Russell's Reviews > Robur the Conqueror

Robur the Conqueror by Jules Verne
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Jun 26, 2012

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Read in June, 2012

Of Verne's stories that I've read, they tend to consist of two major elements, some science fiction and a travelogue. These elements contributed to his success during his life and his continued popularity; he defined the Scientific Romance. In Robur he uses those elements and he tries his hand at another Captain Nemo, but with limited success. Robur is a genius, without a doubt, bold and daring, inventor of a fantastic means of travel, scoops up three unwilling passengers and carts them off for the trip of their lives, but he lacks Nemo's charisma and sanity.

In short Robur builds the first heavier-than-air ship, the Albatross (I kept thinking of Coleridge's poem), a kind of proto-helicopter but with propellers on the sides as well, like a giant prop powered Osprey, and after a pretty successful publicity stunt, he angers a whole club of balloonists in America (Verne's depictions of America are charming, if a bit wrong) and captures the President, his manservant, and the Secretary of said club, hauls them around the world while insulting and belittling them.

Sadly the book doesn't live up to the introduction, but given Verne's output, they can't all be Around the World in Eighty Days.

It's not a bad book, but it's not a superb adventure either.
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