|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||xviii + 298 pp.|
Owen Gregory (occasionally misidentified in secondary sources as "Gregory Owen") was a schools inspector for many years, was a deep thinking man and worried about many things including the state of the country.
Most of the book describes the fictional country of "Meccania," a nation in Central Europe with obvious resemblances to Germany: Meccania is surrounded by "Franconia" (France), "Luniland" (Britain), and "Lugrabia" (Russia). Meccania is a place where dissenters are sent to mental hospitals and concentration camps. The state maintains a eugenic breeding program, and commands its common citizens when to have children. All letters are censored, and all telephone conversations are monitored. All citizens wear the uniforms of their occupational classes. Among the very complex regulations of the Super-State are those regarding control of worker fatigue: if a given worker's calculated fatigue level is below average, he must work more hours until he is as tired as his compatriots.
The novel's frame story is set in the future (from the novel's perspective) year 1970. A young Chinese traveler named Ming Yuen-hwuy enters Meccania for a five-month stay. Ming's diary and notes describe his dreary and dehumanizing sojourn in a country where the militaristic government dominates social life. Meccania, a place of "perpetual propaganda...," presents the visitor with "an odd mixture of arrogance, xenophobia, over-punctiliousness, over-organization, chauvinism, and rigidity...." Ming is constantly observed by official guides. Ming provokes his state minders when he tries to find a newspaper; he gets into more trouble when the personal record he is required to keep does not match the records of his guides with perfect exactness.
Gregory even includes an eerie anticipation of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In his novel, Meccania and Lugrabria have an alliance—but when Lugrabia is reluctant to accept new treaty terms, the Meccanians threaten an air assault.
Meccania, the "most prophetic" work of its genre, "anticipates the petty social despotism of Stalinism as well as the corrupt militarism of Hitlerism."
- Owen Gregory, Meccania: The Super-State, London, Methuen, 1918.
- Ignatius Frederick Clarke, The Tale of the Future: From the Beginning to the Present Day, 2nd edition, London, Library Association, 1972; p. 42.
- Everett F. Bleiler with Richard Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years, Kent, OH, Kent State University Press, 1990; p. 301.
- Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, expanded edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987; pp. 233-7.