THE AUTOMATIC MAID-OF-ALL-WORK. A POSSIBLE TALE OF THE NEAR FUTURE (1893) – Written by female author M.L. Campbell. Obviously I shortened the title for my blog post headline. Balladeer’s Blog’s look at “ancient” science fiction continues with this 1893 robot story.
Well-to-do John Matheson and his wife are having a hard time keeping a maid. To satisfy his hard to please wife, the inventor works away in his laboratory/ workshop to perfect his new idea: a mechanized “Maid-Of-All-Work” hoping this will solve the domestic staff issue. Continue reading
THE QUEEN OF APPALACHIA (1901) – Written by Joe H. Borders. This novel features Paul Thornton, a merchant in Kentucky, and his Lost World adventures. While hiking in the wilderness Paul saves a beautiful woman from drowning. The woman is, coincidentally enough, utterly identical to Paul’s girlfriend May Arnold.
The rescued woman says she is Olivet, the Queen of a subterranean land called Appalachia. Several generations earlier, Kentucky pioneers were driven into hiding in a cave to escape hostile Native Americans. The cave was part of an entire network of subterranean tunnels which extend around the world.
A large mass of electricity provides light and heat and “revolves” in time to the Earth’s revolution to approximate day and night in the underground realm called Appalachia by the pioneers. Gold and diamonds are plentiful in Appalachia. Continue reading
BABYLON ELECTRIFIED (1888) – Written by Albert Bleunard. In the tradition of his fellow Frenchman, Jules Verne, Bleunard crafted this work of science fiction with an international cast.
British magnate Sir James Badger wants to reestablish old trade routes leading from Europe eastward through Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf. He and his associates plan a railroad but lack of coal in sufficient quantities seems to be a project-killer.
Jack Adams, one of Badger’s colleagues, recommends the new invention of a French electrical engineer and inventor named Cornille. This inventor has designed a method of generating electricity from sunlight aka solar power. He agrees to let his technology be used to construct an electric train for the railroad project.
Things get underway, with hydroelectric dams built in the mountains of Kurdistan and wind plus tidal power-stations set up in the Persian Gulf. Cornille’s solar tech will be used for the overwhelming majority of the territory to be covered. Continue reading
LOOKING FORWARD: A DREAM OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1999 (1899) – Written by Arthur Bird. This is speculative science fiction looking at world events and scientific advances from 1899 to 1999. Since the U.S. was coming off the 1898 war with Spain that accounts for the way Spain is presented as the major villain on the global scene.
In 1912 Mexico became part of the United States followed by Peru in 1920, Canada in 1930 and by 1935 the U.S. consists of the entire Western Hemisphere. Mexico City – now renamed Washington – has become the new capital of the expanded United States.
America and Great Britain retain their “special relationship” and in this book’s depiction of 1999 the U.K. is ruled by King Alexander II. Britain never lost its old colonies and in fact drove the French, Germans, Belgians and Spanish out of Africa to absorb the entire continent.
France itself was annexed as a German province after losing wars to Germany in 1907 and 1935. Russia conquered China and now rules all of Asia, while Spain – the epitome of evil in this book’s view – has been reduced to a war-torn wasteland following a World War. Continue reading
BIETIGHEIM (1886) – Published anonymously in 1886 this work of alternate history accurately predicted some of the actual results and fallout of the coming First World War (1914-1918). Bietigheim is presented as a series of John Minor lectures about world history as seen from “futuristic” 1932.
First off, a summary of the book’s accurate predictions:
a) Tensions between Germany and assorted other nations cause a war that sweeps up many of the Great Powers as well as several other countries.
b) American entry into the war proves decisive.
c) The German side loses the war.
d) The old European monarchies fall.
e) In the wake of Germany’s defeat a popular figure arises and rallies millions to him with his plans for the future of Europe and Russia.
Just before the 1890 outbreak of the war Germany and France are pushing their claims to Alsace-Lorraine, Italy is demanding Austria turn over portions of northern Italy, Great Britain and Russia are clashing over preeminence in India and Afghanistan, plus the Slavic nations are feuding with the Ottoman Muslim Turks over their own future and control of the Dardanelles. Continue reading
THE STRANGE MANUSCRIPT BY _________ M.D. (1881) -Written by Alexander Pitts Bettersworth. The mock author, an M.D. who remains anonymous, upon learning that a comet will strike the Earth in 1883, stores supplies in Mammoth Cave with the help of his black servant Josh. With most of humanity dismissing the threat as a hoax or a mistake, the only other people who join them in the cave are a young woman named Ida and her black servant Chloe.
The foursome survive the collision with the comet as well as the intense heat which causes some of the rock interior of the cave to melt. When the entrance to the cave indicates that the air temperature has cooled sufficiently the two couples – now romantically involved – venture forth to see what is left of our planet. Continue reading