Review: Science Fiction Short Story: "In the Year 2889" attributed to Jules Verne
This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a small price.
This is not a particularly remarkable story as far as plot goes, but offers an interesting view of the distant future from the not-so distant past. It takes place, as the title states, in the year 2889. The main character, Fritz Napoleon Smith, runs the newspaper, the Earth Chronicle . Not a print journal, it is sent to subscribers by telephone. If a subscriber is not in the mood to listen to the news at that particular moment, he can record it by phonograph.
Of course, as everyone knows, that greatest service to mankind was done about 100 years before the action of the story when Joseph Jackson invented accumulaters, those wonderful instruments that condense and absorb “the life-giving force contained in the sun’s rays, the electricity stored in our globe, the electricity coming from whatever source, waterfall, a stream, the winds, etc.“ He also invented a transformer, which takes the stored energy in the accumulater and gives it back in the desired form: heat, light, electricity, or mechanical force.
People travel by airships. Fritz, in the United States, is able to converse with his wife, who is in Paris, and see her by way of a “mirror.” He gets irritated when she’s late for “breakfast” which takes place in the middle of the day when she is delayed at her hat maker’s. Apparently, 1000 years in the future, Paris is still the hub of the fashion world.
There is humor, too, as the newspaperman has political clout way beyond his due. Great Britain is now a colony of America.
This is a fun little story, not to be taken too seriously, and it is interesting to see the futurism of 120 years ago.
The title causes a great deal of confusion. This story has nothing to do with a 1967 movie of the same name. The story, though attributed to Jules Verne, was actually written by his son, Michel Verne. Verne then used the idea for his own story, “La journée d'un journaliste américain en 2890” (“A Day in the Life of an American Journalist in 2890”) with the title changed so the date of publication would be 1000 years before the date of the story. See? Clear as mud. But a cute little read.
Title: “In the Year 2889” first published in English The Forum Feb. 1889
*Author: attributed to Jules Verne (1828-1905) actually written by Verne’s son, Michel Verne (1861-1925)
© 2015 Denise Longrie
An earlier version of this review was posted on another site. It has been removed and is no longer visible there or anywhere else. It has been alter, expanded and updated for its inclusion in PP.
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/galaxy-barred-spiral-galaxy-10994/ by WikiImages