Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France, in 1828. He was one of the leading writers of his time and one of the founders of the literary genre of science fiction. He described in his novels the possibility of space flight, the use of submarines for travel beneath the ocean, and a variety of other visionary technologies that were realized in the twentieth century.
Verne studied law but after completing his studies, decided to pursue his interest in literature. He began his writing career by writing librettos and plays. His first play to be produced was Les Pailles rompues ("The Broken Straws") in 1850. He later worked as a stockbroker but continued writing at the same time.
In 1863 he published the first of his Voyages extraordinares, a short fantasy called Five Weeks in a Balloon. It was extremely successful and he was encouraged to continue writing romantic adventure stories. He continued with (in French) A Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and The Mysterious Island. One of his most popular stories was Around the World in Eighty Days, which first appeared as a serial. He created a well-documented scientific foundation for his fantastic adventure stories and forecast remarkably accurately many scientific achievements of the 20th century. He anticipated flights into outer space, submarines, television, the aqualung, helicopters, air conditioning, guided missiles, and motion pictures long before they were developed.
A number of popular movies have been made from his books, beginning with A Trip to the Moon.
In 1865 Verne contracted with his publishers to produce two novels a year for the rest of his life for the sum of $4000 annually. At the time of his death in March 1905, he was 12 or 15 books ahead of schedule. Altogether, Verne's body of works includes 65 novels, some 20 short stories and essays, 30 plays, some geographical works, and also opera librettos. He was the last man to be decorated with the Legion of Honor under the Empire of Napoleon III.