Looking Backward, 2000 - 1887 was a novel by Edward Bellamy, first published in 1888, describing a quasi-socialist utopia of the year 2000. Its premise is that of an individual, falling into an hypnotic sleep, who wakes up, Rip Van Winkle-like (except without the aging process) in America of the year 2000, an America which has been in the interim transformed into a classless society characterized by material abundance. The book was extremely popular, being only the second work of literature published in the United States to top the one million mark in sales (the other being Uncle Tom's Cabin). It brought large numbers of people to the socialist cause, including Eugene V. Debs. For many, it served as a kind of fictional blueprint for the reconstruction of society and developed a cult-like following, even spawning Bellamy Clubs.
- Bellamy did not use the word socialist in any form to describe his utopia, most likely because socialism had, in his mind, become associated with violent anarchism following the Haymarket affair of 1886. The word he actually used to describe the state of affairs of his envisioned utopia was Nationalist. However, in view of the uses (or misuses) of that word in the first half of the 20th century, nowadays it does not convey the same meaning it had in the late 19th century.