Ol’ Jules had no clue he was pioneering one of the most profitable niches in the film industry when he penned Journey to the Center of the Earth in 1849. He made his living as a magazine writer in France, where his novels were serialized, then published as novels for decades. He did it all with style, meticulously researching scientific journals and averaging a book a year: Journey, From the Earth to the Moon, 20K Leagues, Mysterious Island, all of which won him fame, money, women… the dude was a rock star.
“Moon” was the inspiration for Georges Méliès’ 1902 film feature A Trip to the Moon where passengers were shot out of a cannon (“OK guys, hold yer breath…!”)aimed at Mr. Moon’s blanching eye. Imagine the G-force in that.
He’d never know the chain of successes his novels were with a long list of hit movies that would begin nearly a century later, as he methodically birthed the genre we love and embrace today.
The Father of Sci-Fi? Definitely. But not the Mother. One raging writer broke the Victorian mold decades earlier: Mary Shelly started it all with a little story about a hulking dude who gets reanimated on a glorified kitchen table. Happy 200th anniversary, Frankie!