By in Sci Fi & Paranormal

Review: Science Fiction Short Story: "In the Year 2889" attributed to Jules Verne

This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a small price.

This is not a particularly remarkable story as far as plot goes, but offers an interesting view of the distant future from the not-so distant past. It takes place, as the title states, in the year 2889. The main character, Fritz Napoleon Smith, runs the newspaper, the Earth Chronicle . Not a print journal, it is sent to subscribers by telephone. If a subscriber is not in the mood to listen to the news at that particular moment, he can record it by phonograph.

Of course, as everyone knows, that greatest service to mankind was done about 100 years before the action of the story when Joseph Jackson invented accumulaters, those wonderful instruments that condense and absorb “the life-giving force contained in the sun’s rays, the electricity stored in our globe, the electricity coming from whatever source, waterfall, a stream, the winds, etc.“ He also invented a transformer, which takes the stored energy in the accumulater and gives it back in the desired form: heat, light, electricity, or mechanical force.

People travel by airships. Fritz, in the United States, is able to converse with his wife, who is in Paris, and see her by way of a “mirror.” He gets irritated when she’s late for “breakfast” which takes place in the middle of the day when she is delayed at her hat maker’s. Apparently, 1000 years in the future, Paris is still the hub of the fashion world.

There is humor, too, as the newspaperman has political clout way beyond his due. Great Britain is now a colony of America.

This is a fun little story, not to be taken too seriously, and it is interesting to see the futurism of 120 years ago.

The title causes a great deal of confusion. This story has nothing to do with a 1967 movie of the same name. The story, though attributed to Jules Verne, was actually written by his son, Michel Verne. Verne then used the idea for his own story, “La journée d'un journaliste américain en 2890” (“A Day in the Life of an American Journalist in 2890”) with the title changed so the date of publication would be 1000 years before the date of the story. See? Clear as mud. But a cute little read.


Title: “In the Year 2889” first published in English The Forum Feb. 1889

*Author: attributed to Jules Verne (1828-1905) actually written by Verne’s son, Michel Verne (1861-1925)




© 2015 Denise Longrie


An earlier version of this review was posted on another site. It has been removed and is no longer visible there or anywhere else. It has been alter, expanded and updated for its inclusion in PP.

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Alexandoy wrote on March 25, 2015, 8:09 PM

It looks like another nuclear holocaust setting. I love sci-fi stories, especially short stories more than novels. I used to buy Analog magazine when it was available here.

msiduri wrote on March 25, 2015, 10:01 PM

Oh, no, not at all. It is an advanced, flourishing civilization.

CalmGemini wrote on March 26, 2015, 1:32 AM

Okay, not really a sci-fiction story,with a clear cut plot. But an easy read. Not going into a debate about who the author is.It is really wonderful how the author has pictured the progress made in 1000 years.But most of then have come true in almost in just above 100 years, I think.But it is funny that the news comes through telephones which shows pictures also. And the women! Mrs.Fritz is a wife,who visits Paris and shops for hats.THAT does not seem to change in 1000 years?

msiduri wrote on March 26, 2015, 10:15 AM

No, the whole secure energy thing with the solar energy captured in the "accumulaters" and being able to convert it into heat or light or mechanical energy was pretty futuristic. And wouldn't that be grand? It was funny thinking that a powerful newspaperman ran politics, too Or that Great Britain was colony of the U.S. And rich women still shop for hat in Paris and are late for dates with their husbands!

crowntower wrote on March 26, 2015, 3:21 PM

I think that is cool and a little scary though... I am wondering how do the oldies felt when they are talking of the technologies that w are having right now. For me the scary effect are the wrong values and easy access to violence sites and porno sites that destruct the world today. But reading your post, I just hope there is no more worst effect than we have here right now. God bless... and specially I hope there is no bad effect to the surroundings globally.