The World as it Shall Be, by Emile Souvestre, is a historical curiosity that deserves to be better known. This is the first complete English edition of ''Le Monde Tel Qu'Il Sera,'' a satirical look into the future first published in Paris in 1845-46.
Through a series of biting vignettes, accompanied by his own illustrations, Souvestre (1806-54) scores points against the naive utopians of his own day by recounting the follies of the self-absorbed citizens of the Republic of United Interests in the year 3000.
The New York Times
More than just a curiosity, this 1847 proto-sf French novel, here translated into English for the first time, may well be the first modern dystopia. A young, idealistic couple is put to sleep in the 19th century, magically to reawaken in the year 3000, a time when predatory capitalism, brutal self-interest, impersonal bureaucracy, and a craven celebrity culture have utterly triumphed over human feeling, compassion, and community. Each chapter somewhat mechanically presents an overview of a different aspect of future life, e.g., government, law, economics, religion, art, and child rearing. While steam power and the newly invented telegraph still dominate communication, work, and travel, the author amusingly anticipates, among many things, submarines, department stores, cable news, and even branded bottled water. With comic illustrations and a helpful introduction and notes from noted sf historian I.F. Clarke, the novel itself offers a clear critique of the seemingly mindless ideology of a necessarily benevolent progress as well as a rather moralistic and, at times, obscure satire of 1840s France. For most academic libraries and public libraries where interest warrants.-Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.