Butcher: Jules Verne

From Science Besieged

 
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William Butcher, Jules Verne : The Definitive Biography. New York : Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006. xxxii + 369 pages.

William Butcher is arguably the world’s foremost authority on Jules Verne. In this biography, he traces Verne’s life and career as the most read and most translated authorin French. Oddly, most of Verne's has never been published as he wrote it.

Verne is often thought of as the father of science fiction. However he was not a trained scientist in any meaning of that word. His father, a lawyer, insisted that Jules follow in his footsteps. But his heart was in literature, not the law.

Verne’s effect on popular science fiction as a genre of literature is immense. Still he never thought of himself in this way. He wanted to be a playright, and, thanks to a manipulative publisher, spent most of his time and considerable literary talents writing “educational” books for “the young”.

Butcher’s thorough biography is worth the reading. His writing is clear and entertaining. Verne’s oeuvre is discussed in detail and every page is full of interest and insight.

One doesn’t need to be a scientist, it seems, to be taken for an insightful science-fiction author.

-- Notes by SJB