Paris in the Twentieth Century
Written in 1863, set a century later, rejected by publishers and forgotten in a safe for 125 years, Paris in the Twentieth Century works best as a jaw-dropping freak show of futuristic technology and culture. The author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days, Verne anticipates gas-run carriages, complex transportation systems, computers, fax machines, electric lights, even the waif look (the feminine ideal is ”long, lean, skinny, arid, fleshless…”). Stringing together such amazing forecasts is only a smidgen of this story, about a young poet facing the age-old question: Should he take a job crunching numbers or starve? Who cares, when he’s already living in our brave new world?