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Captain Nemo steampunked by Kevin J. Anderson

21/11/2011. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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Author Kevin J. Anderson’s newly released novel Captain Nemo (Titan Books) tells a steampunk version of Jules Verne’s creation, Captain Nemo, builder and captain of the Nautilus and secret benefactor to the castaways on the Mysterious Island.

In Anderson’s new book, the story proposes that Andre Nemo and Jules Verne were boyhood friends, intending to run away from dreary small-town France to see the world. A similar event happened in the real life of Jules Verne, but his father caught him in time and whipped the boy so badly that young Jules swore to “adventure only in his imagination.”

In Anderson’s novel Captain Nemo, the boy Verne is caught and sent home. But Nemo does sail off to points unknown, is attacked by pirates, stranded on a mysterious island, finds a cave that leads to the center of the Earth, sails across Africa in a balloon, builds the first sub-marine boat in time for the opening of the Suez Canal—in all, his life’s exploits form the basis of Jules Verne’s novels in true, steampunk fashion.

Originally released by a publisher in 2005, Captain Nemo became an “orphaned book” when the editor lost his job and the novel received very limited distribution.

Anderson told SFcrowsnest, “Of the hundred novels I’ve written, this is one of the closest to my heart. I spent three years researching the life of Jules Verne and the history of the period, as well as Verne’s contemporaries Alexandre Dumas, Victor Hugo, and Emperor Napoleon III. I reread all of Verne’s classic novels, and put the pieces together to create a grand adventure story that distils all of that seminal work. And of course, it could only be done as steampunk.”

Anderson’s own love of the science fiction genre was inspired by the film versions of Jules Verne’s classics 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Mysterious Island, Around the World in Eighty Days, Five Weeks in a Balloon, Master of the World, In Search of the Castaways, and From the Earth to the Moon.

Anderson is best-known for his Dune novels, Star Wars, X-Files, Star Trek, Batman, and Superman work, as well as his own original series The Saga of Seven Suns and Terra Incognita.

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