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From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the Moon
266 pages, $7.99
Originally published as two separate books, Jules Verne's eerily prescient tale of mankind's first visit to the Moon is properly presented here in one complete volume.
From the Earth to the Moon (first published in 1865) opens just after the close of the Civil War, the Baltimore Gun Club embarks on a massive project: to build a cannon and with it, launch a projectile to the Moon. Club President Impey Barbicane and armorer Captain Nicholl of Philadelphia feud over the feasibility of the project, and nearly duel each other to death, until French poet Michel Ardan intervenes. The three then wind up as shipmates on the adventure of a lifetime, a voyage to the Moon!
Around the Moon (published in 1870) picks up our intrepid trio just after their launch. After leaving the atmosphere, they have a close encounter with a near-Earth asteroid, then suffer intoxication from an atmospheric problem (not unlike that which would later befall the crew of Apollo 13), explore the Moon, and eventually make their way back to Earth.
Verne's remarkable vision—from setting the launch site in Florida to calculating the length of the journey to a post-mission splash-down—is only slightly tempered by his use of private funding for the voyage, rather than a government project. But as we've seen in the decades since the Apollo voyages, private/corporate funding does indeed look to be the way of the future into space, so once again, Verne shows his predictive abilities were running full steam ahead.
Author Jules Verne (1828-1905) started life as a lawyer, but soon quit the profession to devote himself to writing, to the world's greater benefit. His first produced play, Les Pailles rompues (The Broken Straws), debuted in Paris in 1850, the year before he received his law license. His first published short story, "L'Amérique du Sud. Etudes historiques. Les Premiers Navires de la Marine Mexicaine" ("The First Ships of the Mexican Navy"), was published in Musée des families in 1851. His first published novel, Cinq semaines en ballon (Five Weeks in a Balloon)—the first of his Voyages Extraordinaires, and the first of more than 50 novels—finally appeared in 1863. Today, Verne is remembered as one of the founders of science fiction, and is one of the most translated authors in the world.