Aside from Jules Verne’s freakishly imaginative insight into the sociology and technology of the future, there was a gift chapter in the middle discussing great French authors, including Stendhal, Hugo, and many others, comparing their works to great generals in the “war against barbarism.” Did Verne guess he would join this pantheon, and that he himself would “astound the age?” It gives me shivers. And who would not delight in Leviathian IV, a gigantic ocean liner with trees and horses on its top deck?
I could not help myself. I had to highlight passages. “I love youth, provided it is young!” “Well, my friend, an army that fights for a financial motive will no longer be composed of soldiers, but of looters and thieves!” “Michel soon identified him as belonging to the genus Number, order Cashier.” “A clock that measures nothing but suffering.” There were many, many others.
All of Verne’s analogies, metaphors, and similes are creative and wonderfully playful. His characters delight in them, as do we, and the camaraderie between his like-minded souls creates in the reader a deep affection for their concerns.