The story reads much like the later speculative fiction of John Wyndham - showing as much care and concern for how it *could* happen, and how it might actually *play out* as for the progression of the story or theme itself (think Trouble with Lichen or The Kraken Wakes). This is great stuff. After Wyndham, this kind of spec/sci-fi pulls far away from my interest, where writers get too bogged down in the detail of the science (say, Crichton's Andromeda Strain, for example). I just don't care that much about the numbers, and they start to crowd out the story.
Still, Verne is writing in the 19th C. - a unique and compelling point in the history of science, discovery, exploration, warfare and ethnography. This is what makes his speculations so engaging for the contemporary reader. They're completely implausible, but so thoroughly, carefully and artfully thought out. What *if* we created a giant cannon, put some people and a few dogs in the projectile, and shot it at the moon. Who would we find there? What would they be like? How would all of this play out?
|Firing the travelers from the (buried) |
900 foot 'Columbiad' cannon.
Spoiler alert - The title "From Earth to the Moon" is highly misleading. The sequel, "Around the Moon" is somewhat more appropriately titled, but both (as bundled here) are generally and colloquially called "From Earth to the Moon." At no point do they land on the moon! The source of confusion - an early and iconic silent film *based* on Verne's novels (and those of H.G. Wells) that muddy associations with the original text, at least for me. While this doesn't detract from the story, it was a disappointment, as I must admit I was puzzled and anxious to see how Verne addressed landing and returning from the lunar surface. The let down was my baggage, not his.
|"We were totally lied to by our album covers..."|