The Clock of the Centuries
THE CLOCK OF THE CENTURIES
by Albert Robida
adapted by Brian Stableford
cover by Yoz
"Since the Great Upheaval, everything, has been borne away by a vast backward movement. It is no longer the limitless Future that extends before us. In the Course of Time, the Future had a limit, and that limit has been reached. Today, it is the Past that we have before us, the immense, almost infinite Past that we are going to relive!"
Of all the authors who followed in the footsteps of Jules Verne, the most important was Albert Robida (1848-1926), a writer-artist who also became the founding father of science fiction illustration. Robida wrote and illustrated his own scientific anticipations, such as The Adventures of Saturnin Farandoul (1879), his masterpiece, The Twentieth Century (1883), and La Vie Électrique (1890).
The Clock of the Centuries, originally published in 1902, is notable as the first full-length literary account of time in reverse. In it, time starts running backwards, the dead come back to life and human society is thrown into utter chaos. It is more ambitious and adventurous in its speculative range and verve than its modern-day successors, Philip K. Dick's 1967 Counter-Clock World and Brian W. Aldiss's Cryptozoic.
This volume also includes Robida's novella Yesterday Now (1890), in which an 1890 scientist brings the Sun King Louis XIV and his court into the future for the Paris Universal Exposition.
- Yesterday Now (Jadis chez Aujourd'Hui, 1890)
- The Clock of the Centuries (L'horloge des siècles, 1902);
Introduction and Notes by Brian Stableford.