Sometimes called the father of steampunk, Jules Verne is certainly a remarkable writer for his time. His adventure stories take the reader all over the Victorian world in such vivid description that you often feel as though you are travelling with his characters. He has been criticised for various in accuracies so it’s best not to actually use the books as travel guides or scientific texts but he gift for storytelling has you buying every insane theory until you turn the final page.
Around the World in 80 Days is Verne’s most famous novel. Surprisingly, given the famous image a hot-air balloon on the cover of many editions, at no point does the main character Phyllis Fogg actually travel by hot-air balloon. I spent the whole first reading wondering when they were going to get in the balloon. What makes this such a remarkable novel and different from Verne’s others is that Fogg is such a cold, unrevealed character that it is difficult to be interested in him and yet we are. Fogg and his loyal valet Paspartout are chased by law-enforcement, rescue maidens in distress, sail the oceans, joins circus, fights bandits and survive riots. The least you can do is find out if they make it back in time.
I read Journey to the Centre of the Earth right after I’d Around the World in 80 Days and I was astounded. The style was so different it was as though it was written by a completely different author. Perhaps the translation from French was a factor but this read as a much more modern novel with more interaction from the main characters. The descriptions of rural Iceland are so detailed you can almost smell the smoked fish.
This is one of Jules Verne's lesser known novels and The Green Ray is much more of a romance than the others, but the dramatic detail of the rugged Scottish coastline is not sacrificed for it. This is also the only one where a woman is one of the most prominent characters.
I love travel writing, I love adventures and that makes these perfect stories for me.