''The Shape of Things to Come'' is a 1933 SpeculativeFiction novel by Creator/HGWells, detailing mankind's struggles to survive and reach the future in the midst of global war and societal collapse.

The original novel prognosticates UsefulNotes/WorldWarII (though in the book the war lasts for a decade or more), which ends inconclusively but decimates all of civilization -- not helped by [[ThePlague a horrific plague]] which nearly effaces the human populace (in the book the 'history writer' claims the world population was cut in half).

Wells then envisions a benevolent OneWorldOrder which comes in and, using its monopoly on the world's surviving transportation infrastructure, begins to rebuild society into a scientific {{utopia}}. After a century, the OneWorldOrder is peacefully overthrown, after which the utopia is apparently achieved.

The novel was [[FilmOfTheBook adapted to film]] as ''Film/ThingsToCome'' in 1936, and the title ([[InNameOnly and little else]]) was appropriated for another sci-fi film in 1979. The novel also provided the title for an episode of ''Series/{{Lost}}'' and the closing sequence of ''Series/{{Caprica}}'', amongst other {{Shout Out}}s in popular culture.

!!This novel provides examples of:
* AddedAlliterativeAppeal: "Fighting Forties" (a decade of war), "Famished Fifties" (a decade of tortuously slow rebuilding amid privation and mass disease).
* AfterTheEnd: One of the earliest examples of the modern "humanity bombs itself back to feudal times" form of the trope
* ApocalypseAnarchy: downplayed, but present in some areas
* AtomicHate: popularized, and may have [[TropeNamer coined]], the term "Atomic Bomb", and predicted many of the forms the technology took, such as submarine-borne ballistic missiles.
* BalkanizeMe: As an aftermath of the novel's version of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, the effectiveness of many countries' governments to enforce their power faded in varying degrees, rendering many regions de facto autonomous.
* BlackShirt: Actual UsefulNotes/FascistItaly Black Shirts are still operating some time after the second Conference at Basra in 1978.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: For example Utah, where Mormonism was then declared the state religion.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: Subverted when the book (more or less accurately) prognosticates the start of World War II. Then double-subverted when the book's WWII goes on for over a decade and completely obliterates all of human society.
* JustBeforeTheEnd: Where the story begins
* MonumentalDamage: After UsefulNotes/WorldWarII all over the place of course. The inconclusive ten-year war ends with a fizzle, and the extensive gas and biological-chemical warfare predicted by Wells during the 1940s creates favorable conditions for mass epidemics throughout the 1950s, along with [[CrapsackWorld the loss of reliable electricity, food and clothing]].
* MutuallyAssuredDestruction: an influential early portrayal of the trope, and what could happen if the standoff were to break
* NextSundayAD: Part one sets up the state of the world in 1933 (the year it was published) and projects from there.
* NoBikesInTheApocalypse: Averted in chapter 11 ''Europe in 1960'' wherein the ''Diary of Titus Cobbett'' is mentioned, written during Cobbett's bicycle ride through the [[AfterTheEnd completely devastated Europe]] of [[{{Zeerust}} 1958]].
* LensmanArmsRace: one of Well's favorite tropes to begin with, this time taken to its grim LogicalExtreme
* LiteraryAgentHypothesis: The book claims to be adapted from the notes of one Dr. Philip Raven.
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: The world government suppresses organised religion with remarkable ease.
* ThePlague: humanity may have done a pretty good job of screwing itself over, but it was the epidemics in the aftermath that nearly finished the job.
* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture: where book quickly moves on to from NextSundayAD
* UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans: Wings Over The World.
* WeaponOfMassDestruction: the story is in part the result of Wells reading up on the latest developments in atomic theory, and having a horrifying realization about what it made possible.
* WorldWarThree: As envisioned by someone who had not yet seen World War II.