Jules Verne (1828-1905) created the Voyages Extraordinaires, a series of well-researched adventure novels that crossed the globe. The first of these was Five Weeks in a Balloon in 1863 and the last of fifty-four was Invasion of the Sea (1905). Verne is often seen as a Science Fiction writer (and he is important in that history) but his work is more often “adventure fiction” first. Since he took his intrepid explorers everywhere on the earth he would certainly have written about the two polar regions.

He did this in five different novels, the first two concerning the brave explorer, Captain John Hatteras and his drive to find an ice-free path to the North Pole. The next mention of a pole is the South Pole which appears in a section of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Along with the remains of Atlantis, Captain Nemo also finds a waterway to the South Pole. (This of course is known to be completely false, but Verne worked with the knowledge he had.) The Sphinx of the Ice Fields was a sequel to a book Verne did not write. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe ends with a mystery. Verne provided his answer. H. P. Lovecraft would do the same in 1931 when he wrote “At the Mountains of Madness”. The Purchase of the North Pole is the third in the Baltimore Gun Club series. In the first two books, the Gun Club shoot a spaceship bullet at the moon and the astronauts observe what is on that satellite. This third book is also Science Fiction in that the Gun Club members come out of retirement to create an even bigger cannon that is meant to change the earth’s axis and eliminate seasons.

Whether you read him for Science Fiction reasons or adventure fiction reasons, it doesn’t matter. Either way Jules Verne will always give you a tale of rocking adventure, on or off the Earth.

(1866) The English at the North Pole

(1866) The Desert of Ice

(1870) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

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(1897) The Sphinx of the Ice Fields

(1889) The Purchase of the North Pole

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