Jules Verne: Prophet of Science?

Yes, Google. You Rock.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) was perhaps the first Science Fiction author to warrant the name. His extraordinary voyages, whether set on Earth or out among the planets, revealed the glowing wonders of a science marveling at its new discoveries. Verne’s first success was Five Weeks in a Balloon, but his best-known books are Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (filmed by Walt Disney), From the Earth to the Moon, and The Mysterious Island (also put on the screen).

Here is a list of some of the most famous descriptions, made by Jules Verne in his books, that lately have been considered as predictions:

  • Submarine: Before the writing of Twenty thousand leagues under the sea, there already existed a submarine. The Nautilus (same name as in Verne’s book) was presented by British inventor Robert Fulton at the end of the 18th Century to the Directoire in Paris.
  • Travel in balloon: The first long distance travel in balloon came some years after Verne had written his Five weeks in balloon, but before that, travels of hundreds of miles had been made by balloon.
  • Fax: There existed a fax before the writing of Paris in the XX century. We owe the development of the fax machine to Alexander Bain, a Scottish inventor who was granted a patent for his creation back in 1843. Bain’s original concept is still the basis for modern facsimile or fax machines.
  • Helicopter: Before the writing of Robur the conqueror, Verne had met engineers Gabriel de la Landelle and Gustave Ponton d’Amecourt, members of an aeronautic club founded by Nadar. By that time, Ponton d’Amecourt had created a model of a machine that was very similar to Robur’s Albatros.
  • Interplanetary and space travels. There is no interplanetary travel in Hector Servadac, because the travellers don’t visit other planets. Also, Cyrano de Bergerac among others, described, in one of his books, space travel with a rocket.
  • Electrical engine: Electricity had been discovered in the 18th century and had been extensively described in fiction. The first electric engine was made by Michael Faraday in 1821.
  • Apollo project that led the first men to the Moon in 1969: In From the Earth to the Moon and Around the Moon, he described a flight round the moon in a hollow bullet, but many others preceded him. Murtagh McDermott in A trip to the moon (1728) and Achilles Eyraud in 1865 in A voyage to Venus both with a rocket.
  • The life of Adolf Hitler: The description of Herr Schultze in The 500 millions of the Begum has an astonishing resemblance with Adolf Hitler. However, how much of this was conceived by Andre Laurie? It is known he wrote the original manuscript and Verne modified it later.

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