Albert Robida (1848–1926), a French illustrator and writer, might be less well-known today had he not authored several books which attempt to predict what life might be like in the 20th century. He was sufficiently well-regarded in his lifetime to be given the task of imagining “Old Paris” for one of the attractions at that cult event of mine, the Exposition Universelle of 1900. These days his work mostly appears in histories of science fiction as a result of books such as Le Vingtième Siècle: La Vie Électrique, a comic novel published in 1890 that looks at French life in the distant year of 1955. The attitude may be humorous, with a drawing style that resembles the contraptions of William Heath Robinson rendered by Gustave Doré, but some of Robida’s predictions are as prescient as those of HG Wells. The inhabitants of France in the 1950s may still dress like those in the 1890s but they communicate via “Téléphonoscope” while the military wage biological and chemical warfare. The usual fleets of fanciful airships fill the skies; the idea that everyone in the future would be the owner of a flying-machine goes back a long way. Robida also shows submarines, transit tubes connecting cities, and pollution caused by the new technologies.