Paris in the Twentieth Centuryby Jules Verne, Eugen Weber, Richard Howard
THE LITERARY DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY
In 1863 Jules Verne, famed author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, wrote a novel that his literary agent deemed too farfetched to be published. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson found the handwritten, never-before published manuscript in a safe. That manuscript was Paris
THE LITERARY DISCOVERY OF THE CENTURY
In 1863 Jules Verne, famed author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, wrote a novel that his literary agent deemed too farfetched to be published. More than one hundred years later, his great-grandson found the handwritten, never-before published manuscript in a safe. That manuscript was Paris in the Twentieth Century, an astonishingly prophetic view into the future by one of the most renowned science fiction writers of our time . . .
Asimov's Science Fiction
- Random House Publishing Group
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- 5.13(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.56(d)
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This has to be one of my top 5 books of all time. I have always enjoyed Verne after my 5th grade teacher had us read Around the World in 80 Days. I remember the discovery of this manuscript in the 1990s and the publication in English in 1996. I bought the book then, but failed to read it for many years. I guess I didn't have much faith that it would be good--just somewhat interesting that it took so long to be published. I found the book among things left at my parent's house before they sold it (15 years later) and finally got around to reading it. Many people make quite a to-do about how this book prophesies everything from the common use of everything from automobiles and electric trains to fax machine--but that Verne's publisher said it was too unbelievable. But I think that the true genius is that Verne laments the future disregard of the humanities. We see today, as in the book, the almost total abandonment of art and literature in the name of almighty technology and business. My favorite part is when the main character goes into a huge bookstore and asks for the complete works of VIctor Hugo. The clerk asks: "what's he written?". The clerk is so perplexed, he asks another employee for help, and this one stands there contemplating: "You sure of the name?...Rhugo, Rhugo." It reminds me so keenly of a real life situation when I went to a college bookstore looking for something to read. I asked an employee where the general reading section was, and she had no idea what I was talking about. This is the Paris in the Twentieth Century that I love--the warning of a futuristic dystopia that is here now--a world even where old masterpieces are re-written and dumbed down for modern theater-goers. Hollywood anyone?
Despite the many arguments naming Jules Verne¿s novel as a complete disappointment for lack of character development and a monotonous storyline, the tale is as dystopic as Sci-Fi can get. The story revolves around Michel, a young man who struggles in a mechanical world built strictly upon the sciences in 1960¿s Paris. He struggles with his love of the arts and inability to assimilate with the robotic society.Interestingly is how Verne chose not any rural town, but a recognizable urban city designed for change and the acceptance of technology. Furthermore, the fact that Verne predicted a variety of technological inventions from the electric chair to the metro system, trains that function on air pressure to fax machines should astound the reader to realize that these items were completely unheard of in Verne¿s time! Verne¿s publisher¿s decision to keep the story away from publication was an absolute mistake, the fact that Verne¿s prophecies were on track with future innovations leads me to believe that these technologies could have been foreseen years ago.
This is the worst book ever, it is gloriously depressing. It has the worst ending in the history of books, I can see why no one published this for Jules Verne. The only good thing about this book it the way Jules Depicted the gadgets of the 20th century. Do Not Read this book, unless you wnat to be horribly depressed. Cheers.
I have read all of the other Verne books and loved them. I hated this one and can see why Verne never published it.
this book is really excellent i really enjoyed reading it. because one day the world will be like that. our end is the same. the machines are going to take over there will be no need for humans, or poets or anything involving art.