In a thousand years people will live in America. They will travel upon airships to Europe to see the ruin of all. Everything will be ruined. The great cities of Europe will lay in waste. You could see Europe in its entirety in a week. There have been books written on the subject. The rivers will still be in the places they were, but civilization will be dust and ruin.
I used a photo from Chernobyl for this post because there weren’t any illustrations for this story that I could find.
Hans writes about airships which is rather interesting. This story was published in 1852, which is a time before airships, or so you would think. A Frenchman named Henri Giffard built a working airship in this very same year. Airships were a conceivable thing during Hans’ time, believe it or not. The airship couldn’t be controlled and was steam-powered, but it got lift-off. It worked. Hans must have heard about it and was inspired to write a story about the advance of technology.
This is odd coming from Hans. This is a post apocalyptic story. This isn’t necessarily something you would expect from Hans. Back in the day, Hans’ day, there weren’t really a lot of post apocalyptic stories floating around. Society hadn’t necessarily gotten to that point where people were imagining total destruction. Back around Hans’ day people were more or less tough. They were used to rebuilding everything if there was war or disaster. They put on their big girl panties and dealt with it. They were so much farther removed from technology than we are today.
Deeper into the story, this is about humanity. It’s about how we like to look at our pasts, but it’s also about how we like destruction. We don’t know what happened to Europe in Hans’ story, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to gawk at it. Look at those poor losers who decimated themselves with nuclear war, or what have you. We want to view the destruction and its aftermath. We can never fully comprehend destruction until we’ve actually lived it. That’s part of why the whole idea of viewing total destruction is so fascinating. What did the people do who were involved? What did it all look like afterward? That isn’t to say that it’s not morbid, because it kind of is, but it’s also human. It’s all really awful, but we can’t look away.
What else does Hans have up his sleeve?
Would you ride in an airship, not an airplane, but an airship?
What do you imagine could have turned Europe into a land of desolation?