also posts free weekly flash fiction on his website:


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