As in his more famous works, including Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne's fantastical 1865 publication From the Earth to the Moon predicted that mankind would one day make it all the way to the moon, although the methodology he conceived certainly hasn't caught on yet. In this engaging adventure, a group of weapons enthusiasts turn their attention to the creation of a so-called "space gun" which might be capable of shooting humans all the way into outer space.
Jim Killavey's engaging and well-paced performance accentuates the humor in this classic tale of human ingenuity, and the urge to reach for the stars....
When From the Earth to the Moon was published in 1865, it was regarded as pure fantasy. Who could imagine a rocket that would carry men and animals through space? Today, like so many of Jules Verne's prophecies, space travel is a reality.
©1979 Jimcin Recordings
Considering the state of rocket science in 1865 (when Verne published this story), he presented a plausible, if picturesque, version of how men might reach the moon via what today we'd call a space gun. Some of the math even holds up. It's classic sci-fi and very typical for Verne in that a reader would have a hard time telling where the science ended and the fiction began.
Jules Verne tells the story of a group of discontented Civil War vets (making up the Baltimore Gun Club) who, longing for a challenge with peace now at hand, decide to build a giant cannon to send a projectile to the moon (later deciding to send a manned capsule instead of a cannonball). The story is mostly about the trials and tribulations of building the thing...the story of the voyage itself came in a less-well-known sequel (not on Audible, AFAICT). Compare with "Fountains of Paradise," which has a very similar theme (albeit about a space elevator instead of a space gun).
Maybe not Verne's best, but if you like his stuff in general, you'll probably like this.
My complaint, and it's a big one, is the narration, which is delivered by Jim Roberts...who is (a) one of my least favorite readers on Audible and (b) not the narrator listed on the download page. He mispronounces words (not fancy technical terms, just regular ol' words), he runs out of breath in odd places (like right before the last 2 words in a sentence) and often just plods along. In this case, I think he does a passable job---barely. I decided to be generous and give the performance 2 stars, but the narration detracts from the audiobook.
I love science fiction of this era and have had this on my list for a long time. It is , however ultimately unsatisfying. The work consists largely of a carricaturisation of the supposed American character and a set of mathematical calculations relating to the casting of iron and the propellants for artillery. It feels like the first few chapters of a book that never got finished. The narration is OK but no better. It is a short work which thankfully didn't cost that much but if you are looking for a few hours of classic science fiction look elsewhere.
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