The Millennium, by Upton Sinclair


Orthodox Herbertarian

Upton Sinclair's The Millennium is by most definitions not really science fiction. To most it is a semi-autobiographical propaganda tool that Sinclair used to advocate for his own version of socialism and communal lifestyle. But since it's also a future history that relies on a few technological changes, and is dotted with examples of far-out technology, it has found a home here in my SF reviews. Penned originally in 1907 as a four-act play after a fire destroyed the Sinclair's communal home (Helicon Hall, which created a great scandal during its year of operation) into which Sinclair had plowed the entirety of the fortunes he earned from the publication of The Jungle, The Millennium: A Comedy of the Year 2000 resounds these days as the final sputtering words of a great social reformer as he began his long, long slide into obscurity and ridicule. Simultaneously idealistic and absurd in tone, it is a very typical socialist propaganda piece in that it only shows what is wrong with everyone else's way of life, and never bothers to explain how the happy little socialists who live in their worker's paradise deal with the problems that always seem to crop up behind their own walls, such as apathy, laziness and greed. The 1924 rewrite - the version I read for this review - went quickly, and although it managed to draw me in for the day it took me to complete, I can't say that it would have been able to recapture my attention had I had to put it down for more than an hour or two...Please click here, or on the book cover above, to be taken to the complete review.