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Little things, too, amaze him: He no longer has to shave every day; instead, he brushes a miraculous preparation of some sort over his cheeks once a week and this is sufficient to keep down his beard. Similarly, he uses a hairbrush that keeps his hair at length of his choosing, so he never needs to visit barber (which is good, since barbers no longer exist).
The appeal of Golf in Year 2000 is perhaps stronger today than it was when it was first published. Golfing fans, as could be expected, enjoy it for its wry commentary on sport as practiced in 19th century and in "future" (our present) as imagined by a contemporary of H.G. Wells, who was also writing speculative fiction about things to come. General readers have fallen in love with it, too. Not only is it fun to go through it tallying up author McCullough's hits and misses on predictive front, book radiates a kind of Victorian charm that is reminiscent of a Sherlock Holmes story.
Now, world is rediscovering this little literary fantasy.
In January of 2005, news services reported that an American collector named James Espinola had paid $2,240 at auction for a rare first edition of Golf in Year 2000. Although Espinola is said to be in process of selling off his own huge collection of golf memorabilia, he was quoted as explaining that he can't resist buying occasional "odd thing" at auction--and this was one of those things.
The Edinburgh, Scotland, auction house of Lyon and Trumbull had guessed that book would fetch less than a quarter of what it ended up bringing. The auctioneers' golf specialist was quoted as saying that final price "took us a bit by surprise."
Although original editions of book are extremely rare, it has occasionally been reprinted in facsimile editions from time to time. No one thought to make it available to vast audiences of World Wide Web, though, until recently.
On February 26, 2005, a little over a month following news about auctioned first edition, Golf in Year 2000 made its Web debut at http://www.golf-in-the-year-2000.com. The full text of this odd and engaging book is finally available for anyone, anywhere to read--without charge.
At end of book, main character declares that he does not intend to wake up and find himself back in 1892 again, and that his amazing adventure was all a dream. "No, no; I'm in 2000, and in 2000 I mean to stay." Like him, tale of his adventure seems to have found a secure place in our time.
Steve Smith is a writer and editor currently living near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His most recent Web site projects include Golf In The Year 2000 (http://www.golf-in-the-year-2000.com) and Tops4Tennis (http://www.tops4tennis.com).