The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 14

The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 14

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The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 14

The Works of Jules Verne - Vol. 14

Read FREE!

Excerpt

"Robur the Conqueror" was issued in 1886, coincident with the earliest practical interest which began to stir the world in regard to the "conquest of the air." With his usual boldly scientific imagination Verne, having studied the question thoroughly from all sides, looked into the future, formed a judgment, and pictured the conquering air machine in the style he believed most likely to achieve success.

In his poetical climax Verne declares that Robur is "the spirit of the future"; and it is true that even to-day we can build no airship to match the "Albatross." We have, however, far outdistanced the historical account of aviation which Verne gives us in the course of his story, and which necessarily ceases with the early "eighties." The experiments of Professor Langley in Washington in 1896 started the world on toward a true knowledge of the laws of flight. Since then Professor Zeppelin and a dozen others in the "lighter than air" machines, and the Wright brothers and a hundred others in those "heavier than air," have achieved results which scarce any but Verne himself had even dreamed of, when he wrote "Robur the Conqueror."

The contest between the two schools, the lighter and heavier than air, is however by no means so completely decided as Verne assumes. While perhaps a majority side with him on this point to-day, yet many of our most expert scientists believe that the future lies with the dirigible balloon, rather than with the gliding plane. As for Verne's still more radically "heavy" ship, sustained aloft by the direct lift of her screws, nothing in the least practical has as yet been achieved in that line. On the contrary, it has been almost abandoned for the other more successful styles.

Nearly twenty years after writing "Robur," Jules Verne turned again to the same theme; and in 1905, the very year of his death, his faithful publishers, the, Hetzels, issued "The Master of the World." This, as a sequel to "Robur the Conqueror" is here printed next to it. The sequel . . .

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