Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Boston (2000). The future Boston is a city startling to Julian in its orderliness, cleanliness, and quiet. From the roof of the Leete home he sees the city laid out in neat blocks with wide tree-lined streets and numerous park areas. The only features he recognizes from his own time are geological, such as the Charles River, which separates Boston from Cambridge. Islands in Boston Harbor confirm that he is indeed in his native city. When he explores the city on his own, he is baffled by its lack of shops. The numerous small stores with display windows that lined nineteenth century Boston streets are gone, as are the taverns once common to city neighborhoods. Anonymous monumental buildings have taken their place. Bostonians still shop, but in buildings remarkably akin to what twenty-first century readers know as discount stores; exteriors of these buildings provide no clues as to their functions. Inside, customers may examine goods and compare products without the help of clerks, merchants do not haggle, products all bear clearly labeled set prices, and customers pay with debit cards issued by the government.
*Boston (1887). The Boston of Julian’s own time is a noisy, smelly, and crowded city. Its streets are lined with shops in which customers have no direct contact with merchandise. When they enter they see counters behind which the proprietors stand, and they must ask clerks to show them products and tell them their prices. Boston’s streets are narrow, filthy, and winding, still reflecting the original foot paths from colonial times, and the air is thick with industrial pollution and coal smoke. Soot and grime coat everything. Pedestrians crossing streets must dodge mud and horse dung. Although Boston had public parks in 1887, Edward Bellamy does not mention them. Instead, his narrator’s native Boston is a rough and dangerous city, one that is changing and not for the better.
Julian West’s house. Narrator’s home in nineteenth century Boston. The neighborhood around his house is filled with squalid tenement buildings and factories. His family has owned his house for generations, but he plans to build a new house in a better neighborhood before getting married, as his old family home is no longer suitable for a middle-class family. The nearby tenements are populated by poor people and recent immigrants, two groups of people to whom middle-class women should never be exposed. Street noises are so noisome and pervasive at all hours of the night and day that Julian had to construct a sound-proof room in his cellar for sleeping The Boston of 1887 is a most unpleasant city in which to live.