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Jules Verne
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Off On A Comet! A Journey Through Planetary Space

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  643 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews

"Off on a Comet (French: Hector Servadac) is an 1877 science fiction novel by Jules Verne.

The story starts with a comet that touches the Earth in its flight and collects a few small chunks of it. Some forty people of various nations and ages are condemned to a two-year-long journey on the comet. They form a mini-society and coping with the hostile environment of the comet
Published (first published 1877)
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Henry Avila
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain Hector Servadac of the French Army, has an appointment the next day, a duel, but he's not going to meet the Russian Count Wassili Timascheff his opponent, don't disparage Servadac; he's a brave man, maybe a little too sensitive ... The dispute? A charming woman of course , the Captain is French . In 1877 in colonial North Africa, Algeria to be precise, men get bored easily, they need their exorcising (correct spelling). Nevertheless Comet "Gallia", hits the Earth hard, taking chunks of l ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Hector Servadac = Off On A Comet (Extraordinary Voyages #15), Jules Verne
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه اکتبر سال 1992 میلادی
عنوان: در سیارات چه میگذرد؟؛ اثر ژول ورن؛ مترجم: عنایت الله شکیباپور؛ تهران، انتشارات فخر رازی؛ 1370؛ در 370 ص؛
نام اصلی کتاب در فرانسه «هکتور سرواداک» است و عنوان انگلیسی کتاب «سوار بر ستاره دنباله دار»؛ به فارسی ترجمه شده: در سیارات چه میگذرد؟
در شبی مه آلود… در ورودی دریای مدیترانه، ستاره ای دنباله دار به نام گالیا، که در بند جاذبه زمین گرفتار شده، در گردش خود، با بخشی از
Gavin Stephenson-Jackman
This is one of lesser known books by Jules Verne and again shows the wonderful imagination of this classic author. During the night there is an earthquake near the entrance to the Mediterranean and when the inhabitants of the area wake up the world had changed. Unknown to them at the time the earth has come in contact with a comet and they and small portions of the earth have been swept up by the comment and carried away.

An English garrison on Gibraltar, a part of Algeria and some other chunks o
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, I actually enjoyed it more that I thought I would. I started reading it a little skeptical but I admit I should have had faith in Jules Verne and his ability to bring even the most far reaching of stories to life. The basic premise of this book is that a comet side swipes Earth and in doing so steals away a small part of the planet, complete with people, animals and plants. We then follow these survivors as they endeavour to go about their daily lives and ...more
This was originally published in 1877 in France, with the title “Hector Servadac.” As happened with many of Jules Verne’s works, there was a very rapid translation to English containing numerous alterations, paraphrasings, and rearrangements. In 1911, that translation was further shortened and published using the title “Off On A Comet.” I read a free kindle edition of that 1911 translation, that was made available from the public domain.

I have two issues to take with this novel. First, Jules Ver
Nov 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Verne completists
The science of this fiction appears to be frankly unbelievable even by mid-19th century standards. We are asked to believe that a comet with a large metallic core hit the earth hard enough to carry of a significant part of the Mediterranean--from British Gibraltar to French Algeria, and a bit of Sicily -- yet did it so gently that all the inhabitants of the area comfortably survived, and what is more (since it was a dark and foggy night) the rest of the earth hardly noticed, and doubted the rep ...more
Feb 10, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I LOVED this! I read it so long ago I can barely remember many of the details, but I remember the feeling of delight I had in reading it, that still brings a smile to my face just reading the title. Now I have to go find it again so I can enjoy it in real life, not just as a vague memory.


I can only conclude (adding to my previous review) that the edition of this book I read as I child must have been either abridged, or I completely missed the sad stereotypes, carried sadly to a point of caric
Marts  (Thinker)
Mar 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jules Verne fans
As a Jules Verne fan, I'll admit that this isn't one of his best novels, however I'd still give it 4 stars for that element of adventure therein that Mr. Verne was definitely a master of...

Vague summary: ...imagine a chunk of Earth being stolen away by a comet complete with a store of breathable air and water, strangely no humans, animals, or other terrestrial objects, are injured by this collision, and proceed to exist on this 'flaming' rock for about 2 years! The other strange thing is that j
Sep 24, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
An interesting but far fetched premise and lacking the reader involvement I found in the far superior "The Mysterious Island".
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
El planteamiento general es muy interesante: un cometa pasa muy cerca de la tierra y se lleva con él una parte intacta, junto con su superficie, atmósfera, mares y seres vivos. La historia se desarrolla mientras sus personajes perciben cambios físicos en su entorno y descifran lo que ha sucedido al tiempo que dan un paseo de dos años por el sistema solar. A pesar de esta interesante premisa, el libro se ve opacado por un constante e innecesario antisemitismo y racismo en general. Franceses, ruso ...more
Rocket to Mars
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picked
The preface of the edition I read anticipated that this was one of Verne's inferior works, with over the top hardly-believable science, so my expectations going into it were quite low. Despite this I found the book to be rather enjoyable, as this author's imagination is always fun to experience. It is true that it's unfeasible to suspend disbelief as far as the science goes, and even though the characters are extremely cliché for Verne's style and as usual everything is just too perfect in terms ...more
Dennis Lynch
An 1860s space travel yarn, with reasonable math and science up to date for 150 years ago. (Except for the parts Verne conveniently ignores.) The cast is made up of standard characters: military, lesser royalty, servants and others. The Scientist is an arrogant and argumentative jerk.
It is a damaged work down because the "villain" of the piece is a Jewish shylock. At one point, Verne spends 3 pages just describing how awful Jews are. He is persistently focused only on how much money he can make,
Feb 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Luke Bell
The premise is pretty absurd but the exploration of the 'comet' by the survivors is quite fun for a while. I lost interest about a third of the way through however when casual anti-Semitism became part of the narrative. It was written in a different time, but I expected better of Verne. Disappointing.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2017
A wonderful flight of fantasy only spoiled by the anti-semitic views of the author.
Sep 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that Jules Verne is a fantastic story-creator but just a mediocre story-teller. He is phenomenal at devising these spectacular adventure fantasies whose settings and circumstances are really interesting and draw me in as a reader (and imagine how much more so for contemporary readers when all of his writings were very futuristic. But I find myself staying around for how he explains the settings and circumstance play out, not for any attachment to the characters or great interest in the p ...more
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Die Idee zu dem Buch - Erde wird von einem Kometen getroffen - und der Autor ließen ja auf eine spannende Geschichte hoffen. Leider bringt uns Jules Verne in diesem Machwerk, mit seinen leblosen Charaktere, höchstens die Vorurteile seiner Zeit näher, aber eine gute Geschichte erzählt er dabei nicht.
Man ist zwiegespalten, ob die klischeebehafteten Charaktere ohne irgendeine Entwicklung, oder die absurden Lösungen zu Problemen, die so ein Komet mit sich bringt, den Leser mehr auf die Probe stellen
Larry Kollar
Sep 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, classic
I suspect that with steampunk's popularity, classic SF novelists like H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are getting a fresh look — if nothing else, to get insights into the society of the time. Compared to others of Verne's works, this one is obscure but still worth reading. Mostly.

A comet grazes the earth and carries off a few dozen Europeans, along with the dirt and buildings surrounding them. The mechanism of how this is accomplished is glossed over, somewhat of a departure from Verne's other SF wor
Gottfried Neuner
Dreadful. I was reading the old English translation of the book, which always is a problem because Jules Verne was butchered whenever translated into English. But this only accounts for some of the problems of the story. Verne seems to have tried to write a more funny take on nationalities of Europe, and so we have our hero Hector get whisked away from Algeria by a comet, which coincidentally also took part of the Med with it, including some of the most annoying stereotypes of European nationali ...more
Aug 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: year-2015
This book requires a SERIOUS suspension of disbelief. A comet approaches the Earth, and NO ONE NOTICES because of a "worldwide fog"? Said comet grazes the Earth, carrying off part of Algeria, Gibraltar, Ceuta, about 40-50 people, half of the Mediterranean Sea, some of Earth's atmosphere, as well as cattle, sheep, goats, and seabirds? The landscape features carried away are deposited RIGHT SIDE UP on the surface of the comet, so that the shorelines and rivers are recognizable? An active VOLCANO j ...more
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, sf-fantasy
Odd, almost surreal book that combines elements from other Verne books and places them in a sci-fi setting that borders on being a fairy tale.

A chunk of the Earth is scooped up by a comet collision, along with three dozen various soldiers, sailors, and assorted kids and servants, who are taken along on a trip through the solar system.
The whole thing is an odd mix of 'Mysterious Island' and 'Round the moon'.

Where it stumbles is that Vernes' usual bits of satire of the various nationalities of Eur
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this is a fairly enjoyable read, it has not survived the passage of time well. It is basically the same story as The Mysterious Island, but on a comet instead of on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. While the Mysterious Island is an interesting account of how people without resources could recreate the technology of the nineteenth century, Off on a Comet is a speculation of what it would be like to be marooned on a comet, and Verne's speculations on the subject don't hold up. ...more
John Peel
I read this book as a young teen and absolutely loved it, though even then I realized how implausible the plot was. A comet barely touches the Earth and carries off a group of people as it then flies off into space. Luckily, it also takes along air! The brave adventurers must survive the frigid depths of space and hope to return somehow to the Earth... It's still a great adventure story, even if it is impossible. But - and it's a BIG but - what I didn't catch onto as a young teen is now glaringl ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, science-fiction
This is one of Verne's minor novels. A comet brushes the Earth and carries off part of the Mediterranean Sea, along with a chunk of Algeria and a scattering of islands, as well as a French officer and his servant and various other assorted characters. It is readable and often entertaining, though the science is not particularly plausible and the ending doesn't entirely hold up. The real problem though is the anti-semitism demonstrated towards the one Jewish character. It's a common problem in no ...more
Manuel Alfonseca
Together with Voyage au centre de la Terre, one of the most imaginative of Verne's travel novels. In this case we have a trip on board of a comet through the solar system, beyond Jupiter's orbit. Of course, the novel is completely unbelievable and contains a few scientific mistakes (not so many as it could seem at first sight, given the scientific status of the age, 1877). There are also some defects in style, such as the endless repetition of the phrase le capitaine Servadac, le comte Timaschef ...more
Kati Steinke
I know old books have to be taken as a product of their time, and where the science was concerned, I could do that. The characters - mustache-chewing, poem-writing Servadac, Ben Zoof and his pride for Montmartre, sailor-scientist Lieutenant Procope, ...eccentric... Professor Rosette and the others - promised to make this an enjoyable read.
And then there was Isaac Hakkabut, whom I have to describe as one of the worst stereotypes I have ever read. This character soured a great part of the book fo
John (Taloni) Taloni
A decent read for Verne fans. Try his major and even minor works before reading this. The science is passable at best and there is a deus ex machina plot point at both the start and end. Fairly decent character development. The French viewpoint can be hilarious, especially in its description of the English. The light fun of the book is somewhat spoiled by heavy anti-semitism.

If you have a few hours and want a free book, the price is right over at
Joe Gruberman
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly fascinating and inventive account of a group of people who find themselves hurling through the solar system on what appears to be a chunk of terra firma. The story is nearly ruined for me by several racist references -- particularly in regards to a Shylock-like character -- that are forgivable only by virtue of the times in which it was written, and the underlying absurdity of the premise.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Yes, there is a very badly stereo typed jewish merchant. beyone this is an interesting tale that is fitting with Verne's other works. A long tale, sometimes full of to much exposition, following a journey of our principal characters mixed with eposodic adventures.

I enjoyed it, and it you like Verne's other works, give it a read.
David R.
This is one of Verne's best kept secrets. The adventure is absurd, but entertaining. In a nutshell, a comet scoops part of the Mediterranean basin off earth and on a cometary orbit nearly to Saturn. A handful of humans pontificate, explore, and struggle to survive. The end is...weak. One major negative is an embarrassing antisemitism directed at a stock "shylock" character.
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Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the genre of science-fiction. He is best known for his novels Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means of spa
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“Haven't I heard of men more dried up than he is, being brought all the way from Egypt in cases covered with pictures?" "You idiot!—those were mummies; they had been dead for ages.” 1 likes
“Ben Zoof, whose ideas of discipline were extremely rigid, at once suggested that the colony should be put under the surveillance of the police, that the cardinal points should be placed under restraint, and that the sun should be shot for breach of discipline.” 1 likes
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