A Journey in Other Worlds by *the* John Jacob Aster IV (who knew?)

Before the Titanic sank in 1912, John Jacob Astor IV envisioned a future with maglev trains, a police force equipped with cameras, and an interconnected network of phones, solar power, wind power, and air travel.


Focusing on Richard Ayrault, a stockholder of the Terrestrial Axis Straightening Company, A Journey in Other Worlds takes readers across the solar system to Jupiter and Saturn. On Jupiter, Astor creates a fantastically outsize world of gushing volcanoes, crashing waterfalls, and otherworldly flora and fauna. In contrast, his Saturn is an introspective and philosophical land. ( January 27, 2015  Open Road Media –Free for now; only 99 cents otherwise)

HarperPerennial Classics* offers their own ebook version:

….Published in 1894, A Journey in Other Worlds is a fictional account of life in the year 2000, speculating about such outlandish things as solar power, space travel, and a worldwide telephone network. Seeking other habitable planets, the spaceship Callisto embarks on a tour of the solar system that takes it to Jupiter, a wilderness paradise, and Saturn, where secrets about the fate of man are revealed. Both wildly imaginative and oddly prescient, A Journey in Other Worlds gives remarkable insight into how the future was viewed at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Often dubbed “Jack Ass” in the press, John Jacob Astor IV (1864­–1912) was an American businessman, real estate builder, investor, inventor, writer, lieutenant colonel in the Spanish-American War, and a prominent member of the Astor family. He invented a bicycle brake and a pneumatic road-improver, helped develop a turbine engine, and built the Astoria Hotel. In 1898 he placed his yacht Nourmahal at the disposal of the U.S. government and equipped a mountain battery of artillery for use against the Spanish. He also ditched his first wife to marry a woman who was one year younger than his own son.

Here’s a biography of John the first:


June 30, 1865

John Jacob Astor (July 17, 1763 – March 29, 1848), born Johann Jakob Astor, was a German-born American businessman, merchant, fur trader, and investor who was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the United States. He was the creator of the first trust in America. He moved to England as a teenager, where he worked as a musical instrument manufacturer. Astor later went to the United States after the American Revolutionary War and built a fur-trading empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. In the early 19th century, he diversified into New York City real estate and later became a famed patron of the arts.

* HarperPerennial Classics “brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms… This pre-1923 publication has been converted from its original format for the Kindle and may contain an occasional defect from the original publication or from the conversion.”

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Journey in Other Worlds by *the* John Jacob Aster IV (who knew?)

  1. Susan Sloate says:

    Thanks for this, Carol! I find JJA an interesting guy–and was especially touched to read that among his last acts on the Titanic, he apparently went to the kennels below deck where the dogs were kept and released them all, to give them (he hoped) a chance to survive the sinking. Had no idea he had such interesting visions of the future!!


  2. carolkean says:

    Susan, what a great, “telling” detail!! There’s a short story in there, if you ever feel like writing it. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s