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With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 A.D.

3.02  ·  Rating details ·  132 ratings  ·  31 reviews
"SHE: Do you like Kipling? HE: I don't know, I've never Kippled!" If you've never read Rudyard Kipling's science fiction, then you've never Kippled.

Having achieved international fame with The Jungle Book, Captains Courageous, Kim, and his Just So Stories, in 1905 Kipling serialized a thrilling science fiction novella, With the Night Mail: A Story of 2000 A.D, in which the
Paperback, 58 pages
Published August 1st 2001 by Rhwymbooks (first published 1909)
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Average rating 3.02  · 
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Even though Kipling’s idea of the year 2000AD falls short of reality, I still found this story entertaining, very fast paced and energetic. It is the first of only 2 science fiction novels he wrote, the second being the sequel, As Easy as A.B.C.. ...more
Debbie Zapata
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
I never thought of Rudyard Kipling writing pulp science fiction but here is the proof of at least one venture into such territory. Written in 1905, this story was great fun to read and I hope someday to find the sequel that was written in 1912 and takes place 60 years or so after the action in Night Mail, which was set in the year 2000.

I was tickled by many of the details in this story, which follows a dirigible mail ship across the Atlantic. There is a lot...A LOT...of air traffic, all controll
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks, scifi
"As Easy as A.B.C." is a lovely dystopia and i would gladly rate it with 5 stars. However, "With the Night Mail" has excellent world building but it's horribly dull in any other aspect.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can read this novella online at Project Gutenberg:

The story is thinner than air, but it’s really about the worldbuilding, which is amazing. This tale features large dirigibles moving passengers and freight across the planet, the use of radios, and the slagging off of aeroplanes. Bear in mind that this was published in 1905, before zeppelins existed, before successful demonstrations of radio, and just after the Wright brothers demonstrated their airpla
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This story is a quick read, but not a particularly engaging one-- aside from the curious fact that it's a sci-fi story written by Rudyard Kipling, who is not normally associated with the genre.

The story itself is an account of a fairly routine zeppelin-mail delivery (London to Montreal) that happens to be set in the year 2000. The characters are forgetttable, and a lot of the story involves technobabble about the "Fleury ray" that makes dirigible travel so effective. What's really interesting i
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Remarkable writing. Thorough, fully created alternative world. Done as if it were all real and done well. No plot to speak of nor characters.
John Stammers
May 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, dnf
This review among other book reviews cane be found on my blog alongside other kinds of posts:

Keen to get a head start on next year's reading list for a module titled Understanding and Writing Science Fiction, I decided to borrow a copy of this book from the campus library. Rudyard Kipling is better known as the author of The Jungle Book, a book I have considered one day reading. However, if The Jungle Book reads anything like this then I probably won't bo
Alex Sarll
Zeppelins have become one of the lazy signifiers of steampunk, strewn like goggles and cogs across stories which merit no further attention. And it's a shame, because they're wonderful things. Kipling wrote these two stories back when airships were still a possible future, rather than a lost alternate present, and it makes all the difference; he's obviously as fascinated by the nuts and bolts of the coming technology as by the new world it enables. A world in which the Aerial Board of Control en ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it did not like it
Unfathomable. Only for die hard Steampunk -ers
This short story seemed to be about the rescue of a dirigible that was crashing, followed by a whole load of spoof adverts and newspaper reports to give the flavour of authenticity. However I found it almost impossible to follow. Set in the far future 2000AD this is Steampunk of the highest order. Written in 1905 by Rudyard Kipling about global travel by airship I think this is a classic that needs sought out by all diehard steampunk fans and possibl
Michael Bafford
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Early alt history

I never knew till now that Kipling write twialt history novels Set at the end of the twentieth century in a world where mass transport uses airships. The writing is excellent if old fashioned . But not much happens apart from passage through a storm. Excellent description but no plot as such.
Al Lock
May 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A look into the future from more than a century ago. Kipling got just about everything wrong, mostly by underestimating the advances and the resulting social change. Still, a very interesting set of ideas.
Matt Kelland
Probably my favorite Kipling of all time. It's pulp sci-fi, very much with a steampunk vibe.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very technical, the adverts in particular were entertaining. Hints at the world, but little detail - apparently there's a sequel with more world building.
Feb 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No real plot, but wonderfully imaginative 3.5*
Arf Ortiyef
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
a gorgeous little piece. it's somehow like watching someone's lovely dream on christmas eve.
Lance Schonberg
Dec 28, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
More strictly a novelette, With the Night Mail comes in at only 13,000 words and 60-ish pages. I started out with a download from the Gutenberg project (it’s well into the public domain) but found a beautiful scan of an illustrated version on Forgotten Futures linked from Wikipedia which also includes “As Easy as A.B.C.”, a shorter tale set in the same universe. Together, the two make up the only Science Fiction Kipling published. The online version of the Gutenberg text includes the illustratio ...more
Peter Dunn
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard of these two Kipling science fiction stories, and had always meant to seek them out and read them but in the end they pushed themselves in front of me. I found myself facing a shelf of HiLo books “Radium Age Science Fiction Series” short books with simple but beautiful covers, and the number two in the series was that very combination I had intended to read of “With the Night Mail” and "As Easy as A.B.C."

NB apologies but if you are reading this first on Facebook then Goodreads's use
Perry Whitford
Not so very long ago I was surprised to discover that Mark Twain wrote a spoof Sherlock Holmes story called The Double-barrelled Detective Story. Lo and behold, now I find out that Rudyard Kipling wrote a sci-fi tale.

Whatever next? Did Jane Austen write a swashbuckling adventure yarn?

I no doubt should have known these things a long time ago, but there you go. Twain's quirky little diversion was well worth discovering. How about Kipling's unlikely foray?

According to Kipling, in the year 2000 we
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Aerial Board of Control, Book 1 - Science Fiction

First published in 1905, this Rudyard Kipling short story is set in the year 2000.
Dirgibles and zepplins of all sorts fill the skies with busy air traffic, overseen by the Aeriable Board of Control (A.B.C.).

We follow an international mail dirigible crossing the Atlantic, bound for Quebec, when bad weather strikes. I enjoyed this story very much - thanks to Good Reads' Debbie Zapata for her great review here:
Rusty Thelin
I didn't enjoy this book nearly as much as Bruce Sterling did. I agree with him that Kipling is an amazing writer; as Sterling states, "it's anything but dry and boring exposition about how a future aircraft works." I think where I got lost (or lost interest) was in the general lack of plot coupled with the sort of meandering prose and dearth of information about the world. Yes, I get that it's a sort of totalitarian future with no so-called politics; I just didn't care. What I did enjoy immense ...more
Norman Cook
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: e-book
Kipling's future world is dominated by commerce based on dirigible transportation, regulated by the Aerial Board of Control. The technology extrapolation makes sense for when the story was written, but Kipling completely misses the mark in characterization or other facets of good storytelling. The second half is nothing more than faux advertisements, the first few of which were somewhat interesting, but there were too many. A few would have worked better as sidebars included within the story its ...more
Interesting. Kipling imagined a world in which commerce was dominated by airships. A supra-national agency, the Aerial Board of Control, regulated air commerce and penalized nations for interference with commerce.

In this world, airplanes are toys of the wealthy.

The problem Kipling had was that his hero is the technology. He shows us the technology, not how the men lived and struggled with the technology. For that reason, it is inferior science fiction.
Andrew Ives
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
Kipling isn't renowned for his sci-fi and this goes some way towards explaining why. It's well-written, but still reads like some kind of Jane's aeroplane manual for futuristic planes that never existed or aviation magazine. Add to this some dodgy predictions about the future 2000 AD (now known to be way off the mark - including the very first line about the GPO!) and you end up with something that is very humdrum indeed. I got so bored, I gave up after 3/4 of it, despite forcing myself on.
An interesting read. The faux science is detailed. In many respects typical Kipling but for me a rather superficial story in the end. I would have liked to see the ideas and the setting further explored in a more lengthy speculative work but a worthwhile read for me nevertheless. Good world building, with an emphasis on creating convincing science but character is superficial. A curiosity piece.
Rebecca Ann
Jan 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm kind of scared to read the Jungle Book, having despised this short story so much. The writing style is very dry, packed full of technical details about the airships with nary a plot or character of depth to be seen. I only read this story to help someone with an essay and if I could go back and retrieve that wasted time I would.
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Well, I only understood about one word in five of the technical gobbledegook about the airships, but being Kipling it's immensely readable. And the accompanying material, the job adverts and suchlike, are superb. This is well worth an hour of anybody's time.
Aditya Mallya
May 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
I had no idea Rudyard Kipling had written science fiction. I also had no idea Rudyard Kipling had written anything this bad. His vision of the year 2000 (as envisioned in 1905) is meticulous, but so crowded with imaginary technical jargon that I still don't know what the story is about.
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Could not make it through....
Jen Julian
Interesting as a Victorian steampunky artifact. As an actual story, not so much.
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Joseph Rudyard Kipling was a journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book (1894), Kim (1901), and many short stories, including The Man Who Would Be King (1888). His poems include Mandalay (1890), Gunga Din (1890), The Gods of the Copybook Headings (1919), The White Man's Burden (1899), and If— (1910). He is regarded as a major innovator in

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