The Man of the Year Million

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Wells, H. G. "The Man of the Year Million." 1893. The H.G. Wells Scrapbook. Peter Haining, editor. NP: Clarkson N. Potter, 1978: p. 28. Rpt. as short story, Apeman, Spaceman: Anthropological Science Fiction. Harry Harrison and Leon E. Stover, editors. New York City: Doubleday, 1968: pp. 121-26.[1] As an essay: Pall Mall Gazette 57.8931 (6 November 1893): p. 3; as "The Man of the Year Million: A Scientific Forecast", uncredited — <OpenPublishing.PSU.edu>; see Internet Speculative Fiction Database for bibliographic details, including a translation into German.[2]


Described by John J. Pierce as "A facetious essay on the evolution of mankind, it proposes 'that much that is purely "animal" about him is being, and must be, beyond all question, suppressed in his ultimate development.' The last men will look rather like tadpoles, with enormous brains and atrophied bodies, living in nutrient baths far underground." Pierce also suggests this work (along with — just possibly — "A Story of the Days to Come"[3] and Mark Hillegas's suggestion of A Modern Utopia) as a possible goad for E. M. Foster's important story, "The Machine Stops" (e-post to SFRA ListServ 22 May 2021).

See for an underworld at least somewhat mechanized and a variation on the theme of "a brain in a vat."[4][5]



RDE, finishing, 23May21, with thanks to J.J. Pierce