You may recognize this from the first Thor movie. It takes place during an argument between scientists Jane Foster and Erik Selvig. Despite Selvig’s clear opinion on the topic of science-fiction, there are many cases where he has been found to be flawed in his opinions of science and “magic” as he calls it. I have decided to broach this topic using two of my favourite science fiction authors: H.G Wells and Jules Verne. If you ever watched or read War of the Worlds and/or Journey to the Center of the Earth, you will know who these two famous authors are and the genius they put into their works.
A Brief History of H.G.
Herbert George Wells, born September 21st 1866, wrote dozens of novels, short stories and poems. He was an English writer and remembered to this day as the “father of science fiction” (a distinction he shared with Jules Verne). H.G. had a tendency to write futuristic, dystopian novels in which he wrote on such ideas as air-crafts and hybridization–this we now know to be possible and are in fact pursuing these same fields of genetic modification. Back in H.G.’s days, such things would be considered impossible, but without Verne and Wells, there’d be no such inventions today. Wells’ earliest training was in biology and his ideas on ethics came from Darwinian influence as well as his standing as a socialist from his early days. He was most notable for his works The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and War of the Worlds. Sadly, his career was brought to a an end when he died in August 13th of the year 1946.
A Brief History of Jules
Born Jules Gabriel Verne on 8 September 1828, he went on to become a French novelist, poet and playwright. Three of his most famous works came out of a collaboration he did with the publisher Piere-Jules Hetzel–his famous Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. He also shared the title of the “father of science-fiction” with the above mentioned author, H.G. Through a mutual acquaintance, Verne met and became close friends with Alexandre Dumas, famous author of The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo. Through all of this, Verne continued his studies in law, despite his clear disdain for society as made evident in his work, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Verne’s career as a writer ended in the year 1905, when he died of diabetes. In honour of this great writer, the street he lived in was named after him (Boulevard Jules-Verne). His works continue to inspire us even after his death. In the year 1994, his great-grandson found Verne’s last manuscript Paris in the Twentieth Century in the attic of his home. Soon after he published the last work his great-grandfather would ever write.
How They Determined our Future
There are definitely many authors who have inspired us for all kinds of reasons, but when it comes to early science and predicting the future only two men stand out for me: Herbert George Wells and Jules Gabriel Verne. Two men who explored the unknown. They stretched their minds and dreamed of a future where men would travel the seas in submarines, travel the air in flying machines and travel to the moon. In the novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, Wells explored a science we, now, are only beginning to comprehend. Namely–cloning and hybridization of living organisms. While Jules questioned what existed in the center of the earth, Wells explored what the future would look like. His predictions were shockingly accurate. Wells foresaw a world where we would exchange the Earth for our own so-called happiness. Verne also knew this and desired to hide away from the rest of the world. Captain Nemo’s views on mankind are what we are only now experiencing. So we see that these men predicted the future in ways they will never know. They have inspired generations of scientists from all over the world and undoubtedly will cause us to question the world around us.
These were bold, questioning minds that challenged the norms of science, just like Verne’s very own Phileas Fogg, who strove for the advancement of science. However, let’s not just look at their grasp on science, but acknowledge their knowledge of man’s base nature. Both these men saw the world as plainly as we see our own reflection.
I am going to refer to Jane and Erik’s argument in the beginning of this article. Jane was right. Science fiction will always be a prelude to science fact. If man can imagine it, he will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. We dreamed of the moon and travelling the stars, so we built rockets and explored aeronautics. We wondered what secrets lay in the depths of our seas, so we invented scuba suits and submarines. As I mentioned above there are many brave authors with just as much curiosity as H.G and Jules. These people changed the world. Whether it’s for the good or bad, who can say? I just know, that these men saw possibilities no other human being at the time could’ve.
So listen closely when I say this, my darling avidReaders, question everything. Don’t just accept it because everyone else says it’s true or because science says it’s correct. Look beyond, get your own hands dirty. If you don’t, you may miss out on the chance to cure cancer or pioneer the next generation of robotics. Get digging!
As always, God bless and have a lovely week ahead! 😀