Did you hear about strange little book, written in 1892, that predicted such wonders as bullet trains, digital watches, television and women's liberation decades before those things came to pass?
The book leapt into news in early 2005 when a rare first edition sold at auction for more than $2,000.
The strangest thing about book is that it is not a work of science fiction, as we would generally understand term, nor some obscure tract of religious prophecy. Instead it's a novel about, of all things, golf.
Written by a 19th-century professional Scottish golfer named J. (or Jay) McCullough, about whom very little is known, Golf in Year 2000; or, What We Are Coming To also predicted advent of golf carts and international golf competitions.
Published under McCollough's pseudonym, J.A.C.K., book chronicles tale of a character named Alexander J. Gibson who falls into a near-comatose state on March 24, 1892. He awakens 108 years later (on March 25, 2000) into a world, where, among other things, women dress like men, run businesses and hold most of top government positions.
Gibson also learns, to his considerable delight, that women do all work in this evolved society while men play golf full time. Upon being informed of this fact, he cries out that it's "the dream of my former existence come true! I am, indeed, a lucky man to see it. ... The world is evidently getting things ship-shape. ... Oh, how I would like to wake up some of my old chums. I know a few who would appreciate arrangement."
But Gibson finds that his beloved golf has changed radically, too. He has to adjust to existence of driverless golf carts, golf clubs that automatically register their user's score and jackets that yell "Fore!" whenever golfer begins to swing. He finds jackets to be particularly grating, but it's rule at every club in Britain: you can't play unless you're wearing one.
He also gets to watch -- via a television-like device that works through an elaborate mirror arrangement -- a golf competition between Britain and United States, much like Ryder Cup (an event which did not begin until 1927).
And, he learns that wars have ceased, at least among European powers, because international disputes are now settled by ... golf matches.
One thing about golf hasn't changed, Gibson reflects following a round of golf in which he emerges victor--and has to listen to his defeated opponent grousing about bad luck. "The same old excuses, I thought. Among all those inventions, surely they might have got something new in that line."
The main character's adventures in year 2000 also include taking a ride in an underground tubular railway, which people familiarly call "tub," and reading about a new London-to-New York speed record of two hours and 32 minutes, which is achieved by a bullet-type train traveling beneath Atlantic Ocean.