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A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future

A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future by John Jacob Astor IV
By: (1864-1912)

A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future is a science fiction novel by John Jacob Astor IV, published in 1894. The book offers a fictional account of life in the year 2000. It contains abundant speculation about technological invention, including descriptions of a world-wide telephone network, solar power, air travel, space travel to the planets Saturn and Jupiter, and terraforming engineering projects — damming the Arctic Ocean, and adjusting the Earth’s axial tilt (by the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company). In Astor’s novel, the future United States is a multi-continental superpower. European nations have been taken over by socialist governments, which have sold most of their African colonies to the U.S.; and Canada, Mexico, and the countries of South America have requested annexation. Race conflict is a thing of the past, since the “dark elements” of the American hegemony have died out. Space travel is achieved by linking an airship to a comet. Jupiter proves to be a jungle world, with flesh-eating plants, vampire bats, giant snakes and mastodons, and flying lizards. The Americans discover a wealth of exploitable resources: iron, silver, gold, lead, copper, coal, and oil. Saturn, in contrast, is an ancient world of silent spirits. The spirit beings provide the explorers with foresight of their own deaths.

First Page:

HTML version by Dave Skalick.

[Illustration: The Callisto and the Comet.]

A JOURNEY IN OTHER WORLDS

A ROMANCE OF THE FUTURE

BY

JOHN JACOB ASTOR

with Ten Illustrations

PREFACE.

The protracted struggle between science and the classics appears to be drawing to a close, with victory about to perch on the banner of science, as a perusal of almost any university or college catalogue shows. While a limited knowledge of both Greek and Latin is important for the correct use of our own language, the amount till recently required, in my judgment, has been absurdly out of proportion to the intrinsic value of these branches, or perhaps more correctly roots, of study. The classics have been thoroughly and painfully threshed out, and it seems impossible that anything new can be unearthed. We may equal the performances of the past, but there is no opportunity to surpass them or produce anything original. Even the much vaunted "mental training" argument is beginning to pall; for would not anything equally difficult give as good developing results, while by learning a live matter we kill two birds with one stone? There can be no question that there are many forces and influences in Nature whose existence we as yet little more than suspect... Continue reading book >>


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