Jules Verne predicted cars, fax machines and the internet

In a novel he wrote in 1863, entitled “Paris In The Twentieth Century,” science-fiction pioneer Jules Verne described a city with a network of electric lights, gas-powered automobiles, wind power, machines that transmit text and photos across long distances, high-speed trains that run on magnetic levitation, and computerized weapon systems. The central character of the story is Michel Dufrénoy, who graduates in 1960 with a major in literature and the classics, but finds they have been forgotten in a futuristic world where only business and technology are valued (he eventually dies after a famine and nuclear winter-style disaster wipes out most of France). Verne’s publisher refused to publish the book because he thought it was too dystopian and would ruin the author’s career, and the writer locked it in a safe, where it was forgotten until one of Verne’s great-grandsons found it. It was eventually published in 1994.

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