Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jules Verne!

Jules Verne. February 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905
     Best known for his novels, Around the World in Eighty Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne has often been listed among the people who most influenced the steampunk genre.  His visionary stories took readers to worlds they had never before imagined, and did it in style.  He is said to have based his writing on the experiences he had while traveling.  While not exhaustive, the Wikipedia article gives a brief synopsis of his life. 

Since he was born a Frenchman, it is fitting that an exclusive Paris restaurant in the Eiffel Tower bears his name: Le Restaurant Jules Verne. They serve traditional French cuisine.

     Google even honored him with a very clever interactive Google Doodle which turned the Google name into an underwater landscape complete with fish, squid, bubbles, and other aquatic delights which users could navigate using a virtual lever or with the accelerometer feature in  iOS devices. Watch out for that narwhal!
Here is a video of the scene, since the logo was taken down after the 8th was over:

     The official Jules Verne museum is in Nantes, France.  To quote the Eurostar website, "The museum is located within a former bourgeois residence that dates back to the 19th century [not Verne's residence], and within one can admire displays of Verne's manuscripts, scale-models and personal items… The museum also features extensive multimedia and interactive displays to guide the visitor in his discovery, wandering the mindscape of an artist and inventor, a genius and an entertainer."

Jules Verne museum, Nantes, France

(Apparently there is a JV museum in "Second Life", too, which features a "full-sized" submarine....)

JV museum in "Second Life"
      As a visionary, Verne often pictured inventions and methods which were ahead of his time.  Here is a list of some technologies mentioned in Verne's novels which came into use in later years, including the ideas for SETI, SCUBA, retro rockets, and undersea mining.

Happy birthday, Mr. Verne!


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