Jules Verne, a French author born on February 8, 1828, in Nantes, France, and deceased on March 24, 1905, remains one of the world’s most popular and influential science fiction writers.
Dubbed “The Father of Science Fiction,” Verne made science and exploration intriguing and accessible to ordinary readers through his well-researched, adventurous, and imaginative tales.
More than a century after his death, Jules Verne’s influence remains profound and pervasive. His imaginative tales filled with adventure, science, and exploration have stood the test of time, and continue to inspire scientists, authors, and dreamers alike.
Jules Verne’s legacy as a trailblazer of the science fiction genre serves as a testament to the power of imagination and its ability to shape the future.
Jules Verne Quotes
“Be it understood you are never rich when you get no advantage from it.”
“With happiness as with health: to enjoy it, one should be deprived of it occasionally.”
“Civilization never recedes; the law of necessity ever forces it onwards.”
“In consequence of inventing machines, men will be devoured by them.”
“Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.”
Early Life and Inspiration
The son of an attorney, Jules Verne was expected to follow his father’s footsteps into law, but the pull of adventure and the unknown had a stronger call. In his childhood, Verne developed a deep love for travel and exploration, partly inspired by his seafaring uncle and the many ships he saw at the busy docks of his hometown. His passion for storytelling was also evident from an early age and combined with his love for science, it would form the foundation of his future career.
The Start of a Writing Career
After moving to Paris to study law, Jules Verne found his calling in the city’s literary circles. He started by writing librettos for operettas and some short stories. However, the turning point in his career came when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, a renowned publisher, who recognized the potential in Jules Verne’s science-inspired narratives. Hetzel encouraged him to expand his scope, which led to the publication of Verne’s first novel, “Five Weeks in a Balloon,” in 1863.
The Extraordinary Voyages Series
“The Extraordinary Voyages” is a series of 54 novels written by Jules Verne from 1863 to 1905. Published by Pierre-Jules Hetzel, these novels were grouped under the series title “Voyages Extraordinaires,” literally translating to “Extraordinary Voyages.” The series forms the most famous part of Verne’s extensive body of work and solidified his reputation as a leading figure in the literary genre of science fiction.
Some of the most well-known novels in the series include:
- “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1864) – This is an adventure into the Earth’s core, where Jules Verne’s protagonists encounter prehistoric animals and natural hazards.
- “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (1870) – The novel tells the story of Captain Nemo and his advanced submarine, the Nautilus, offering an imagined deep-sea exploration long before such technology was feasible.
- “Around the World in Eighty Days” (1872) – This story involves an ambitious attempt by the English gentleman Phileas Fogg to circumnavigate the world in 80 days to win a bet, marking the advent of global travel.
Scientific Prediction and Imagination
What made the “Extraordinary Voyages” series extraordinary was Verne’s ability to merge scientific fact with fantasy. His meticulous research and a deep understanding of contemporary scientific theories allowed him to project technological advancements and scientific discoveries far into the future, often with uncanny accuracy. For instance, “From the Earth to the Moon” (1865) imagined a moon landing a century before it actually happened, while “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” anticipated the development of submarine technology.
The impact of the “Extraordinary Voyages” extends far beyond the realm of literature. Many inventors and explorers have cited Jules Verne’s work as inspiration. His stories have been translated into hundreds of languages and have inspired countless adaptations in film, television, radio, and even video games.
The “Extraordinary Voyages” series represents Verne’s vision of the potential of science and human ingenuity. It was not just about predicting future technologies; it was about showing how humanity could use knowledge and curiosity to overcome challenges and explore the unknown. Today, these novels continue to captivate readers with their sense of wonder and adventure, testifying to Verne’s enduring legacy in science fiction.
The Later Years and Legacy
Verne continued to write and publish until his death in 1905. His final works reflected a more pessimistic view of science and progress, with many featuring dystopian themes. Nevertheless, his legacy as a pioneer of science fiction and a prophetic visionary of technology and exploration remained intact. Jules Verne’s influence extends beyond literature and into the realms of science and technology, with numerous inventors and explorers citing his works as inspiration.