The imaginary wars in this collection of sixteen stories, extensively illustrated with carefully chosen contemporary drawings, are powerful reminiscences of dominant expectations as these were perceived and projected during a fateful period of history.
This selection of short stories offers a return journey through the future as it used to be. Time speeds backwards to the 1870s—to the alpha point of modern futuristic fiction—the opening years of that enchanted period before the First World War when Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and many able writers delighted readers from Sydney to Seattle with their most original revelations of things-to-come. In all their anticipations, the dominant factor was the recognition that the new industrial societies would continue to evolve in obedience to the rate of change. One major event that caused all to think furiously about the future was the Franco-German War of 1870. The new weapons and the new methods of army organization had shown that the conduct of warfare was changing; and, in response to that perception of change, a new form of fiction took on the task of describing the conduct of the war-to-come.