IN THE YEAR TEN THOUSAND (1890) – Written by Edgar Fawcett, this odd little work first appeared in the political and literary publication The Arena in February 1890. Fawcett authored some eccentric pieces like The New King Arthur: An Opera Without Music in 1885. In The Year Ten Thousand is written in verse and is in the form of dialogues. Some sources maintain the work was intended as a short play.
The story opens in 10,000 AD in the sprawling megalopolis called Manattia, where New York City and most of the surrounding area used to be. A pair of citizens in that future location discuss assorted aspects of history and the scientific changes which led to the state of their almost ideal society.
Electric airboats fill the skies and in the year 10,000 a typical family outing would include a weekend flight over the North Pole and back. Massive libraries like the one in Manattia contain 12 million books or more.
Oddly enough, the big buzz in the megalopolis that night is the anticipation surrounding the expected establishment of communication with Mars. So, in this work we still haven’t had a manned expedition to the Red Planet by 10,000 AD.
The Earth of the 19th Century is discussed scornfully over the way the rich oppressed the poor and because of the rampant lawlessness.
Socially, the future world has one planetary language and everyone works together in a sense of mutual enterprise. Science is revered for the trails it continues to blaze and fear of death has become a thing of the past. It is viewed in 10,000 AD as just another stage of existence.
There are a few good ideas in this unusual piece, but it’s not good drama and it’s not good poetry. The conversational approach makes it read like My Dinner With Andre: 10,000 AD. With this attempt at verse drama, Fawcett is no Maxwell Anderson and with this attempt at in-depth science fiction dialogues, he’s no Camille Flammarion.
FOR TEN MORE EXAMPLES OF ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/2014/03/03/ten-neglected-examples-of-ancient-science-fiction/
FOR WASHINGTON IRVING’S 1809 depiction of an invasion from the moon click here: https://glitternight.com/2014/05/05/ancient-science-fiction-the-men-of-the-moon-1809-by-washington-irving/
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