This past February 8th, Google posted the coolest “Google Doodle” mini-app EVER (and there’s a hi-res version of it here). Jules Verne was one of my boyhood heroes – one of the best books I read in my youth was Around the World in 80 Days, which given my life as an Air Force brat resonated with me pretty well. Phileas Fogg and Passepartout were heros, for different reasons – Fogg for being a Don Quixote adventurer, answering to no one but himself, setting out to take huge risks to prove a rediculose point for no better reason than because he said he could; and Passepartout playing the loyal Sancho Panza, facilitating his employer’s madness while by and large enjoying the ride. (As we said about my ancient Uncle Zignorine, when he thought he was a chicken – sure, it’s a shame, but we need the eggs.)
Jules Verne predicted the future, from submersible ships to space flight, including the concept of mutually assured destruction as a deterrent to war, high-speed trains, calculators, a worldwide “telegraphic” communications network that sounds suspiciously like the Internet, and the idea that governments would execute criminals by electric charge. That was a hell of a leap in 1863.
The Google doodle also reminded me of this comic, which I think I’ve linked to here before – but it bears repeating. It’s called “Mr. Bookseller” by a guy named Darko Macan, a brilliant artist. The depiction of Anton re-reading his old copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea came to mind as I navigated the Google artwork – lost again as I was in the memory of an old book.
Good stuff, and my hat’s off to Google for that one. Next up, stepping into the future with Ray Kurzweil!