by Louis Boussenard
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by David Lecossu
"It was in 1886 that I went to sleep in the middle of the polar ice," said Monsieur Synthesis. "Before explaining to me how I came to find myself among you today, tell me in what year I've woken up."
"In the year 11,886," replies the singing voice of the gentleman in spectacles.
Louis Boussenard's two most memorable novels were The Secrets of Monsieur Synthesis (1888) and its sequel, Ten Thousand Years in a Block of Ice (1889). In the former, we are introduced to the title character, the eponymous "Monsieur Synthesis," a mad scientist who seeks to control the evolution of Man and modify the orbit of the Earth. In the second volume, Monsieur Synthesis wakes up from ten thousand years of hibernation in a future where Earth is now inhabited by the Cerebrals, little men gifted with huge mental powers, descended from the Chinese and the Africans.
Monsieur Synthesis remains an intriguing transitional link between the kind of exotic roman scientifique that Verne had just created and the kind that was about to be pioneered by H. G. Wells -- the eponymous character's attempt to play god by employing a method of accelerated evolution to produce a perfected human being being quite close in its imaginative spirit to Wells. Boussenard's depiction of future human evolution is more ambitious than anything that had previously been attempted in French literature.
Les Secrets de Monsieur Synthèse [The Secrets Of Mr. Synthesis] (1888)
Dix Mille Ans dans un Bloc de Glace [Ten Thousand Years In An Ice Block] (1889)
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.