''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 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 WorldWarTwo, 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 WorldWarTwo 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.