Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jules Verne's Paris in the Twentieth Century... one of the recent books I've read and one of the few Verne novels that has been faithfully translated into English.

Unfortunately, this early and heretofore unpublished novel, while making several good technological predictions, is repetitive, ultimately pessimistic and relentlessly depressing.

The image in the general public's mind of Verne (especially since the advent of Steampunk) is that he was an optimistic visionary, but his novels tend to display as much trepidation of technology as wonder. In this novel, technological pragmatism stamps out art, culture in general and - finally - the human spirit.

That's not cool.

Verne didn't live to see the day where, in many neighborhoods, you can't throw a stone without hitting an art gallery or an artist - artists that use crazy technology to create and promote their work. It's a future more complex than Verne envisioned.

You gotta love his attempts, though.
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1 comment:

Joel Gray said...

Jules Verne, though he was off on some of his predictions, he did envision some amazing technology that actually exists today.

He came up with a SCUBA tank before it was invented, an electric submarine, a fax machine, glass skyscrapers, an electric gun (similar to a taser), and more.
Check out this article:

Jules Verne: A Novelist Who Accurately Envisioned the Future