Back in 1889 Sir Julius Vogel prophesied women presidents, prime ministers, and leaders of the opposition. He advocated social welfare and state housing, and foresaw a "noiseless telegraph." So far so good.
His Anno Domini 2000 or Woman’s destiny is a mix of melodrama and utopia, thriller and science fiction and above all a book with a message. As a novel it is dated and clunky, with cardboard characters. The narrative is constantly interrupted by long-winded discursions on finance and politics.
This book is worth reading, not for its silly plot, but as an insight into the mind of a nineteenth century Prime Minister of New Zealand. His “feminism” before there was a feminist movement, his “social welfare ideology” long before there was a Labour Party, go hand in hand with a naïve adoration for a lasting British Empire, an Empire which re-absorbs the dissolved United States of America!
Though his name is associated with a Science Fiction award, do not expect a SF novel…
Reviewed by Anneke a Campo.
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