||Jules Verne was a French
writer, whose stories are well known world wide. His stories were about
inventions which were far ahead of his time.
Jules Verne made a name for himself with travellers' tales - stories which
tell about the adventures people have on journeys. In his life time
he wrote 54 major novels which were about life in the future - science fiction.
Jules Verne was born in the sea port of Nantes in 1828. His family had a sea faring ancestry which fascinated the young Jules so much that he ran away from home to be a cabin boy on a merchant ship. He was soon caught out, and sent back to his parents.
Later, Jules Verne went to Paris to study law, but discovered the theatre. He published his first play in 1850, three years after arriving in Paris. His father was furious when he discovered that Jules had given up his legal studies. He cut off his allowance, so Jules had to make money from selling his works in order to live.
Jules spent a long time studying geology, astronomy and engineering in the libraries of Paris. He looked at the inventions which
had been made in his own life time and then added to them his visions
and dreams for the future. He was able to invent a future that did not
exist until well into the twentieth century. Jules Verne is one of those authors
that make you wonder if time machines have been invented after all!
In 1863 Jules Verne published his first novel which was called " Five Weeks in a Balloon" . The concept of long voyages by air was totally unknown and unthought of at the time.
||Captain Nemo ponders over a giant octopus in "20 000 Leagues
under the Sea."
"Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" in 1873 predicted humans living
and working for very long periods in the deep oceans.
Space ship in "From the Earth
to the Moon."
|Soon he he was producing novels very quickly, such as: "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 1864 , "From the Earth to the Moon" in 1866 (which amazingly predicted space
travel and later a landing on the moon)
The launch of Verne's craft was preceded
by an actual by-the-second countdown using an accurate electric clock;
its mass, approximately 10,000 kg. was very close to the actual mass
of the Apollo command module.
is an illustration from a very early copy of "From the Earth
to the Moon".
|Many people think that the landing capsule in "From Earth to the Moon" looks
like that of Apollo 13. Verne predicted many things which were later
part of the Apollo projects. For example, the splashdown point in
Verne's book was just a few miles away from the actual splashdown
point of Apollo 8 ... and the moon capsule was launched from Florida,
just a few miles from the actual location of Cape Canaveral.
Verne's capsule also had three astronauts
on board (two of them American and one Frenchman, in the spirit of international
cooperation); it used a chemical system to generate oxygen and another
to extract carbon dioxide during the trip and it made a slingshot trip
(named Free Return Trajectory a century later) around the Moon in order
to return to the Earth.
"Robur the Conqueror" (1886) told the story of a master vilain, who wanted to rule the world. In his propellor driven airship, the Albatross, Robur seeks his aim of world domination. The first real flight occured in 1903.
"Around the World in 80
days" must have encouraged many people
in the last century to travel internationally. Even today, it can be
a challenge to achieve Jules Verne's journey in his time limit.
All these books became very popular, making Jules Verne a very rich man. His last novel was published in 1905, the year of his death.
A stamp featuring an adventure from"Journey to the Centre of the Earth".
|"Journey to the Centre
of the Earth" tells how a group
of people tried to discover the secrets inside the Earth's core
One of Jules' earliest works was a novel dating from 1863 that was called Paris in the 20th Century. Jules imagined a Paris that had glass high rise, cars powered by gas engines, calculators, high speed trains and a global communication network. The hero was a young man who could not find happiness in spite of all the wonderful things around him. He died a tragic death. Verne's publisher thought that this sad ending would harm Verne's popularity and advised him to put the book aside and maybe publish it 20 years later. Verne tucked his book away in his safe, and thought no more of it. It remained there, forgotten, until his great grandson discovered it over a hundred years later in 1989. It was finally published in 1994!