February 08, 2011 | Permalink
Born On This Day 183 Years Ago:
Jules Verne; The father of Science Fiction
Hurrah for Jules Verne! One of my all time favorite authors. Since today is Verne's birthday, I thought I would give a short review of my top 5 favorite of his books.
~ Michael Strogoff
I've always enjoyed Michael Strogoff for Verne's ability to paint verbal pictures that give such clear and accurate description of the times. I also really loved Strogoff's extremely good plot. (Weeell I must admit, the N.C. Wyeth illustrations and my part-Russian background may have had an influence as well.)
~ Around the World in Eighty Days
About 7 or 8 years ago, Dad read Around the World in Eighty Days out loud to the family. So it has been a family favorite for a long time. Verne really did a great job of portraying a humorous, and sometimes serious, journey of Phileas Fogg, the unique nobleman bachelor of London, and his newly valet, Passepartout, as the try to go around the world in 80 days.
~ The Mysterious Island and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Mysterious Islands/20,000 Leagues Under the Sea/Capt. Grant's Children Trilogy is definitely one of the greatest adventure trilogies ever. No wonder so many stories, books, shows, films and games have been based off them. (Heh, and you wonder where we got our film title from...)
Many people wish there was more information about the life of Captain Nemo in the series. However, it appears that Verne was trying to illustrate a larger character map throughout the trilogy. There is also a lot of speculation about whether or not Verne was creating a larger "puzzle" story through all of his books... Who knows, either way, he was still brilliant.
~ Paris in the 20th Century
As for Paris in The Twentieth Century, both the history of the book itself and Verne's foresight while writing it are incredible! He really had an amazing ability to look to the future throughout all his works. There's a reason he made it to Google today.
Speaking of Google, today the website posted a really neat Happy Birthday to Verne blogpost on the Google Blog. I really enjoyed Ms. Hom's post so I've included part of it here and you can go here to read the rest.
Happy birthday from 20,000 leagues under the sea
It wasn't very difficult for something to spark my imagination when I was a child--whether it was a pile of leaves or a couch of stackable cushions, just about anything could jump-start my creativity. My first encounter with Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, however, sent my imagination into hyper drive.
I first found the novel while browsing through a random aisle in my local library. The cover was dark, murky and a little worn--but it was the most spectacular thing I'd ever seen. A pair of old-fashioned divers drag their feet over the ocean floor, watching a school of fish drift by. They don't seem to notice the twisting silhouette of a monster inching toward them.
The cover alone pulled me in, but I didn't want to spoil all of the possible story lines by actually reading the book. Looking back, I realize that what fascinated me most was the unknown: a creative spark and the imaginative exploration that followed. Since then, I've become more familiar with his work and still believe that exploration is the essence of Verne's novels. His stories pull the readers into a world filled with infinite potential--be it in the clouds, on land or under the sea...