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The Novel of the Future

by Félix Bodin
adapted by Brian Stableford

Short Stories
Le roman de l'avenir, here translated as The Novel of the Future, was first published in 1834. Although the book attracted little attention at the time, it was solidly established within the canon of landmark works in the prehistory of science fiction by a glowing report in Pierre Versins' Encyclopédie de l'utopie et de la science fiction (1972). It subsequently became the climactic work considered in Paul Alkon's study of The Origins of Futuristic Fiction (1987).

As an image of life in the second half of 20th century--the era in which its action is set--Le roman de l'avenir scores higher in its anticipations of moral progress than technological progress. Writing in 1834, Bodin is easily able to anticipate the increasing importance of steam power in shipping, railways and all kinds of manufacturing processes. His anticipations of the future of aerial travel are, inevitably, solely based on his experience of balloons; he is able to imagine dirigible aerostats propelled by artificial wing-power. He is on safer ground in anticipating the further decline of monarchical power, a corresponding increase in democracy, the increasing importance of joint-stock companies and the eventual globalization of world politics. His conviction that it will not be easy to put an end to war, even after the last major global-political issue has been apparently settled for good and all, also proved sadly justified, although he would surely have been horrified by the extent to which warfare remained a familiar and ever-present method of settling disputes throughout the 20th century...

Cover by Stephan Martiniere

Published by Black Coat Press in 2008
ISBN: 978-1-934543-44-3

The Brian Stableford Website