Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tomorrow when the republic comes

M. Barnard Eldershaw was the pseudonym used by the twentieth century Australian literary collaborators Marjorie Barnard and Flora Eldershaw

Their final collaborative novel, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, published in 1947 as Tomorrow and Tomorrow, is considered to be one of Australia's major early science fiction novels and was highly regarded by Australia's only Nobel Prize winner for literature, Patrick White. It is set in the 24th century and features Knarf (a novelist and historian whose name is an inversion of Frank Dalby Davison's first name).

The book is essentially a story-within-a-story, with much of it comprising an historical novel, written by the character Knarf, about "old" Australia from 1924-1946. This story is basically an alternative history of an Australian socialist republic from the 1920s on flowing from a revolution during the First World War. It was, however, censored for political reasons at the time: the censors demanded that 400 lines be cut, including references to National Security regulations and how they contradicted the democratic principles for which the war was supposedly being fought.