The fantastic worlds of Jules Verne
106 years ago, on March 24, 1905, the great writer and passionate traveler, the founder of the genre of science fiction, Jules Verne, died. The writer lived in the past and the future, on earth and underground, in the air, under water and on distant planets. Much of what he described in his novels will have a lasting place in the world in the future.
Jules Verne’s technical predictions include the invention of an airplane and helicopter, television and video communications, interplanetary travel (and the launch site chosen by the writer for the flight to the moon is located near the modern spaceport), space satellites and underwater spacesuits. But the submarine described in the novel “20 thousand leagues under the sea”, the invention of Jules Verne is difficult to call: the idea of creating a submarine was considered by Leonardo da Vinci, they tried to build it under Peter I and use it in the United States during the civil war. But for some reason the world remembered Verne’s Nautilus better, with its spacious cabins and RAM as a weapon of war.
But the writer himself did not like to be called a fortune teller. The fact that some of his fantasies came true, he explained: “These are simple coincidences, and they are explained very simply. When I talk about a scientific phenomenon, I first examine all available sources and draw conclusions based on a variety of facts. As for the accuracy of the descriptions, in this respect I am obliged to all sorts of extracts from books, Newspapers, magazines, various essays and reports that I have prepared for the future and gradually replenished. All these notes are carefully classified and serve as material for my stories and novels. No book of mine has been written without the help of this file. I peruse twenty-odd Newspapers carefully, read diligently all the scientific reports available to me, and believe me, I always feel a sense of elation when I learn about some new discovery…”
Jules Verne’s fiction is a fantasy of reality, the writer tried to scientifically justify all the inventions he invented. This was unusual for that time, since fiction often went hand in hand with mysticism.
From the writer, such work required the most thorough, painstaking work. Here is how Jules Verne described his creative process: “I usually Start by selecting all the extracts related to this topic from the file; I sort them, study them, and process them in relation to the future novel. Then I make preliminary sketches and draw up a Chapter-by-Chapter plan. Then I write a draft in pencil, leaving wide margins-half a page-for corrections and additions.”
Jules Verne was a science visionary. He believed in the wonders of technological progress and that the world would soon change for the better thanks to technology.
But there is more to his work than just technical optimism. The book “Paris in the XX century” was published only in 1994. It, like many of Vern’s other books, is filled with predicted technology – it describes the subway, Fax machines, and electronic musical instruments. But instead of a technical utopia, the novel is perhaps the world’s first literary dystopia. The writer predicted a world developed from a technical point of view, but spiritless, degraded and to the limit of bureaucracy.
It is interesting that this pessimism appeared in Verne not only at the end of his life, as is commonly believed, because “Paris in the XX century” was written by Him at the age of 35. The book was not published – the publisher decided that such a work would not interest the reader. Perhaps this is why Jules Verne will return to technical optimism for many years to come.
“What one person can imagine in his imagination, others can bring to life,” the writer believed. This probably explains many of his predictions. He just presented them… and others, who were passionate about the writer’s work, implemented them.