The World as It Shall Be

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It’s the year 3000, and children are raised by steam machines, Switzerland has been converted into a theme park, and there are no fewer than 684 kinds of mental illness. With eccentric, dark humor, Émile Souvestre portrays a society dominated by mechanization and greed. However comically exaggerated, the unmistakable echoes of real problems and possibilities in Souvestre’s satire make this book science fiction’s earliest warning against the dangers of mechanization in a society ...
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Overview

It’s the year 3000, and children are raised by steam machines, Switzerland has been converted into a theme park, and there are no fewer than 684 kinds of mental illness. With eccentric, dark humor, Émile Souvestre portrays a society dominated by mechanization and greed. However comically exaggerated, the unmistakable echoes of real problems and possibilities in Souvestre’s satire make this book science fiction’s earliest warning against the dangers of mechanization in a society ruled by consumerism.

The World as It Shall Be was originally published in France in 1846—the first fully illustrated story in the history of future fiction. The satiric novel, with 87 charming illustrations, unfolds through the eyes of Maurice and Marthe, a young couple who are brought to the year 3000 by the spirit of the age, M. John Progrès. This first English translation includes all of the original art.

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Editorial Reviews

Gerald Jonas
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

Library Journal
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819566157
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Edition description: Trans. from the French
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

French novelist ÉMILE SOUVESTRE (1806–1854) was a well-known writer of his day. Noted British science fiction historian, I.F. CLARKE, and his wife MARGARET CLARKE have collaborated on various projects including The Last Man by Jean-Baptiste Cousin de Grainville (Wesleyan, 2002). He was Foundation Professor of English Studies at Strathclyde University, and she was Lecturer in English.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
The World as It Shall Be
Endnotes
Bibliography
About the Author Translator and Editor
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