These gorgeous illustrations from the late nineteenth century reveal what people imagined air combat would be like in the future. It's pretty spectacular — and weirdly prescient, too.

These illustrations come from the novels The Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror and its sequel Olga Romanoff (also known as The Syren of the Skies). Written by George Griffith, they're a mix of Jules Verne's works and the invasion literature of George Tomkyns Chesney. They tell a story that begins in 1903 with a young scientist named Richard Arnold, who invents a flying machine (in the same year that the Flyer I was created by Wright brothers!). The machine later becomes the tool of a group of Anarchist, Socialist and Nihilist terrorists named the Brotherhood of Freedom to defeat Capitalism.

But the books couldn't be this awesome without the illustrations of Fred T. Jane (John Frederick Thomas Jane). Both books are available to download in various formats here and here.

A Tale of the Coming Terror:

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Olga Romanoff

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