|Jules Gabriel Verne (1828-1905), an enormously popular French writer, is the second (according to UNESCO Index Translationum) or the fifth (according to Wikipedia, and ignoring mass-printed non-literary publications) most translated individual in the world with > 145 languages, one of
the most widely read authors, and one of the most influential novelists of all time.|
Creator of the geographic and scientific novel, he is also acknowledged as the founding father of modern science fiction.
He was born, lived most of his life and died in the
French seaport of Nantes, in Bretagne, upriver from the Bay of Biscay.
In 1851 he graduated from the Faculty of Law in Paris, France, but never practiced.
For a short while he made a living as a playwright, operetta lyricist, and then as a stockbroker.
His literary influence came from Alexandre Dumas, James Fenimore Cooper, E. T. A.
Hoffmann and Victor Hugo.
In 1863 he drew upon his interest in natural science, technology, history and geography, studied geology, engineering and astronomy,
and started writing a series of 68 novels of extraordinary voyages / voyages extraordinaires written in form of travel books, in which he anticipated with remarkable foresight many scientific
and technological achievements of the 20th century, while catching the enterprising spirit of the 19th century and its uncritical fascination about scientific progress and inventions.
He predicted modern space, air and
underwater travel (long before space rockets, navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented), and also the videophone, the tank, the artificial satellite, the skyscraper and other modern technological marvels, while
inspiring some of the world's foremost scientists.
The manuscript of his 1863 novel, "Paris in the Twentieth Century" (found and published in 1994)
paints a grim, dystopian view of a technologically advanced but culturally backwards future civilization (1960), which describes with accuracy and detail internal combustion engine powered cars, an underground passenger train system
(subway), high-speed trains powered by magnetism and compressed air (maglev), skyscrapers, electric street lights, fax machines, elevators, sophisticated electrically powered mechanical calculators (computers) capable of sending
information among themselves across vast distances (the internet), wind power generated electricity, automated security systems, the electric chair, remotely operated weapons, weapons of mass destruction, suburb growth, mass
produced higher education, 20th century music, rise of electronic music, the synthesizer, recorded music industry.
Besides futuristic vision and scientific detail, his work depicts tension, adventure and humor.
Most of his
books have been translated into all European languages, Japanese and Arabic, and continue to be the inspiration for countless theatre plays, motion pictures and television shows.To quote Ray Bradbury (1920-2012): "...we are all, in one way or another, the children of Jules Verne."
L. Sprague de Camp (1907-2000) calls Jules Verne "the world's first full-time science fiction novelist."
Verne's most famous novels: