Sometime Never: A Fable for Supermen
Nowadays the world is filled with people who have killed in the war. None of them ever feels guilty, however they wouldn't hesitate to report a fellow men if he were to cheat at cards. I am a peoplekiller. I've tried to feel guilty, but I can't seem to make myself. I would feel very guilty if I cheated at cards.
—Dahl, on the "Supermen", i.e., soldiers around the world
is a 1948 Science Fiction novel by Roald Dahl
. It is the first novel after World War II
to mention the atomic bomb and the end of the world. The plot is divided into two parts, the wartime adventure of RAF pilot Peternip during the Battle Of Britain
and the plan of the Gremlin Leader to outlive humanity in an alternative Cold War
. It is the most obscure of Dahl's books, but still can be found in some libraries in the U.S and Britain.
This book contains the following tropes:
- Alternate History
- Apocalypse How: Long paragraphs are used to describe the atomic flash and shockwave, plus the sensation of burning.
- Artistic License - Nuclear Physics: Completely averted. Roald Dahl describes a nuclear blast in a suprisingly detailed and graphic way and how it "broiled" the protagonist alive. Also, he predicted the inventing of "dirty" neutron bombs.
- Crapsack World: If you are not a Gremlin after the shift.
- Decoy Protagonist: The humans.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The Gremlin leader finds out if there's no humans, no one can imagine Gremlins, and so they cease to exist. Poof.
- Expy: There is a charater named Stuffy who's completely an Expy of a character with the same name from Dahl's previous children-friendly Gremlin book, The Gremlins. It's the same with the other two protagonists: Peternip is Gus, Progboot is Jamface.
- Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke: In the book, there is a kind of virus that targeted only designated victims.
- Kill 'em All: See above. Roald Dahl had outdone Tomino!
- Mythology Gag: The main food of the gremlins are snozzberries. They are later referred in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and My Uncle Oswald. This word means "head of dick" in the latter.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Roald Dahl is in fact the first person to suggest that radiation can make people mutate into zombies. Though he is Not Using the Z Word, just wrote that people became mad when they are exposed to radiation. Later, there are some virus developed to drive people mad and bite each other untill death.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: The Gremlin Leader did create a peaceful world without class, money or machinery among gremlins after there are no humans.
- Ur Example: First book to suggest humanity can end the world by themselves.
- Write Who You Know: Dahl himself had been a fighter pilot in the Second World War a few years earlier, though not a nuclear scientist or politician.