Boek cover The Age Of Science van MERLIN NOSTRADAMUS (Onbekend)

The Age Of Science

A Newspaper Of The Twentieth Century

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Copyright Status: Public Domain
Category: Fiction, Science Fiction

Pseudonym of Irish author Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904) for The Age of Science: A Newspaper of the Twentieth Century (1877), a Satire purporting to replicate the New Year's Day issue of a 1977 newspaper, which reveals the world of a century hence to have become a Dystopia. Medicine, though much-advanced technology, has become a tool for the oppression of women (see Feminism); they are forbidden to read or write, and maybe institutionalized for mental disorders on the say-so of any medical doctor.

Cobbe's use of the Merlin Nostradamus pseudonym is confirmed in the biography Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer (2004) by Sally Mitchell. The general thrust of The Age of Science is echoed in some nonfiction published under her own name, in particular The Scientific Spirit of the Age and Other Pleas and Discussions (1888).

Table of Contents

The greatest discovery ever achieved by man is beyond all question that which it is now our privilege to announce, namely, that of the new PROSPECTIVE TELEGRAPH. By this truly wonderful invention (exquisitely simple in its machinery, yet of surpassing power) the obstacle of Time is as effectually conquered as that of Space has been for the last generation by the Electric Telegraph; and future years—even, it is anticipated, future centuries—will be made to respond to our call as promptly and completely as do now the uttermost parts of the earth wherewith the magic wire has placed us in communication.
For obvious reasons the particulars of this most marvelous invention and the name of its author must be withheld from the public till the patents are made out, and the enormous profits which must accrue from its application be secured to the Company which is invited to undertake to work it (with limited liability). We are only permitted by special favor to hint that the natural Force relied on to set the machinery in action is neither Electric, Magnetic, nor Galvanic; nor yet any combination of these; but that other great correlated imponderable agency, whose existence has been for some time suspected by many intelligent inquirers, called the Psychic Force, whose laws of action it has been reserved for this new and greater WHEATSTONE to develop and apply to practical utility. That no skepticism may linger in the minds of our readers, we desire to add that we have been gratified by the actual inspection of several short fragments forestalled by this invaluable process from the press of the next fifty, eighty, and one hundred and thirty years respectively; and have at this moment in our hands a complete transcript (the most important document of the series) of a newspaper bearing date January 1st, 1977, photographed in a very beautiful manner by the machine upon an enormous sheet of paper, which was found needful to contain the type in the most compressed form. As the printed matter of this gigantic periodical equals at least in bulk the whole of Gibbon’s History or Mr. Jowett’s edition of Plato, we cannot attempt to do more than offer our readers a few brief extracts, serving, however, we trust, as not inadequate samples of the literary treasures which are short to be revealed to our curiosity, and satisfying even the most incredulous that the invention of which we speak has been crowned with triumphant success. We have only to add that the great originator of this discovery entertains hopes that, by an ingenious inversion of the action of his machine, he may be able to convert it, when required, into a RETROSPECTIVE TELEGRAPH, bringing back the Past, as it already antedates the Future, and restoring to us all the records of antiquity whose loss we have deplored, as, for example, the Odes of Sappho, the missing Books of Livy, the Prometheus Unbound of Æschylus, and the original MSS. of the Vedas, the Zend Avesta, and the Pentateuch. The final completion of this latter discovery, however, is scarcely perfected, and we shall not, therefore, pause to describe its probable value, but proceed without further delay to put our readers in possession of all the details for which we can find space concerning the Newspaper of 1977, which has been very sagaciously selected by the inventor as the first fruits of the working of his Prospective Machine.
The name of this journal (which, we conclude, may be considered as the Times of the twentieth century) is
and obviously refers with pride to the consciousness of its readers that they live in a period of the world’s history when Science reigns supreme over human affairs, having achieved unimaginable triumphs, and altogether superseded most of the pursuits of mankind in ruder ages, such as War, the Chase, Literature, Art, and Religion. This appropriate title is printed, we may remark, in the largest and clearest possible Roman type, instead of in the Old English character now commonly used for a similar purpose. No fount, indeed, which we have ever seen employed, save in a few old Italian folio éditions de luxe, has typed so large and legible as that in which the whole newspaper is printed, the greatest care apparently being taken to spare the eyes—or perhaps we should say the spectacles—of the readers, since, judging from the opticians’ advertisements of “Spectacles for Infants,” “Spectacles for Elementary Schools by the gross,” and “Cautions to Mothers” against allowing babies to use their eyes, it would appear that unassisted vision had become rare, if not unknown. There are ten columns on each page, each ten times as long as it is broad, and there are a hundred pages in the journal, proving that the decimal system has been thoroughly adopted even in such details. Spread out open, the Age of Science would cover the floor of a very large hall, and we apprehend from certain marks that a convenient method of suspending it on pulleys from the ceiling, must have superseded our clumsy practice of holding our papers with extended arms.Source: Wikipedia

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