Dedicated to classics and hits.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012


Around the World in 80 Days
by Jules Verne
p. 1872

    Jules Verne is best known as an early practitioner of Science Fiction, but Around the World in Eighty Days, arguably his most popular, enduring work, is more like an Action-Adventure movie than Science Fiction.  In it, Phineas Fogg, London gentleman, sets off on a round-the-world-trip after making a bet over dinner at his Gentlemen's club.  The Wikipedia entry for Around the World in 80 Days basically says this book has been critically disrespected due to a combination of poor translation and a critical lack of respect for what is commonly called "Children's Literature."

     But as I reviewed recent coverage of the opening of Hunger Games, it couldn't be more clear that the BEST way for an Author to establish an enduring Audience is for he or she to write a commercially successful series of Young Adult Fiction- whether it be boy wizards, post-apocalyptic game shows, vampires OR A COMBINATION OF ALL THREE.   That is probably due to a fact that the "average" reading level for most adults- and adults who read books and buy movie tickets- is "Young Adult."   The Audience for the "serious" novels that have the same status of being included on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list (2006 ed.) is minimal by comparison. Has anyone read The Enchanted Wanderer by Nicolar Leskov? Published the same year as Around The World in Eight Days by Jules Verne?  I'm guessing that is no one.   No one has read The Enchanted Wanderer by Nicolai Leskov, because he's an obscure Russian language author who doesn't write adventure stories for children.

   It is pretty clear to me after reading Around the World in Eighty Days, as well as other mid to late 19th century Adventure titles by Robert Louis Stevenson and H. Ridder Haggard, that there is not better advise to a young writer then, "Write a children's adventure book and include a supernatural element."    If people find the universe engaging and like the main character, the rest can just fall into place.

  So in that way- Around the World in Eighty Days is a seminal title in that the pacing approximates the contemporary pace for a work of young adult fiction- even if the idea is less appealing and the original text as written in French as it ever was.    Within the DNA of Around the World in Eighty Days is the foundation of every Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, James Bond,  Spy Novel,  Airport Thriller every written.

  Let's put it this way- if your favorite novel of all time is The Enchanted Wanderer by Nicolai Leskov, the odds of developing an Audience for your fiction is about one in a million.  If, on the other hand, you are emulating Jules Verne in Around the World in Eighty Days, you are up to a 1 in 10,000 level of success, just because you are writing something that has an established Audience and a proven track record of appealing to the broadest possible Audience.

  Also,   Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne is available for free on any Ereader device of your choice:  KINDLE, IPAD- wtvr.   Check it out, especially would be writers of fiction.

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