“The World in One Thousand Years” (short story) by Juza Unno
English Publication History: Science: Hopes & Fears [Volume 1: Selected Stories] (2018)
Original: Japanese (千年後の世界), 1976 (?)
Translated by J. D. Wisgo, 2018
Receipt: Free from the translator
Synopsis: Dr. Furuhata wakes from his cryogenic slumber after 1,000 years. Now in the year 3600, the doctor is eager to know what has become of the world. Soon, a female scientist by the name of Chita–also naked as the day she was born–joins the doctor. He’s amazed to learn of medical advances that can replace organs and extend life; further, the wonders of infinite energy supply, urban transportation, and planetary emigration continue to titillate him. Of all wondrous things invented, war still seems to be a human preoccupation.
Analysis: Science takes the forefront, again–just as with “The Theory of Planetary Colonization“–with the narrator’s glowing, unabashed awe of progress; however, more importantly, there’s another social indicator of progress that comes before all of the technology: Chita, the woman, is the Head of Archaeology at Khabarovsk College. This social stride in gender equality is played down, but it certainly starts the story of discovery with a curious slant. Compare this to the female journalist in “The Theory of Planetary Colonization” who was fooled into an interview and kidnapped, which shows her in the light of foolishness in contrast to the professor’s genius. That’s hardly the picture of gender equality presented in “The World in One Thousand Years”, which has a similar slant as the aforementioned story in that Venus is being colonized. Why, however, Chita is naked is never explained: a less inhibited society, a hygienic precaution to the doctor’s awakening, or simply a stab to stir male lust?
Review: Similar to “The Theory of Planetary Colonization,” this story is easily bisected two different ways: 1) the protagonist paired with a female counterpart and 2) moderate introduction to the story before an info dump. While the former story is more linear and exultant about progress with a cheeky surprise conclusion, the story at hand has a slightly deeper but unexplored hue of complexity, which could either be offhanded flamboyance or repressed creativity. Due to it not being explored more fully, this story will have a similar chunky feel to it as “The Theory of Planetary Colonization”. It might be interesting to see this story in chronological sequence to other stories to see if this theme of gender is more notable.