Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Worlds Collide was a 1951 science fiction film that speaks to today's world of climate refugees and future polar cities for survivors of global warming in the year 2500

When Worlds Collide is a 1951 science fiction film based on the 1932 novel co-written by Philip Gordon Wylie and Edwin Balmer. The film was the 1951 Academy Award for special effects.

Producer George Pál considered making a sequel based on the novel After Worlds Collide, but the box office failure of his 1955 movie titled Conquest of Space made it impossible.

The 1951 movie still speaks to us today. It could be seen as presaging our current concerns about climate refugees in a future world beset by runaway global warming....\

Rent the DVD if you have chance. It's a great movie. 1951. Who knew?


Anonymous said...

After Worlds Collide

After Worlds Collide (1934) was a sequel to the 1933 science fiction novel, When Worlds Collide, both of which were co-written by Philip Gordon Wylie and Edwin Balmer. After Worlds Collide first appeared as a six-part monthly serial (November 1933–April 1934) in Blue Book magazine. Much shorter and refreshingly less florid than the original novel, this one tells the story of the survivors' progress on their new world, Bronson Beta, after the destruction of the Earth.

Anonymous said...


The United States and several other countries were able to construct and launch space Arks before the Earth was destroyed by a collision with Bronson Alpha, a rogue planet that had entered the solar system months earlier. A French ship malfunctioned shortly after liftoff and crashed. Both American ships survived the voyage to the companion body, Bronson Beta, though they were separated and each unaware of any other successful arrivals. The two American ships' personnel are finally reunited nearly half way into the book. Bronson Alpha destroys Earth and moves out into deep space again, while Bronson Beta swings into what seems to be a stable, but eccentric, orbit around the sun.

Early in the story, the survivors of Hendron's own smaller Ark took stock of their situation, and set out to establish a colony, already aware of the hint of a previous civilization: a road. Tony Drake and another associate scout out for suitable farmland, which is put to use, but during their return journey, following the alien road, the two men come across a vehicle. After a mysterious disease passes through the camp, killing two colonists, Hendron forbids exploration, but some of the colonists defy him and strike out, bringing back wood from a distant forest. That night, an aircraft passes near the camp, beating a hasty retreat when it notices the campfire of wood.

Tony's former manservant, Kyto, explains he found a piece of paper blowing in the wind, and it reveals that a group arrived from Earth that intended to establish a "soviet", and they were made up of Germans, Russians and Japanese.

At Hendron's order, an exploratory aircraft is built from remnants of the Ark and its rockets, and Tony Drake sets off with writer Eliot James. They follow the road and discover a domed city. These are the remains of a native civilization, whose builders were essentially humanoid and had considerably higher technology than humanity (though it didn't enable them to survive the freezing of their world).

They explore it for three days, then fly south and discover a search light beaming up in the dark. They discover it is the second Ark from Hendron's encampment on Earth, that it had a disastrous landing, but make a joyous reunion with its commander, Dave Ransdell. Ransdell's camp also saw a mysterious aircraft, long enough to see it had "lark's wings".

Tony and Ransdell fly back to Hendron's camp, finding that Hendron is visibly deteriorating in health and mind. Tony is jealous that Ransdell apparently will become the new leader, and also have Eve, Hendron's daughter, as his wife. Eve, acting as Hendron's regent, dispatches Tony to the Ransdell camp to deliver a radio, and the first signal received is that the Hendron camp has suffered some sort of attack. Tony and one of Ransdell's men return to the Hendron camp to investigate: everyone is lying on the ground.

Anonymous said...


They discover everyone is alive, after all, but drugged; they give the doctor antidotes, then hear an aircraft approaching. Assuming a "dead" sprawl, they watch the aircraft pass over: the men inside have Slavic features, and have evidently begun a takeover attempt. The aircraft leaves, the doctor responds to the antidotes, and Tony prepares the weapon emplacements - rocket tubes from the Ark - to defend. An armada arrives soon afterward and is totally obliterated by the Hendron camp's weapons. The people gradually wake up; the other camp reports they are okay. Hendron hands command to Tony, and Ransdell is relieved by that choice. Tony decides they'll occupy one of the alien cities, not the one they found but a different one shown on a diagram to exist close by; they follow the road there.

During the trip, they encounter an alien automobile driven by a British woman; she explains that a British ship also made it over from Earth but landed in a lake; they were found the next day by the "Dominion of Asian Realists" group, which Hendron nicknamed "Midianites", and enslaved. The Midianites' society is like an ant farm, the colony being all important and the people nothing, but the top rulers live luxuriously.

The alien city is occupied and the tractors leave at once for Ransdell's camp to bring its people to the city, which Tony names Hendron, because Hendron died just as the convoy came into view of the city. Hendron is buried the next day. The scientists manage, with the Briton's help, to figure out how to charge batteries and operate machinery, and they also find hangars of the lark aircraft; some are armed and used for air defence.

Meanwhile, the planet is approaching aphelion, and nobody is entirely certain the planet is in a stable orbit around the sun. The weather is getting colder, and one night, the Midianites disconnect the power supply to the city of Hendron's people. One member of Hendron's group seems to defect to the Midianites, while four others land in a city on the other side of the Midianites' city, and attempt to reach the Midianite city by an underground service tunnel's high-speed car. They are unsuccessful, but the female defector kills the Midianite leader, defeats his key people, and allows the British to take control. In short order, the story ends quite abruptly.

The Dominion is defeated, and the victorious American/British coalition settles into the domed cities, discussing a form of government that the former Midianites now seem resigned to living under. While challenges still exist, their immediate needs for shelter, energy, and food are taken care of. The story ends on an optimistic note with a reference to the first pregnancy among the colonists, Eve's and Tony's, and the confirmation that they have passed aphelion and are now definitely locked into orbit around the old Earth's sun.


When Worlds Collide is a 1933 science fiction novel co-written by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer; It was first published as a six-part monthly serial (September 1932-February 1933) in Blue Book magazine, illustrated by Joseph Franké.



Sven Bronson, a South African astronomer, discovers that a pair of rogue planets, Bronson Alpha and Bronson Beta, will soon enter the solar system. The larger one, Alpha, will pass close enough to cause catastrophic damage. Eight months later, after swinging around the Sun, Alpha will return to pulverize the Earth and leave. It is believed that Bronson Beta will remain and assume a stable orbit.

Scientists led by Cole Hendron work desperately to build ships to transport enough people, animals and equipment to Bronson Beta in an attempt to save the human race. Governments are skeptical, but the scientists persist and develop the technology necessary for the spacecraft, which are built in various countries. Nations including the United States evacuate their coastal regions in preparation for the Bronson bodies' first pass. Tides reach heights of hundreds of meters, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes take their deadly toll, and the weather runs wild for more than two days. As a token of things to come, Bronson Alpha's first pass takes out the Moon.

The isolated Hendron camp manages to build two ships which take off together with all of the survivors of the camp (after beating off an attack from refugees desperate to escape). One ship makes a successful landing, but without radio contact with any other ships, the crew members assume that only they made it across. They find that Beta is habitable and that there are traces of a native civilization wiped out when, millions of years before, the planet was torn away from its sun.

Anonymous said...

When Worlds Collide is a 1933 science fiction novel co-written Adaptations and influences

When Worlds Collide had far-reaching influences on the science fiction genre. The themes of an approaching planet threatening the Earth, and an athletic hero and his girlfriend traveling to the new planet by rocket, were used by writer Alex Raymond in his 1934 comic strip Flash Gordon. The 1938-1941 strip Speed Spaulding was more directly based on the novel. The themes of escape from a doomed planet to a habitable one also can be seen in Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's 1938 comic Superman.

The novel was also adapted as the 1951 film When Worlds Collide, produced by George Pal and directed by Rudolph Mate. The film inspired Deep Impact.[1] Another film adaptation is scheduled for release in 2010 by DreamWorks, directed by Stephen Sommers.[2]

In the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show the very first song ("Science Fiction, Double Feature") refers to the film.


Philip Gordon Wylie

(May 12, 1902 – October 25, 1971)

Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when Philip was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University from 1920–1923. He married Sally Ondek, and had one child, Karen. Karen married Taylor Alderdyce Pryor, who became a Hawaii state senator. Karen became an author, founder of Sea Life Park in Hawaii, and inventor of animal "clicker" training. After a divorce from Sally Ondek, Philip Wylie married Frederica Ballard who was born and raised in Rushford, New York; they are both buried in Rushford.

A writer of fiction and nonfiction, his output included hundreds of short stories, articles, serials, syndicated newspaper columns, novels, and works of social criticism. He also wrote screenplays while in Hollywood, was an editor for Farrar & Rinehart, served on the Dade County, Florida Defense Council, was a director of the Lerner Marine Laboratory, and at one time was an adviser to the chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee for Atomic Energy which led to the creation of the Atomic Energy Commission[1]. Most of his major writings contain critical, though often philosophical, views on man and society as a result of his studies and interest in psychology, biology, ethnology, and physics. Over nine movies were made from novels or stories by Wylie. He sold the rights for two others that were never produced.

His wide range of interests defies easy classification but his earliest books exercised great influence in twentieth-century science fiction pulp magazines and comic books:

Gladiator (1930) partially inspired the comic-book character Superman.
The Savage Gentleman (1932) may have had some inspiration on the pulp-fiction character Doc Savage.
When Worlds Collide (1933), co-written with Edwin Balmer, inspired Alex Raymond's comic strip Flash Gordon, as well as being adapted as a 1951 film by producer George Pal.
Writing as he did when less potent technology was available, he applied engineering principles and the scientific method quite broadly in his work. His novel The Disappearance (1951) is about what happens when everyone wakes up one day and finds that anyone of the opposite sex is missing (all the men have to get along without women, and vice versa). The book delves into the double standards between men and women that existed prior the woman's movement of the 1970s, exploring the nature of the relationship between men and women and the issues of women's rights and homosexuality. Many people at the time considered it as relevant to science fiction as his Experiment in Crime.


The story The Paradise Crater (1945) was cause for his house arrest by the federal government; it describes a post-WWII 1965 Nazi attempt to rule the world with atomic power.

His nonfiction book of essays, Generation of Vipers (1942), was a best-seller during the 1940s and inspired the term "Momism". Some people have accused Generation of Vipers of being misogynistic. The Disappearance shows his thinking on the subject is very complex. (His only child, Karen Wylie Pryor, is the author of a classic book for breastfeeding mothers, Nursing Your Baby, and has commented that her father was far from being a misogynist.) His novel of manners Finnley Wren was also highly regarded in its time.

He wrote 69 "Crunch and Des" stories, most of which appeared in the Saturday Evening Post,[2] about the adventures of Captain Crunch Adams, master of the charter boat Poseidon, which was the basis of a brief television series. His "Crunch and Des" stories were an apparent influence on John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books. In 1941 Wylie became Vice-President of the International Game Fish Association and for many years was responsible for writing IGFA rules and reviewing world record claims[3].

An article Wylie wrote in 1951 in The Saturday Evening Post entitled 'Anyone Can Raise Orchids' led to the popularization of this hobby - not just the rich, but gardeners of every economic level began experimenting with orchids[4]

In August 1963, his niece Janice Wylie was murdered, along with her roommate Emily Hoffert, in New York City. The crime, which became known as the "Career Girls Murder Case," was at that time the most expensive criminal investigation in New York's history. The case provided the inspiration for the television movie The Marcus-Nelson Murders, which led to the television series Kojak.

Philip Wylie died from a heart attack on October 25, 1971. Some of his papers, writings, and other possessions are in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library.

Anonymous said...

Most of his major writings contain critical, though often philosophical, views on man and society as a result of his studies and interest in psychology, biology, ethnology, and physics.


When Worlds Collide (2010 remake)

new version coming soon from Hollywood director Stephen Sommers

in preproduction now

release date: 2015?