Jules Verne: The Father of Science Fiction
The father of Science Fiction, a visionary French novelist, a short story writer, and a dramatist. This is the essence of the man we know today as Jules Verne. In his voluminous writings he foresaw a number of scientific devices and developments that were more than a century ahead of his time. Some of the inventions he imagined were created later in his lifetime, but some are still to be invented. He wrote over 80 books mostly before 1900 and a few of the things he described were helicopters, modern weapons, movies with sound, television and rockets. He was also the author of 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, which was written in the 1800’s – years before the first sub was invented. Jules Verne was an amazing writer who predicted the science future of the world. He was popular with all kinds of readers: rich, poor, young, old, scientists, artists and rulers.
Jules Verne came into Nantes, France on February 8, 1828. As a son of a magistrate he was a very ambitious child who was always eager to learn and be knowledgeable. His parents were also very interested in traveling and going on safaris to new and undiscovered lands (“Verne”, Microsoft Encarta). This was thought to have a big influence on his later writings. When he was six years old he began attending boarding school and when he was nine he moved on to St. Stanislas, a secondary school, with younger brother, Paul (“Verne”, Something about the Author). When he was very young he ran off to be a cabin boy on a merchant ship, but he was caught and returned to his parents (“Jules Verne” Encyclopedia Britannica). In 1847 Jules was sent to study law in Paris. While there, however, his passion for theatre grew. Later in 1850, Jules Verne’s first play was published.
He then dropped out of Law School and began to explore the field of theatre and writing more intensely. However, his father was outraged when he heard that Jules was not going to continue law, so he discontinued the money he was giving him to pay for his expenses in Paris. This forced Verne to make money by selling his stories (Something About the Author, 190).
After spending many hours in Paris libraries studying geology, engineering, and astronomy, Jules Verne published his first novel Five Weeks in a Balloon. Soon he started writing many more novels. Some of his more famous novels are Five Weeks in a Balloon, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, Mysterious Island, and Master of the World(Academic American Encyclopedia, 559). A few of his novels have been turned into movies, like Disney’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Because of the popularity of these and other novels, Jules Verne became a very rich man. In 1876, he bought a large yacht and sailed around Europe. The last novel before Jules Verne’s death was The Invasion of the Sea (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 400). Jules Verne died on March 24, 1905 and the whole world mourned. He was the founder of modern science fiction and the creator of many imaginary inventions that became reality. He inspired scientists, explorers and builders.
- Bracy, William. “Verne, Jules.” Encyclopedia Americana. Encyclopedia Britannica, Chicago. 1989. 28:36
- Stableford, Brian. “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Survey of Science Fiction Literature. Ed.
- Frank N. Magili. Salem Press, New Jersey. 1979. 5:2329-2333
Verne, Jules. Academic American Encyclopedia. Colombia University Press, New York. 1989. 19:559
Verne, Jules. Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 15th ed. 1983. 5:400-401
- Verne, Jules. Something About the Author. Ed. Anne Commire. Washington Square Press, Inc: New York
City, New York. 1980. 21:178-193
- Verne, Jules. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Gale Research Company, Michigan. 1982. 6:489, 498