An Afternoon’s Nap by Aurelia Hadley Mohl

Alternate title: Five Hundred Years Ahead

Published: 2013 in Rayguns Over Texas, but originally published in 1865

Genre: time travel short story

Setting: 1865 Texas, and then 2365

Interest: I was provided a copy of the anthology and I’m slowly reviewing all the stories in it. This story was included in the anthology because it is one of the first science fiction stories written by a Texan.

Summary: Mr. John Langschlaf, a bit of a curmudgeon, lays down to take a nap in his garden, and wakes up 500 years later. He’s amazed by all the changes to society, and how wonderful and easy everything has become. Turns out the little boy who disturbed his nap was Progress, and Progress let him see (as in a dream) what he could accomplish.

Final thoughts: I delight in reading what people of 100 years ago or more thought the future would look like. In this case, the author was optimistic and decided in the future, no one would really have to work (just direct the robots) and you could get from one place to another very rapidly if you wanted, or take a more scenic trip if that was your cup of tea. Everything was run off of an invisible substance in the aether, and everyone spent their time learning and making beautiful things. The story didn’t escape from 1800s racism – all the blacks were sent to their own colony, where they were much happier off by themselves and all the white people could stay on Earth in peace.

Title comes from: The main character laid down for an afternoon nap and woke up 500 years in the future.

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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