Looking back at Looking Backward

If you have never read Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 you really should. There are so many ways to savour its uniqueness that it just has to be sampled on one’s own. A man, for reasons explained in the book falls into deep sleep in Boston in 1887 and wakes up in the year 2000 into a socialist utopia, or at least as much of a utopia as could be imagined in 1887.

To get some sense of the book, there is this Looking backward at Edward Bellamy’s utopia written by the incomparable Martin Gardner in 2000.

Gardner is much too kind to the book. What I find so fascinating is that our reality today has so far transcended the best imaginable socialist universe that could be conjured in the nineteenth century. No one today would swap our reality for what had been seen as the near perfect world as it had once been conceived.