A 125-year old novel illustrates how people back then envisioned the future


5 years before the book release of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, Nicolas Camille Flammarion – the French astronomer and author, had published his La Fin du Monde (or ‘The End of the World’) novel (in 1893). The work was reproduced in many languages and even adapted to a film in 1931. The images we see here are of the Hungarian translation done in 1897 – which had a bevy of drawings done by famous French illustrators. In essence, the Steampunkesque pictures represent how people 125 years ago envisioned the future – a fascinating scope which has some hits-and-misses when perceived from our modern perspective.

Bleakness, airships and electric lights –


Comets hurling down towards ‘Terra’ –


Architects’ penchant for bulbous structures atop high rises –


Wireless 3D message from Mars?


Railway stations giving way to busy airports –


Total war is borne by both air and sea –


Browsing TV from a hospital bed –


Naval aircraft and ships –

Reminds us of a certain world war –


High technology and low ruins –


Finally, a romantic getaway close to the moon –


The article was originally published on our sister site HEXAPOLIS.

About the Author

Dattatreya Mandal
Dattatreya Mandal has a bachelor's degree in Architecture (and associated History of Architecture) and a fervent interest in History. Formerly, one of the co-owners of an online architectural digest, he is currently the founder/editor of Realmofhistory.com. The latter is envisaged as an online compendium that mirrors his enthusiasm for ancient history, military, mythology, and historical evolution of architecture.
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