Upgrade to a better browser, please.

Search Worlds Without End

Advanced Search
Search Terms:
Locus SF
Locus F
Locus FN
Aurealis SF
Aurealis F
Aurealis H
Locus YA
Red Tentacle
Golden Tentacle
All Awards
Date Range:  to 

Search Results Returned:  3

Looking Backward, from the Year 2000

Julian West: Book 1

Mack Reynolds

A reprise of Edward Bellamy's classic Utopian novel, displaying Reynolds ideas about the politics and economics of an energy-affluent society

Looking Backward, 2000-1887

Looking Backward: Book 1

Edward Bellamy

Originally published in 1888, this prophetic work revolves around Julian West, a man who falls asleep near the end of the 19th century and wakes up in the year 2000. More than a brilliant visionary's view of the future, it is a guidebook that has stimulated some of the greatest thinkers of the modern age.


Looking Backward: Book 2

Edward Bellamy

The story takes up immediately after the events of Looking Backward with the main characters from the first novel, Julian West, Doctor Leete, and his daughter Edith.

West tells his nightmare of return to the 19th century to Edith, who is sympathetic. West's citizenship in the new America is recognized, and he goes to the bank to obtain his own account, or "credit card," from which he can draw his equal share of the national product. He learns that Edith and her mother do not normally wear the long skirts he has seen them in (they had been wearing them so as not to offend his 19th century sensibilities): when Julian tells Edith that he would not be shocked to see them dressed in the modern fashion, Edith immediately runs into the house and comes out dressed in a pants suit. Clothing has revolutionised and is now made of strengthened paper, recycled when dirty, and replaced at very little cost (shoes and dishes are made of variations on the same substance).

Julian learns that women are free to compete in many of the same trades as men; the manager of the paper factory he visits with Edith is a woman. Edith herself is in the second year of the three year general labor period required of everyone before choosing a trade, but has taken leave to spend time with Julian. The two tour a tenement house, in which no one now lives, kept as a reminder of the evils of private capitalism.

Julian opens his safe (a device unknown in 2000 outside museums). Dr. Leete sees his mortgages and securities not as long-obsolete claims to ownership interest in things, but rather in people and their labor. The papers are worthless except as antiques, as most papers of the sort were burned at the conclusion of the economic transition, in a great blaze on the former site of the New York Stock Exchange. The gold coins in the safe are admired for their prettiness, but are also worthless.

Julian learns more about the world of the year 2000. Handwriting has been virtually replaced by phonograph records, and jewelry is no longer used, since jewels are now worthless. Julian is amazed by a television-like device, called the electroscope. World communication is simplified, since everyone now speaks a universal language in addition to their native tongue. Not only are there motor cars, but also private air cars. Everyone is now vegetarian, and the thought of eating meat is looked upon with revulsion.

The book concludes with an almost uninterrupted series of lectures from Dr. Leete and other characters, mostly concerning how the idyllic state in which West has arrived was achieved.