Get 50% off Catholic Books & eBooks

Discover the Next Tolkien & O'Connor

Join Here for FREE to Never Miss a Deal

Find new favorites & Support Catholic Authors


Science Fiction, Dystopia, Classic Literature



Author’s Worldview


Year Published

1907 (Voyage Comics edition: 2023)


Church vs World; end of the world; priests; popes; hedonism; socialism; communism; ideological colonization; Pope Francis


Reviewed by

Courtney Guest Kim

You may be curious to read this novel because Pope Francis has publicly endorsed it at least four times, and before him, Pope Benedict XVI referred to it. Considering that Pope Francis tends to be portrayed as aligning with trends in Western culture, you may be intrigued to discover that his favorite novel is a grim dystopia that depicts a Church entrenched in a last stand against a hegemonic combination of Western hedonism and socialism. You can probably recoup the cost of the book by betting your friends that they will never guess when it was written. With the new cover art and illustrations by Voyage Comics, this past-future alternative universe cuts too close to home for most people to get the correct answer: 1907.

Published a generation before Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), and nearly two generations before Orwell’s 1984 (1949), Lord Of The World is just as creepily prescient. Its protagonist has a greater depth of interiority as compared to those novels. The interactions between the characters are more realistic. And its plot is more suspenseful. How is it, then, that no one has heard of it, except for a couple of popes?

The glaring answer is that the protagonist of this novel is a priest. Its author, Robert Hugh Benson, was an Anglican minister whose father had been Archbishop of Canterbury. After his father’s death, Benson became Catholic, was ordained a priest, and wrote several novels. Whereas Huxley and Orwell describe a future in which Christianity has been edited out, Benson describes a confrontation between an embattled Church and a hostile Western secularism that has achieved world domination.

Two fascinating characters are a perfectly nice couple who will remind you of lots of people you know. They are pleasant, successful, attractive, and there’s really nothing wrong with them except that they identify so completely with the trending ideology that they simply cannot call into question anything that is considered normal, even when the consequences are—well, I don’t want to spoil the momentous plot twists.

Without spoilers, I can describe one aspect of Benson’s vision that is very much a reality today. In his dystopia, euthanasia has become the normal way to end a human life as soon as age or illness has put someone beyond fixing. Benson perceived that, if euthanasia is the appropriate solution for intractable physical illness, it should also logically be the solution for psychological distress: exactly the line of thought that Canada has been following. His description of a high-class suicide clinic to which respectable people can go to end their lives in comfort reads like a blueprint for current day Swiss suicide tourism. Benson takes the next logical step and describes the scene of an accident where the people who come rushing to help are not paramedics attempting to save lives but euthanizers whose job is to dispatch the wounded—painlessly, of course. Benson’s insight is that when a hedonistic culture makes pain the worst evil and socialist politics subsumes the individual to the collective, death really is the logical solution to any intractable problem.

Lord Of The World is a gripping read, fascinating at many levels. It is certainly not a feel-good story, but it will appeal to anyone who is interested in the relations between the Church and the world over the past century and into today. It is especially insightful in its examination of the interplay between rejection of faith at the individual level and official suppression of the Church by authoritative institutions. As Philip Kosloski’s Preface makes clear, discussing Pope Francis’s numerous public references to this novel, Lord Of The World illustrates the all too relevant phenomenon of ideological colonization.

Get Catholic Books & eBooks for as little as $1 to FREE

Where to begin with Dorothy L. Sayers?

A Detective novelist who believes in conscience, and in the reality of redemption.

Through the Ashes by Jacqueline Brown

Fans of The 100 and Runaway’s and The Gifted will find this YA story riveting.

Heaven’s Hunter By Marie C. Keiser

A man-hunt across space that forever changes both the criminal and the detective.

August & September New Book Releases

Step into Fall with a Good Book

Revelation by Flannery O’Connor

Flannery O’Connor takes us into the mental experience of one of those people Jesus condemned.

Unclaimed, Nameless, & Vanished by Erin McCole Cupp

Jane Eyre re-imaginged in a world where cloning, and genetic manipulation have returned us to a class system.

Our Lady of the Artilects by Andrew Gillsmith

Robots, Souls, Muslim & Catholic Friendships, and the sacramental reality that binds them all together.

Old Man & The Void by Karina Fabian

When Dex decides to catch the treasure of a century, he is pulled into a black hole and must fight the robotic ghosts of an alien war.

Medal Knight Vol 1 by Voyage Comics

A young inventor in the 1920’s finds out his patrons intend to use his robots for crime. To fight back he becomes a hero inspired by the miraculous medal.

Where to begin with J. R. R. Tolkien?

Beyond the adventure, the way to read The Lord of the Rings is not as an allegory but as a meditation on the human Story we are each caught up in, and in which we each have our part to play, our temptations to resist, and our task to accomplish.

Mandy Lamb and the Full Moon By Corinna Turner 

A human-sheep hybrid’s friendships with a friendly vampire and a very angsty house-wolf are tested in this story that explores nature versus nurture. 

Best of 2020

Yes some good things DID happen this year- Catholic creators have not let turmoil stop their mission.

Gevaudan Project

This fun monster story takes themes of God, man, and environmentalism to places deeper than any newsroom can go.

Silence by Shusaku Endo

The story that introduced faith to one of the most secular nations on Earth

Pink Noise by Leonid Korogodski

A classic Martian adventure that plumbs the spiritual life of a future humanity.

Three Reformers: Luther, Descartes, Rousseau by Jacques Maritain

Reaching back to a forgotten era of integrated Christian philosophy, Maritain retrieves concepts that could solve the dissolution of postmodern society.

Breach! by Corinna Turner

Isaiah’s got a T-rex size problem, but this time, it’s not a dinosaur.

Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor

An intimate window into the mind of a great artist and honest Christian

A Truly Raptor-ous Welcome by Corinna Turner

There’s no such thing as a normal day on a dino-farm. But can Darryl and Harry’s new city-slicker stepmom make it through the first day without fainting?

Discovery by Karina Fabian

What happens when a team of sisters join a treasure hunt for the first alien ship? Oddly enough, a lot of hilarity.