Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago

La Fin du Monde (The End of the World), is a 19th century science fiction novel about a comet colliding with the Earth, followed by several million years leading up to the gradual death of the planet. The book was written by French astronomer and author Camille Flammarion, first published in 1893, and adapted into to movie in 1931.

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The following original illustrations—engravings by several famous French artists—were scanned from the Hungarian edition (1897), and show us a very special future, imagined by the people living close to the turn of the century. You may find it surprising how many predictions came true.


The city of the future: A huge airship preparing for landing on a roof port. Lot of buildings have large rotating domes for observing the stars, streets are illuminated by electric lights.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Comet with devastating effects heading toward Earth.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago

Airships, winged aircraft fill the sky.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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A wireless message from Mars projected in front of a large group of scientists and politicians.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Busy scene of a rooftop airship port.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Means of travel: ships in the air and on water

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Large round screen for home entertainment. Control board is on the wall.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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We should all commute by air as of now.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Paris, the capital of France will became a megalopolis from Bordeaux to Narbonne. Note the several flappy winged airplanes in the smoke-filled air, the huge river cruiser in the right bottom corner, the multilevel bride, and the monorail tracks.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Romantic moment in a propeller driven, flappy winged aircraft.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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Lonely airship above the ruins of the human civilisation.

Illustration for article titled How an Apocalyptic Scifi Novel Imagined the Future 122 Years Ago
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