In 1863, a very young Jules Verne wrote a novel titled "Paris au XXème siècle" (Paris in the XXth century). In this science fiction novel, Verne described a world in which industrial revolution has been pushed to its very limits, ending in a dystopian, totalitarian, scientist society blindly devoted to industry, technique and science. War doesn't exist anymore, since it's way too damageable to the industrial and financial organization of the society and citizens willingly embrace their fate as machines. All fields useless to the technical and industrial progress, chiefly arts, have been eradicated. The novel is set in Paris in 1960. The main protagonist, Michel, a young artist we follow through out this dark universe, doesn't even try to fight this society, only to survive in it. He will die alone in winter in the street, in the end.
The novel, with its dark, pessimistic vision of the future, is strangely opposite to the usual frame of mind of Jules Verne. In spite of the fascinating topic, the novel is sort of unacomplished, truth to be said, and all publishers refused this youth's writing work, then. This didn't prevent Verne to later become the wordly famous genious writer we all know, but the point is that, in this mid-XIXth century, the novel was soon forgoten. And lost.
Not forever, though : more than a century later, in 1994, the novel is found again in the bottom of an old strongbox and published in 1995. Lately, a young, very talented French film maker, Jean Delac, planned to adapt the novel in a short film and I have been lucky enough to be asked to be the art director for it. The film will be shot in March/April with real actors on a green background and I'm currently working about designing the main lines of the film universe. Below are a couple of first drafts.
With this novel written long before Metropolis, 1984 and many more, shall we have to consider from now on that Jules Verne, who was more envisionned as the "inventor of Steampunk" so far, is also the grand-father of Dieselpunk?