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Written by Edward Bellamy in 1888, ''Looking Backward: 2000-1887'' was one of the first real Utopia novels in America. The author's brother Francis Bellamy wrote the Pledge of Allegiance. He also had the same political views (an interesting fact not mentioned in most histories).

The novel is about Julian West, a FishOutOfTemporalWater, who falls asleep in the year 1887 and wakes up in the year 2000, having slept for 113 years, three months and 11 days (a clever palindrome, 113311). When he awakes, he finds his country has undergone a (supposedly) bloodless socialist revolution. He proceeds to get lectured on how everything works for a majority of the book by the condescending Dr. Leete, who apparently doesn't do anything else. These lectures comprise entire chapters and discuss things like education, jobs, shopping and such in the year 2000, and how obviously better this utopia is than backward 1887.

Oh, and there's a cheap love story, as Leete's daughter is named Edith, as was Julian's former fiancée. Instant romance, just add water.

Whether it is actually a novel is debatable, as the elements that typically make up a story are underrepresented (aside from pure chapters of exposition). With no real conflict, ''Looking Backward'' actually comes off more as a socialist treatise with plot tacked on in order to make it sell more copies.

Available online at [[http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/624 Project Gutenberg]]. A sequel, ''Equality'' was published in 1897, fleshing out Bellamy's socialist utopia further with more chapter-length lectures on various subjects. Also [[http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7303 available online]].


* AllJustADream: {{Subverted}} by the ending. West thinks this is what happened when he returns to 1887, but it turns out the return itself, and not the rest of the novel, was a dream.
* AuthorTract: The entire book is essentially Bellamy's explanation of what he felt society should be like, with a minimal plot set around it.
* BombThrowingAnarchist: {{Discussed}} by Dr. Leete and Julian, the latter saying the anarchists in the late 1800s were actually subsidized by the capitalists to scare people off socialism from its association with terrorist violence. This was a big issue at the time the book was written in 1888. A year prior to this, for instance, four anarchists were hanged for conspiracy to murder police with a bomb in Chicago, though it's doubtful which (if any) actually did it (four others had also been convicted-one killed himself, the rest were pardoned).
%%* FishOutOfTemporalWater
%%* MrExposition: Dr. Leete.
* NoNameGiven: Dr. Leete's first name is never revealed.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler:Edith Bartlett is the great-grandmother of Edith Leete.]]
%%* RipVanWinkle
%%* TokenRomance
%%* TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture
* OutgrownSuchSillySuperstitions: {{Averted}}. In contrast to most socialist ideologies (Marxism most particularly), Bellamy's socialism was explicitly Christian based on his interpretation of the Bible, which his fictional society reflects. Bellamy and his brother were actually both Baptist ministers.
* StrawCharacter:
%%* {{Utopia}}
* TheVerse: The world is further explored with the sequel, ''Equality'', and various other authors of the time wrote spin-offs.
* WhatYearIsThis: {{Inverted}}. Dr. Leete asks Julian what year he fell asleep, which... startles him.
* {{Zeerust}}: In 2000, information is carried through a nationwide series of pneumatic tubes. "Radiotelephone" is used to broadcast music.