Title: From Earth to Moon and a Trip Round It, Direct in 97 Hours 10 Minutes
Author: Jules Verne, transl. anonymous
Publisher: Sampson Low, Marston. Early 1900s.
Condition: Hardcover, illustrated cover. Slight foxing to edges, text clean. School prize plate dated 1927 on front endpaper, to Harold E. Lambert (probably not the famous Africanist).
This book is a combination of two novels by Jules Verne, From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and Around the Moon (1870), the latter being a sequel to the former.
From the Earth to the Moon, first published in 1865, describes post-Civil War America, in which the Baltimore Gun Club endeavours to send three individuals to the moon. To do this, the club develops a large cannon meant to shoot the individuals to the moon. The club succeeds in launching the cannon, but the fate of the three individuals is not related, leaving the book somewhat inconclusive.
Its sequel Around the Moon was published in 1870 and continues the story of the three individuals sent to the moon. The journey takes five days, during which the individuals go through adventures and try to find answers to questions such as, “Is there life on the moon?”. They don’t actually succeed in landing on the moon, although they spend a good amount of time circling it.
Like many of Verne’s other novels, these two are incredible in two respects: their influence on writers and scientists, and their foreshadowing of 20th century technology.
From Earth to Moon inspired works such as H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon and the first-ever science fiction film, A Trip to the Moon, produced in 1902 by Georges Méliès. Even more incredibly, the books inspired rocket scientists such as Robert H. Goddard, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Hermann Oberth, as well as the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission.
The novel also gives detailed explanations and calculations on how to build the space cannon or projectile, which are surprisingly close to the numbers and mechanics of the actual spacecraft of today. It also describes three other inventions that have come true – the Splashdown Spaceship, (a type of spacecraft that lands in the ocean), Lunar Modules (a crew capsule attached to the top of a rocket) and Solar Sails (light-propelled spacecraft).