Entry updated 11 August 2018. Tagged: Author.
Probable pseudonym of US soldier and editor Nathaniel King (1767-1848), author of the book-length narrative poem, The United Worlds, a Poem, in Fifty Seven Books (1834), an ambitious secular Utopia set in a Symmes-style Hollow Earth located mostly beneath America; Symmes is mentioned in the text. Though it moves rapidly into the Near Future, the action begins in 1820, as an American expedition, exploring the clement seas around the North Pole, gains access to the world Underground, which is inhabited by a Lost Race descended from Noah. These Subterraneans have constructed a Technology-driven but pacific democracy, with steam-driven Transportation and with most heavy labour done by "androides", who physically resemble humans (see Androids); the seat of government, Golden City, is located directly beneath New York, which is a sink of iniquity (for Urban Fantasy, which instances many examples featuring similar contrasts between the above and the below, though normally with the moral polarity reversed, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below). After the Subterraneans have been converted to Christianity, they attempt to bring peace to the vying nations on the surface of the world, but this generates widespread War in parts east of America. The Subterraneans' refusal to join in the combat is seen as weakness, and a vast Invasion of the world underground almost succeeds in destroying the wise converts; but, in direct contrast to the fate of most societies who suffer discovery in nineteenth century fiction (see Imperialism), they fight back so successfully that the peoples of the surface are converted to peace. As the nineteenth century comes to a close, the despots of the world are left to kill each other off alone.
The United Worlds was copyrighted in King's name. Its obscurity for almost two centuries may have been due to its being written as a verse epic. [JC]
General Nathaniel King
born Armenia, Madison County, New York: 26 December 1767
died Hamilton, Madison County, New York: 25 July 1848
- The United Worlds, a Poem, in Fifty Seven Books (Hamilton, New York: Printed for the Proprietor, 1834) [poem: hb/nonpictorial]
about the author
- L W Currey and Robert Eldridge, editors. The Development of the Fantastic Tradition Through 1870 in Fiction and Verse (Elizabethtown, New York: L W Currey, Inc, 2012) [nonfiction: annotated catalogue: #39: pb/uncredited]
previous versions of this entry