The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, Fiction, Fantasy & Magic
During the American Civil War, five northern prisoners of war decide to escape, during the siege of Richmond, Virginia, by hijacking a balloon. There is no safety visible beneath them, as the gas falls and the balloon loses altitude. The windswept, watery expanse presents not a single speck of solid surface upon which their anchor might hold. That they are riding in this gondola beneath the balloon is already an act of desperation -- for they are prisoners of war, who hit upon this mad scheme for aerial escape: the theft of the balloon moored and awaiting abatement of the storm, to ride with it directly up into those turbulent clouds! Through rare luck and ingenuity, the escapees manage to keep the balloon above the waves until a speck of land comes into sight, and within reach . . . a piece of uncharted and unknown land that promises safety and survival -- but which presents life-threatening challenges and holds at its heart a supreme mystery.
Jules Gabriel Verne (8 February 1828 - 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, a series of bestselling adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).
Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation was markedly different in Anglophone regions where he had often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children's books, largely because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels have often been printed. Since the 1980s, his literary reputation has improved.
Verne has been the second most-translated author in the world since 1979, ranking between Agatha Christie and William Shakespeare. He has sometimes been called the "Father of Science Fiction", a title that has also been given to H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback
Verne was born on 8 February 1828, on Île Feydeau, a small artificial island on the Loire River within the town of Nantes, in No. 4 Rue Olivier-de-Clisson, the house of his maternal grandmother Dame Sophie Allotte de la Fuÿe. His parents were Pierre Verne, an attorney originally from Provins, and Sophie Allote de la Fuÿe, a Nantes woman from a local family of navigators and shipowners, of distant Scottish descent.[a] In 1829, the Verne family moved some hundred meters away to No. 2 Quai Jean-Bart, where Verne's brother Paul was born the same year. Three sisters, Anna (1836), Mathilde (1839), and Marie (1842) would follow.
In 1834, at the age of six, Verne was sent to boarding school at 5 Place du Bouffay in Nantes. The teacher, Mme Sambin, was the widow of a naval captain who had disappeared some 30 years before. Mme Sambin often told the students that her husband was a shipwrecked castaway and that he would eventually return like Robinson Crusoe from his desert island paradise. The theme of the Robinsonade would stay with Verne throughout his life and appear in many of his novels, including The Mysterious Island (1874), Second Fatherland (1900), and The School for Robinsons (1882).