Author and futurist Jules Verne was born on this day, 8 February, 1828 (d: 24 March, 1905) in Nantes, France. Verne is considered the father of general Science Fiction and recently been credited with “fathering” the steampunk genre. Verne wrote some of the most famous books in the worked, such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, and Around The World In 80 Days.
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- Verne is the second most translated author in the world (the first is Agatha Christie).
- Jules Verne wrote more than 70 books (54 of them compromising the Voyages Extraordinaires)
- In 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Captain Nemo travels the world in a giant electric submarine, the Nautilus. Several modern submarines are powered by electricity, granted they’re not as huge as the Nautilus (with formal dining room, library, etc.) but they are not that different from the one Verne described.
In 1886, the first electric powered submarine was name The Nautilus.
- One of the weapons described in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a gun which shoots balls in which “electricity is forced to a very high tension” and delivers a strong electrical jolt.
- Before Verne started writing stories he wrote lyrics for operas (libretti).
- Verne counted among his friends novelists Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo who also advised him on writing.
- In the article , In the Year 2889 which Verne wrote in 1889 he predicted that “Instead of being printed, the Earth Chronicle is every morning spoken to subscribers, who, from interesting conversations with reporters, statesmen and scientists, learn the news of the day.”
Thirty one years later the first newscast was broadcasted and the first TV news broadcast was 28 years later.
- The same article, Verne wrote of “atmospheric advertisements” which were “reflected from the clouds”. The way Verne described these ads is very similar to what we call skywriting.
- Jules Verne published at least one book a year for over 40 years.
- In 1863 Verne wrote Paris In The 20th Century. The novel was based in the 20th Century and featured such visions as high speed trains, calculators, glass skyscrapers and even a worldwide communication network (one might say a World Wide Web). However, Verne’s publisher thought the book was too pessimistic (the protagonist couldn’t find happiness and found a sad end) and didn’t publish it. Verne’s great grandson discovered the book in 1989.
Zohar – Man of la Book
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Jules Verne was a childhood staple and, as with all things associated with a the lightness and beauty and wonder of youth, I am afraid to revisit it…for fear that it will pale in the light of old age. I spent 2 years doing research at UW in Seattle–great times–and was surprised to see so many people–young and old–dressed in that steampunk way. I didn’t know that Verne was considered the father of the movement: coolness.
Thanks for the comment Khanh.
You should re-visit Verne. I did (see the links above for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and enjoyed it very much.
Verne is one of my favorite authors. I thought I had read most of his books but if he wrote seventy, I’ve only read a few. I need to look up what steam punk is.
The Nautilus reappears at the end of the 20,000 leagues trilogy! 20,000 Leagues -> In Search of the Castaways -> The Mysterious Island.
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