A novel published 122 years ago illustrates how people back then envisioned the future

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5 years before the book release of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, French astronomer and author Nicolas Camille Flammarion had published his La Fin du Monde (or ‘The End of the World’) novel in 1893. The work was reproduced into many languages and even adapted to a film in 1931. The images were see here are of the Hungarian translation done in 1897 – which had a bevy of drawings done by famous French illustrators. In essence, the Steampunk-esque pictures represent how people 122 years ago envisioned the future – a fascinating scope which has some hits-and-misses when perceived from our modern perspective.

Bleakness, airships and electric lights –

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Comets hurling down towards ‘Terra’ –

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Architects having penchant for bulbous structures atop high rises –

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Wireless 3D message from Mars?

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Railway stations giving way to busy airports –

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Total war borne by both air and sea –

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TV browsing in a hospital bed –

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Naval aircraft and ships –

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Reminds us of a certain world war –

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High technology and low ruins –

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Finally, a romantic getaway close to the moon –

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If interested, you can also give a gander at this post that shows how a modern artist envisions the future ahead of our contemporary times.

Via: Gizmodo

  • Anne N Emous

    This is from a novel? So… Surely, surely it’s how ONE person envisioned the future.

    At most, it’s how a few people envisioned it, if the artists’ illustrations weren’t inspired by the novel. Although, traditionally, illustrations in novels relate to the text.

    Plus, it’s a novel. Not every novel set in the future is a prediction. The entire first chapter of G.K. Chesterton’s The Napoleon of Notting Hill is making a joke about people who try to predict the future, then the rest of the novel is set in the future. It’s not a prediction, it’s just fiction.

    I don’t know this particular novel, so I’m not going to say for certain that it’s not a prediction, just that you can’t automatically claim that any fiction set in the future is a prediction by default, let alone that it accurately represents the general ideas of ALL people of the era it was written.

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