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    The Scarlet Empire

    The Scarlet Empire is a dystopian novel written by David MacLean Parry, a political satire first published in 1906. The book was one item in the major wave of utopian and dystopian literature that characterized the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. John Walker is a young American socialist, active and dedicated. Yet his personal poverty, and the slow progress of his cause, leave him despondent. In a fit of depression he decides on suicide by drowning: he hurls himself off "the long pier...called the Suicides' Promenade" at Coney Island. He loses consciousness—but is revived by a man in a strange diving suit; Walker at first mistakes him for a kind of fish/man. In fact, the man is a surgeon engaged in research; he explains to Walker that they are in Atlantis, at the bottom of the sea, and gives the American a cursory explanation of the nature of Atlantean society. (He cannot say much; Atlanteans are limited to a thousand words of speech per day, as measured by the "verbometers" they wear.) Socialist literature found in Walker's pockets suggests to the Atlantean authorities that Walker might be acceptable to their regime. (A few other Americans have penetrated to
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