In the small French town of Nantes, there is a house which is very popular with tourists. Some people specially take a trip from Paris to Nantes in order to see it. Those people love literature, and they are definitely fans of adventure and science fiction genres. In 1828, Jules Verne, a famous French writer, who actually pioneered the science fiction genre, was born in that house.
Jules Verne is often called an author before his time. Amazingly, in his books he gave detailed descriptions of submarines and bathyscaphes, different flying machines from balloons to spaceships. Jules Verne wrote even about landing on the moon. His novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865) surprisingly resembled the real Apollo program that happened in 1972, more than 100 years after publishing the book. In Jules Verne’s version three astronauts were launched to the moon from a large cannon in Florida. It was very close to the place where the real Space Centre would be constructed later and from where the three Apollo astronauts would start their trip to the moon.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is probably the most famous and captivating book by the author. It was published in two volumes - one was released in 1868, and the other in 1870. It tells us a fascinating story of Professor Pierre Aronnax, his servant, and a Canadian harpooner Ned Land. The three characters, who had such different views and values, joined an expedition to hunt a deep sea monster, which was a threat to navigation in the area. The monster turned out to be a submarine. During the battle, the Professor, his servant, and the harpooner fell into the sea. They didn’t drown but became guests and prisoners of Captain Nemo. The mysterious captain was the owner and the inventor of the submarine. The adventurous characters (and the readers of the book too!) were lucky to see the mysterious underwater world and the technological wonders on board the submarine.
Another extremely popular novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, was written in 1872. It is an adventure story about a very resourceful Englishman, Phileas Fogg. He made a bet that he would travel around the globe in less than eighty days and he won it! The book became extremely popular due to the exciting narration. Around the World in Eighty Days was successfully staged in the theatre during the author’s lifetime. This certainly made Jules Verne very happy as he was very fond of the theatre and started his career as a playwright. The book probably also signalled the coming era of global tourism, when technological innovations would enable people to reach remote destinations in a short time.
Jules Verne’s father was a lawyer and had his own law practice in Nantes. He wanted his son to take up the family business and sent him to Paris to study law. Jules Verne was a good student and successfully graduated in 1851. He, however, rejected the idea of any career in law. He believed he could gain success only in literature and he was right about that. His books brought him fame and fortune - they sold well in France and abroad. Jules Verne was one of the most translated authors in the world, along with William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie.