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Jan 21, 2005 3:05 am

Pardon My Fore! ...

On 24 March 1892, a Scotch golfer by the name of Alexander J. Gibson fell into a deep sleep. He didn't wake up until 25 March 2000. The world into which he woke was transformed by flat-screened television, bullet trains, women's liberation, digital watches, and a world of leisure for golf. At least, that's the story told in Golf in the Year 2000; or What We Are Coming To. The Victorian science fiction novel was written by Jay McCullough in 1892 and published under the pseudonym J.A.C.K. The rare book is being auctioned off in Scotland. Actually, McCullough's version of an under-the-ocean bullet train that reduced travel time between New York and London to three hours was a little optimistic and his notion of women's liberation that has women taking over men's jobs and, thus, freeing them to spend their leisure at golf seems, well, a little less than liberating. The Scotsman's own version of what McCullough got right about the future and what he got wrong is itself a little quaint:

• Flat-screen television
• Bullet trains
• Mini digital watches
• Driverless golf carts
• Unisex clothing
• Women in men's jobs
• International golf competitions


• Control of the weather to ensure good sporting conditions
• The exchange of dinner dress for scarlet breeches
• A society of leisure where people work less than ever
• Parliament half female (currently 18 per cent)
• A world obsessed by golf

Thanks to MobyLives for the tip.

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Steve Smith - 3/9/2005

I've put the complete text of this book online. Anyone who wants to can read it for free now. Go to

Jonathan Dresner - 1/21/2005

"Driverless Golf Carts"? I want one of those for my morning commute.

And as a non-golfer, I'd have to put "A world obsessed by golf" in the "got it right" column. But I live someplace where real estate values have a lot to do with golf course design trends.