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A Journey in Other Worlds: A Romance of the Future (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – November 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Bison Frontiers of Imagination
  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803259492
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803259492
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,386,317 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

What did our ancestors dream of when they gazed up at the stars and looked beyond the present? Wildly imaginative but grounded in reasoned scientific speculation, A Journey in Other Worlds races far ahead of the nineteenth century to imagine what life would be like in the year 2000. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, Earth is effectively a corporate technocracy, with big businesses using incredible advances in science to improve life on the planet as a whole. Seeking other planets habitable for the growing human population, the spaceship Callisto, powered by an antigravitational force known as apergy, embarks on a momentous tour of the solar system. Jupiter proves to be a wilderness paradise, full of threatening beasts and landscapes of inspired beauty, where the explorers must fight for their lives. Dangers less tangible but equally deadly await the Callisto crew on Saturn, which yields profound secrets about their fate and the ultimate destiny of man! kind.

Thoughtful, adventurous, and replete with a dazzling array of futuristic devices, A Journey in Other Worlds is a classic, unforgettable story of utopias and humankind’s restless exploration of the stars.

About the Author

John Jacob Astor (1864–1912) was one of the wealthiest men in the world and an inventor of such devices as the pneumatic walkway, a bicycle brake, a flying machine, and an internal combustion engine. He died on the doomed Titanic voyage. S. M. Stirling is the author of such novels as Island in the Sea of Time, The Peshawar Lancers, Conquistador, and The Domination.

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Customer Reviews

2.6 out of 5 stars
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We wanted to get an idea of how JJA thought and expressed himself in writing.
Victoria Olson
Astor's prose is often overwrought, but he does occasionally carve a gem out of the mass of ore he dumps on the reader.
Sarah Stegall
Then, they're off to Jupiter and its moons, all of which have environments rather like a Victorian garden.
wiredweird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert O. Adair on November 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful 19th century science fiction classic, well reasoned and very imaginative. The Bison Frontiers of Imagination Series has done a marvelous job of reprinting science fiction and fantasy classics, many from the 19th century which most people are not aware of. Prior to the advent of Amazing Stories (1926) there was a lot of Science Fiction published in general fiction magazines and books. but not in specialized magazines. Despite scattered, earlier antecedents, science fiction really took shape in the 19th century. It was a confluence of many types of writing: the adventure story, romantic fiction, social satire and the Utopia and dystopian writing of the past such as Thomas More's Utopia. Consequently it was often short on action and superficial as to character. Similarly its audience was usually very much interested in scientific speculation such as how could we actually figure out a way to get to another planet. This could interrupt whatever action or plot there was for many pages of flat out scientific discussion, something which put off the general reader and confounded literary critics who knew nothing of science and interpreted ten pages of basic principles of Chemistry and Physics as some sort of goofyism.

We can see this in John Jacob Astor's classic. He was a man with a good Liberal Arts education who was also a successful inventor ( a moving walkway, road building equipment, an internal combustion engine, a bicycle brake, etc.). Col. John Jacob Astor IV (1864-1912) had seen military service in the Spanish American War. He was the author of this successful heroic fiction as well as having met his end in a truly heroic manner, standing quietly, unflinchingly on the deck of the sinking Titanic, watching his wife whom he had helped into the lifeboat, sailing away.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
You may want to compare this to Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward", which was published in the 1890s. Both books looked forward a hundred years to 2000. Each author gave his vision of the future. Astor imbues this book with a somewhat polemical slant. [As indeed did Bellamy in his.] The result is a book that may not be the most gripping of reading by current standards, but which still gives insight into a mindset of that era.

The contrast between the two books is reflected in Astor being a successful inventor. No doubt this gave him a very rosy tinged worldview, unlike Bellamy's socialist leanings. And that is the value of these two books considered as a pair. One uses the dominant value system of its time, the agressive capitalism, and the other speaks forth from the resultant opposite.

Interesting to see Steve Stirling edit this book. He has done good research for his science fiction novels, and perhaps that led him to this, long obscure text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Miami Napoleonphile on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just finished this book. It is a study in 19th century thinking and lifestyle. The book has many wrong conclusions about the future but it is curious how many things it got correct. In order for any sciende fiction story to work there must be suspension of belief.....after all in Stark Trek all the aliens speak English and have two hands and two legs....it is when those elements are accepted by the reader that the story can be told. In "A Journey In Other Worlds" we must accept the limited understanding of what the 19th century understood as space travel before we can judge the story. We now know that the craft as described would never survive in space and we know enough about the outter planets to discard the possibility of mastodons on Saturn or flying lizards on Jupiter.

The story is written from the point of view of one of the richest men in the closing years of the 19th century and so his concept of "exploration" is basically a space safari. There is some scientific work done by the crew of the Calypso but all three men are very keen to shoot first and explore later.

One thing I found highly interesting in the story is the melding of science and religion. While the explorers are on Earth and in the first leg of their journey it is clearly a scientific endevour. Man is seen as master of nature drying up the Florida Everglades, communicating across vast distances and even shifting the tilt of the planet in order to make the deserts bloom and remove the harshness of the seasons. Man can do it all.

On their arrival on Saturn the story changes from man's glories to man's challenges and the ringged plannet is seen as the next challenge, the undiscoverd country which will serve as humanity's new home.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Stegall on April 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I think John Jacob Astor IV would have been fascinated by the machine that killed him. One hundred years ago, the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic after being struck by an iceberg. Many people know that Astor was one of the victims, but most do not know that he was also the world's wealthiest science fiction author, in addition to being a real estate tycoon, military officer, and leading social figure. He held several patents and helped develop steam turbines. As an inventor, he would certainly have been impressed by the reciprocating steam engines of the ship he died on, not to mention the Parsons turbine that drove the propeller. There is no record of his touring the ship, but had he asked for one, he'd have gotten the red-carpet treatment. I can imagine JJ (as he was called) deep in conversation with Titanic's designer, Thomas Andrews, in a haze of cigar smoke and whiskey.

Such a scene could come right out of the pages of Astor's novel, A Journey in Other Worlds, which purports to be a story of interplanetary exploration in the year 2000, but which reads more like a catalog of future technological achievements. As with many 19th century "scientific romances", the emphasis is on the ideas, not the story or the characters. A large percentage of the novel consists of members of the white male elite standing around telling one another things they would normally know anyway, in classic "As you know, Bob" dialogue. When they aren't telling one another the diameter of Jupiter, they make speeches to faceless crowds or recite the "history" of the (white) race up to the year 2000, all of it in the most glowing, optimistic terms an educated imperialist can devise.
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