Daniel Salvo just got in touch to let us know of a fascinating new blog post about a lost Peruvian SF novel: Lima From Now to 100 Years, by Julián Manuel de Portillo:
When thinking about science fiction origins, it seems indisputable to admit that its pioneers were Jules Verne (1828-1905) and H.G. Wells (1866-1946), whose works of literature would also inspire the first science fiction movie A trip to the moon (1902), from George Méliès.
However, in recent years, it has been revealed that a Peruvian was ahead them, publishing between the years 1843 and 1844 a science fiction novel called Lima from now to 100 years (Lima de aquí a cien años).
In 1943, Artur and his friend Carlos del A. come back to reality, from where a genie, who paralyzed their existence, took them out for a century. Artur, in Lima; Carlos, in Cusco. Astonished, they find out that England, once a world power, has been wiped out and that Peru, country they left plunged into civil wars, is now a highly developed country. They tell each other all these events through letters, which are forwarded through airships that daily fly from Lima to Cusco (actually, since 1840, balloons could already be seen in Lima but a flight to Cusco was still impossible).
Besides, both cities have suffered from severe changes. For example, El Callao doesn’t exist anymore and the port of Lima is now at Monserrate while in Cusco they have being built a great 3 kilometer high and 225 floor pyramid and a library with 12 million books. Without mentioning the tunnel that starts from Arequipa, passes under a volcano, and gets to the pyramid inside.
That is the universe of Lima from now to 100 years. It is believed that its author, Julián Manuel de Portillo (1818-1862), was 25 years old when the newspaper El Comercio published his work in installments. Little is known about his personal life, though the most outstanding thing is that he was a congressman during the government of Castilla, between 1855 and 1857, and even more interesting, that he was a member of the Peruvian Grand Lodge.