As anyone with internet access who uses Google has probably figured out, today is Jules Verne’s birthday. His 183rd birthday to be exact. This man is one of the fathers of the modern adventure story. He wrote stories about traveling through air, into space and underwater before any of that was even remotely realistically possible.
And just in case you don’t know exactly what stories this man wrote, let me toss a few names out there for you. Journey to the Center of the Earth. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Around the World in Eighty Days. From the Earth to the Moon (which you may know better by the film version… that’s the one of the moon with that big bullet in its eye). He even had a book published in 1994 (thanks to being found in his safe by his grandson. Er… the book was in the safe that is, not Jules Verne) titled Paris in the Twentieth Century. It was a 1863 vision of what Paris would be like in 1960. And, scary enough, he’s pretty close (closer than Edison anyway).
Amongst his predictions were the skyscrapers, gas powered automobiles, calculators… and even the internet! And sadly the prospect of being destroyed by a super-weapon capable of wiping out a city and the arms race such a weapon would create. Some of his other ultimately correct predictions can be found via National Geographic here.
The man was a visionary to be sure and undoubtedly a member of some version of the League of Gentlemen Adventurers from yesteryear. He was a man truly in touch with his spirit of adventure and an inspiration to many Gentlemen Adventurers past, present and future. With that in mind, I give a tip of my Pith Helmet to you today Jules. Happy birthday!