Edited by Mike Ashley & Eric Brown

Carroll & Graf


498 pp/$13.95/2005

Finding Serenity
Cover by Mary Evans Picture Library

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

While everyone knows the name of the nineteenth century French author Jules Verne, most people will name one of a handful of his books if pressed: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in 80 Days, and Journey to the Center of the Earth are probably the ones most familiar in the early twenty-first century. However, Verne had a vast body of work, not all of it using the tropes of science fiction. Mike Ashley and Eric Brown have now commissioned several authors to write stories not only in the style of Verne, but also based on his life and stories. These tales are collected in The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures.

Based on a broad range of Verne's work, many of which may not be familiar to the readers, the stories are arranged in chronological order based on the source material. Editors Ashley and Brown have provided succinct introductions to each piece which attempt to give the readers the necessary background to fully enjoy each of the stories along with its references to Verne's work.

Some of the stories, such as Michael Pagel's "The True Story of Wilhelm Storitz" are an amalgamation of Verne's writings (in this case The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz) and the writing of other authors, such as H.G. Wells. Other Victorian era characters and ideas also make appearances in a variety of the stories. These stories rely on even more knowledge of literature than most and the enjoyment of them is directly proportional the to the reader's knowledge of Wells, Lovecraft, or Conan Doyle.

The more successful tales in The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures are those which take Verne's stories as a starting point and try to provide background or explanations which Verne did not include. Paul Di Filippo's "The Mysterious Iowans" is one of these as is Michael Mallory's explanation of Captain Nemo's biography in "The Secret of the Nautilus."

Other stories are based on the style of tale told by Verne, providing voyages extraordinaire which have no direct correlation to the works of Verne. Justina Robson's "The Adventurer' League" Rather than continue the story of Captain Nemo or one of Verne's other characters, Robson's tale takes place in a world of her own making (from Natural History) and her characters can be seen as literary descendants of Jules Verne's characters.

While a deep and broad knowledge of Jules Verne will permit the reader to more fully enjoy the stories included in The Mammoth Book of New Jules Verne Adventures, it is not essential to have some enjoyment of the stories, although it is clear that readers who do not know the source material will feel that they are missing some of the background for some of the stories.

Stephen Baxter A Drama on the Railway
Brian Stableford Jehan Thun's Quest
Eric Brown Six Weeks in a Balloon
James Lovegrove Londres au XXIe Siecle
Ian Watson Giant Dwarfs
Peter Crowther Cliff Rhodes and the Most Important Journey
Laurent Genefort The True Story of Barbicane's Voyage
Stephen Baxter Columbiad
F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre Tableaux
Michael Mallory The Secret of the Nautilus
Keith Brooke Doctor Bull's Intervention
Johan Heliot The Very First Affair
Kevin J. Anderson & Sarah A. Hoyt Eighty Letters, Plus One
Justina Robson The Adventurers' League
Adam Roberts Hector Servadec, fils
Paul Di Filippo The Mysterious Iowans
Tim Lebbon Old Light
Molly Brown The Selene Gardening Society
Tony Ballantyne A Matter of Mathematics
Richard A. Lupoff The Secret of the Sahara
Sharan Newman The Golden Quest
Michael Pagel The True Story of Wilhelm Storitz
Liz Williams The Shoal

Purchase this book from Amazon Books

Return to