Here’s Look At You Jules Verne
You know I like to start books off by knowing a little about the history of the author. So here it is, the list of things to know about Jules Verne.
1. He published at least 1 book for every single year for over 40 years. These range from fiction to scietific in nature.
2. He was not a major explorer, like so many of his protagonist. Matter of fact, his only time riding in a balloon lasted 24 minutes.
3. He was shot in 1886 by his mentally ill nephew, Gaston. Two shots were fired. One missed Jules but the other shot him in the left leg. He suffered from a limp for the rest of his life and his nephew spent the rest of his in an asylum.
4. The Nautilus actually pre-dated actual powered submarines by 25 years. In 1886, the first electic powered submarine was named the Nautilus after Jules’ creation.
5. Around The World In 80 Days was actually based on a true story. In 1870, US railroad magnate George Francis Train (what are the odds on that name?) declared in the middle of his Presidential candidacy that he would travel around the world in 80 days or less. (It ended up taking him almost double the time. He tried twice more and finally, 20 years later in 1890 he managed to do it in under 80 days 67 to be precise).
6. Authors often know each other and Jules Verne is no exception. He was friends with Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas, who both gave him writing advise.
7. Jules Verne wrote lyrics for operas. When his father found out that he was involved in the theater, he cut him off. Verne became a pretty good stock broker although he did despise the work.
8. In 1863 he wrote a novel based in the 20th century which featured glass skyscrapers, high speed trains, calculators and even a worldwide communications network. Called Paris In The 20th Century, it was eerily accurate. However, despite the wonders of 20th century life, the protagonist cannot find happiness and comes to a tragic end. Verne’s publisher (you know, Hetzel Sr.) thought the book too pessimistic and held off publishing it. It wasn’t discovered until 1989 by Verne’s great grandson.
9. Verne began as very optimistic about how technical possibilities could influence the future of mankind. Over his career he began more and more pessimistic about the future of civilization. Some say his good friend and publisher Peirre-Jules Hetzel edited out some of the more pessimistic aspects that were creeping in to Verne’s works, but after his death, Hetzel’s son who took over the business did far less editing and left them in.
10. Jules Verne actually died from complications of diabetes. If you are like me, you have to wonder if he had access to the medication we have now what other books he could have written.