The Sir Julius Vogel Awards, New Zealand’s Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror awards, are named after Sir Julius Vogel, an early premier in New Zealand.
Earlier this month, London’s United Synagogue marked the life of Sir Julius Vogel as ‘‘a leading pioneer, advocate of universal suffrage and good community relations.” The service commemorated the 180th anniversary of Sir Julius’ birth and the 140th anniversary of his premiership.
The Otago Daily Times, which Vogel co-founded with W.H. Cutten, ran an article by Wellington writer Steven Sedley, examining the event and discussing Vogel’s novel Anno Domini 2000.
Sedley states, “In his retirement he [Vogel] wrote Anno Domini 2000: or Woman’s Destiny (1889), usually regarded as New Zealand’s first science fiction novel. … Vogel had a visionary imagination. He wrote about air cruisers, driven by engines … large irrigation schemes in the South Island, electricity as the prime source of domestic light and heat, hydro electricity as a major source of power.”
“In the novel, Hilda Fitzherbert, the member of Parliament for Dunedin in the imperial government, becomes a most influential politician, an adviser of the Emperor.”
“There is no limit to Vogel’s seemingly far-fetched ideas.”
The author also examines criticism of the day, including that of the Southland Times, which reviewed Vogel’s book as, “ridiculously improbable.’’
Many of Vogel’s “ridiculous” suggestions have come true. How many of today’s preposterous science fiction ideas will become tomorrow’s reality?
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