Denise Hemphill's Reviews > From the Earth to the Moon

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne
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Feb 20, 2012

Read from January 24 to February 20, 2012 — I own a copy

I read the one I got on my kindle, which also had the sequel, Around the Moon. The first part just left them launched into space. The sequel tells what happened then.

One thing I LOVE about Jules Verne is how his characters just throw themselves into situations for the pure adventure of it, which if they had actually done in real life they'd be dead. But in this case I think it was suppose to be kind of funny, watching these people decide ridiculous things. I was still really disturbed the whole way through, at least once they decided to go IN the capsule, about how anyone could possibly be ok with launching themselves to the moon out of a cannon, in a capsule thrown together at the last minute, assuming they'll land there and take up residence, but also knowing (and with one of them feeling sure) that the moon may have no atmosphere or water. It just kind of freaked me out! But on the other hand it was part of how Jules Verne explores the whole rocket/moon/planetary science stuff that was known at the time. He got a lot of stuff right, some really close calculations and how gravity, or the lack of it, would be, how the moon looks so starkly black and white, etc. This was way before anyone had actually had a view of the moon or Earth from space, and it really must have been chilling to read it back then! He understood what the vacuum of space would do, but still had his characters open a portal to dump their trash out real quick, without being sucked out. I think a lot of what he had them do was suppose to be tongue in cheek, like that one or two would go on and on about these lengthy scientific explanations, then be like *oh if we're real quick we can dump out the dead dog and our chamber pot into space - no problem!* But in terms of the view of what the moon's history was seen to be like, orbit, etc., I love seeing what people thought things would be like on the moon in the 19th century. You can see a lot that through the characters, since they had assumed they'd be farming there, but realized once they saw the moon that they wouldn't be able to. He mentions water on the far side of the moon, but in a way that leaves it indefinite if there is or isn't any there - which of course, no one could see the far side of the moon at the time. I liked how he threw a bone to people who thought there would be water on the moon, and also made it seem like it could have been a trick of the light, so made everyone happy. And of course he goes on and on about details which may be tiring to a lot of people nowadays, but I love it because it's cute, it's like he's so enthusiastic about whatever it is he's describing and can't bear to leave any of it out! I liked the characters a lot, although if all I had to go on was from this book, I would assume that no females existed in the 19th century. Oh well such was the state of sci fi for a long time, and at least it didn't have constant descriptions of boobs.

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