William Delisle Hay

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William Delisle Hay (born ca. 1853, County Durham) was a nineteenth-century British author and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He was best known for his mycological studies,[1] writings on New Zealand, and a number of science fictional pulp novels, particularly the white supremacist and socialist "future fantasy" novel Three Hundred Years Hence, Or, A Voice from Posterity (1881).[2]

In his mycological writings, Hay observed a national superstition against "toadstools" in Britain, coining the term "fungophobia" to describe the prejudice.[3][4][5]

Hay's "The Doom of the Great City" is considered by some to be the "first modern tale of urban apocalypse",[2] and focused in part on the smogs of London, which had famously been so bad they had caused cattle to choke to death in 1873. Three Hundred Years Hence (not to be mistaken with an earlier novel of the same title, by Mary Griffith) was similarly told from a future earth in which humanity lived in domed cities, and posited a socialist world, in which white people had virtually eliminated all non-white people from the world.[6]



  • "The Doom of the Great City; Being the Narrative of a Survivor, Written A.D. 1942" (1880 short story)
  • Three Hundred Years Hence; Or, A Voice from Posterity (1881)[7]
  • Blood: A Tragic Tale (1888)


  • Brighter Britain!; Or, Settler and Maori in Northern New Zealand (1882) (available at Project Gutenberg)
  • The South Sea Islanders and the Queensland Labour Trade: a record of voyages and experiences in the western Pacific, from 1875 to 1891 (1893) (several copies available at the Internet Archive)
  • The Fungus-Hunter's Guide and Field Memorandum-Book (1887) (available at Google Books)
  • An Elementary Text-Book of British Fungi (1887) (available at Internet Archive)

Lectures and appearances[edit]

  • March 20, 1883, "Social and Commercial Aspects of New Zealand", Meetings of the Society: Foreign and Colonial Section[8]


  1. ^ Bassett, Troy J. (2015). "William Delisle Hay". At the Circulating Library: A Database of Victorian Fiction 1837-1901. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Beasley, Brett (2015-09-30). "Bad Air: Pollution, Sin, and Science Fiction in William Delisle Hay’s The Doom of the Great City (1880)". The Public Domain Review. 5 (18).
  3. ^ Hay, William Deslisle (1887). "An Elementary Text-Book of British Fungi". London, S. Sonnenschein, Lowrey. pp. 6–7. 
  4. ^ Arora, David (1986). Mushrooms Demystified, A Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi. Ten Speed Press. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-0-89815-169-5. 
  5. ^ Hunter, Jessica. "The Mushroom Hunt". Synergy Magazine. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  6. ^ Christine L. Corton, "London Fog: The Biography (2015), Chapter 3: "King Fog", p.93
  7. ^ Reviewed, Scientific American, v.45, n.2 (July 1881)
  8. ^ Journal of the Society of Arts, Jan. 5, 1883, Internet Archive
  9. ^ IPNI.  W.D.Hay. 

External links[edit]