Friday, 14 March 2014

Anderson Versus Verne

Jules Verne is tedious! I might not finish Hector Servadac/Off On A Comet although I do want to check what he writes about Jupiter and Saturn. Even when his characters traverse the Solar System, Verne is mainly interested in their national peculiarities, writes very insensitively about a Jewish character and spends far too long, in the pages of a novel, telling us what is already known about comets.

I found one very minor and accidental connection with Poul Anderson. One of Verne's comical British characters refers to the Battle of Hastings as the unfortunate affair at Senlac. Since the fictional American town of Senlac is the birthplace of Anderson's character, Jack Havig, I googled Hastings and Senlac and learned, which I probably have heard before, that a hill called Senlac was a site in the Battle.

In literary terms, Anderson is a successor of Wells far more than of Verne. For one thing, both wrote English. Also, both wrote fiction from their characters' viewpoints, not semi-documentary.

(Note to Ace Books: this is not Verne's only interplanetary novel.)

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