Episode 1: Invasion Fiction, William Le Queux, and Fake News

What is invasion fiction?

Who was the mysterious William Le Queux? Why did a group of famous British authors secretly meet at the outbreak of World War I? And what did “fake news” look like a century ago?


William Le Queux Invasion Fiction Illustration

Episode 1 of Words To That Effect explores the power of words and communication. William Le Queux, rarely read today, was in his time a hugely successful author of invasion fiction stories. Exploiting a public fascination and concern with Britain’s preparedness for a military invasion, he created sensational best-selling tales such as The Great War in England in 1897 and The Invasion of 1910. His work was part of a massively popular subgenre of literature known as invasion fiction. This subgenre, often also called future war fiction, began in the 1870s and proliferated right up until the First World War.

Joined this week by Dr. Ailise Bulfin, of Maynooth University, I examine the life of Le Queux and the connections between war, communication, and literature.


Guest Profile

Ailise Bulfin is the author of the forthcoming study, Gothic Invasions: Imperialism and Fin-de-Siècle Popular Fiction 1890-1914.

Her profile can be found here at academia.edu

For more on invasion fiction please visit The Invasion Network.

If this episode has whetted your appetite for more, The Invasion Network is holding an international workshop this September in Lancaster:

War of the Worlds: Transnational Fears of Invasion and Conflict 1870-1933.

More details are on the Invasion Network site.



Literature Mentioned

The Battle of Dorking, by George Tomkyns Chesney

The Invasion of 1910, by William Le Queux



Philip Coleman – listen here

Robert John Ardiff – listen here


Tracks (in order heard):

Robert John Ardiff – A Farewell Glass (The Fall EP)

Philip Coleman – Germinal (Invisible Ink)

Philip Coleman – Furiant II (Invisible Ink)

Robert John Ardiff – The Fall (The Fall EP)


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