“A Vision of Judgement” is a short story by the English author H. G. Wells (1866–1946), first published in the September 1899 edition of The ButterflyLiterary magazine published from 1893 until 1900, with a gap from 1894 to 1899. magazine and subsequently reprinted in The Country of the Blind and Other StoriesCollection of 33 short stories by H. G. Wells, first published in 1911. (1911). On the Biblical day of judgement all of mankind is summoned into the presence of God, each to give an account of their lives. God then shakes them out of his sleeve onto a different planet, in “new clean bodies”.
The narrator is woken in his grave by the sound of the Last Trump, which jerks him from his resting place “like a hooked minnow”. Glancing briefly at his monument, he is disappointed to see that it is “rather a mean little affair”. All around him he sees every human being who has ever lived. An angel is holding a book containing everyone’s names, and each in turn is asked to account for their lives before God, and then their own account is compared with what is recorded in the angel’s book.
Each person’s interview ends with them rushing up God’s sleeve in embarrassment, as the “the shadow of their illusions” about what they had done with their lives is exposed. After everyone has been judged, God shakes out his sleeve and dumps “the enlightened souls of men in new clean bodies” on a planet orbiting Sirius, with the words “now that you understand me and each other a little better … try again”.
- H. G. Wells bibliographyList of publications written by H. G. Wells during the more than fifty years of his literary career.
- Full text of “A Vision of Judgement” at Project Gutenberg