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Jules Verne

(1828-1905)
Jules Verne is considered the father of European science fiction, best known for books like Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of The Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. After Agatha Christie, is he is most translated writer in the world. Many of his books have been made into motion pictures; and the advent of the steam-punk sub-genre led to a resurgence of interest in his work, which featured technology that was fantastical in its day. He was born in Nante, France.

Carpathian Castle: An oddball in Verne’s canon

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Carpathian Castle by Jules Verne

When 35-year-old Jules Verne managed to sell what would become his first published novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, to the already long-established literary publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel, in 1863, little could the two Frenchmen know that this was just the beginning of a decades-long association. Hetzel was already a well-known Parisian figure, having previously released works by such luminaries as Victor Hugo, Emile Zola and Honore de Balzac. Verne, the future “Father of Science Fiction,” was an unknown commodity in 1863; a lawyer who found his true calling as a writer of adventure tales (just as this reader’s personal favorite author, Englishman H. Rider Haggard, would do 20 years later). Read More

Journey to the Center of the Earth: On the Edge

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Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Et quacumque viam dederit fortuna sequamur
- And whatever route fortune gives, we shall follow

This IS your great-great-great-grandfather's adventure story, so reader beware. There's a lot of walking, a lot of exposition, and quite frankly, not a lot of action. But keep in mind... this is an original. Our modern day sensibilities expect high action out of our adventure stories: monsters, critters, thrill-a-minute. But in a much different time when society was in a much different state... Read More

Around the World in 80 Days: On the Edge

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Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

For years I have had false memories of reading Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. How did this happen?  I think I must have seen so many movie versions that they got translated into my head as if I’d read it. Now that problem is resolved, because I have read it. It was a surprise.

Really, there were a few surprises. My first surprise was how short the book is, about 160 pages. The second surprise was that a book that flowed from the mind of Jules Verne ... Read More

The Village in the Treetops: Verne reacting to Darwin

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The Village in the Treetops by Jules Verne

When English naturalist Charles Darwin released his groundbreaking work On the Origin of Species in November 1859, it set off a firestorm of controversy regarding its central tenet: organic evolution, and the descent of life from a common ancestral source. Indeed, such was the brouhaha over this novel concept that even 66 years later, during the so-called Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, the subject was hotly debated, and in fact, to this very day, over 150 years since Darwin’s most famous work was published, there are still millions of religious fundamentalists who adamantly deny its veracity. And so, it may well be understood that Jules Verne — the Frenchman who has been called “The Father of Science Fi... Read More

The Master of the World: One of Jules Verne’s last novels

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The Master of the World by Jules Verne

First published in French in 1904 and in English in 1911, The Master of the World is another of Jules Verne’s adventure novels with an SFF twist. It’s a sequel to Robur the Conqueror, though it’s not necessary to have read that book first (I didn’t). The story is set in 1903 and, as so many of Verne’s novels do, features fantastical machines and gadgetry. It should be of particular interest to those who love steampunk and to Verne’s fans who want to read one of the author’s last novels.

Verne’s hero is John Strock, a brave and clever man who investigates mysteries for the government. Currently there are a few strange occurrences going on in the United States. In the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina there is a mountain that nearby residents claim has been heard to rumble and seen to smoke. It acts like a volcano,... Read More