Friday, February 08, 2008

Jules Verne and the World of Imagination

The birth of science fiction as a genre can be traced to the works of the French writer Jules Verne, who was born on this day in 1828. Verne's tales excited readers with the notions of adventure and science.

I must admit I discovered Verne through the medium of television. When I was a tike we watched a show called "Family Classics," and every Sunday we viewed some wonderful tale re-created on film. Many of these were Verne's, and I was transfixed by Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth. And I loved the David Niven version of Around the World in Eighty Days--the idea of an adventure that big, that colorful and exciting, was what every good book (and movie) should be about.

Verne inspired writers who came after him, notably H.G. Wells. He inspires writers today, as well, who look back at the sheer inventiveness of this man who wrote about the notions of air travel, underwater boats and space journeys long before any of those were a reality.

Happy birthday, Jules! May we all be blessed with a bit of your creativity. :)

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