Jules Verne Is Born

Jules Verne, author of A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days, was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France.

His depictions of fantastic technological advances, including space travel and television, helped create the genre of science fiction. Inspired by Verne's popular novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, American reporter Nellie Bly bested the record of fictional Phileas Fogg, when she completed her 1889-90 circumnavigation in just 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds.

In 1863, French readers were enjoying Verne's Five Weeks in a Balloon. Simultaneously, the United States Army was using balloons lofted by hydrogen gas in Civil War reconnaissance missions. The May 31, 1862 photograph above shows Prof. Thaddeus S. Lowe observing a Peninsular Campaign battle from a balloon anchored by soldiers on the ground. After the war, balloons were used to create detailed images, called "bird's-eye views," of parks, cities, and even the fairgrounds of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia.

Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828 – March 24, 1905) was a French author who helped pioneer the science-fiction genre. He is best known for his novels A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1869–1870), Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) and The Mysterious Island (1875). Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of space travel had been devised. Consequently he is often referred to as the "Father of science fiction", along with H. G. Wells. Verne is the second most translated author of all time, only behind Agatha Christie, with 4162 translations, according to Index Translationum. Some of his works have been made into films.v