The Mirror of Present Events
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THE MIRROR OF PRESENT EVENTS
Ten French scientific romances by Georges de La Fouchardière, Henri Lanos, E.M. Laumann, Francois-Félix Nogaret, Jean Rameau & Régis Vombal
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Raphael Del Rosario
Its form became distinct. It was an enormous airship, a monstrous biplane of a type with which I was not yet familiar.
The Mirror of Present Events (1790) is an irreverent political allegory in which a Syracusan beauty, following Archimedes' death, offers her hand in marriage to the inventor who can produce the most innovative homage to the great man's mechanical genius. A series of suitors comes forward, each offering a mechanical device ostensibly more marvelous than the last.
Also included are an 1887collection of six futuristic stories by Jean Rameau featuring electric guns, automata and a striking vision of a future Paris in which people have become dependent on industrial pollution; The Immortal (1908) extrapolates the notion of immortality to a conclusion that might not be inevitable, but is no less symbolically dramatic; a hilarious 1910 feuilleton describing the career of an automaton racehorse; and L'Aerobagne 32 (1920), about a French engineer hired by a German company who discovers that its industrial operations are a cover for a rearmament scheme, and who refuses to surrender the formula for a new poison gas. He is then incarcerated in a vast airborne prison.
This is the fourteenth in a series of anthologies of exemplary texts in the evolution of the French genre of roman scientifique.
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.
The Mirror of Present Events; or, Beauty to the Highest Bidder by Francois-Félix Nogaret [Le Miroir des événemens actuels ou la Belle au plus offrant] (1790)
Future Mores by Jean Rameau [Moeurs futures, excerpted from Fantasmagories: Histoires rapides] (1887)
The Transportation of Forces by Jean Rameau (ditto)
A Poisoning in the Twenty-First Century by Jean Rameau (ditto)
Future Art by Jean Rameau (ditto)
The Mannequin-Man by Jean Rameau (ditto)
Electric Life by Jean Rameau (ditto)
The Immortal by Régis Vombal [L'Immortel] (1908)
The Galloping Machine by Georges de La Fouchardière [Le Machine à galoper] (1910)
Aerobagne 32 by E. M. Laumann and Henri Lanos [L'Aérobagne 32] (1923)