(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Although Verne’s career as a writer had begun in 1850, his works enjoyed little popular success before the publication of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth in November, 1864. The novel sold so well that his Parisian publisher, Jules Hetzel, offered Verne a 50 percent increase in payments for all future novels. Hetzel had no qualms about paying three thousand French francs per novel because he believed that Verne’s future novels also would sell well. This significant increase in his earnings enabled Verne to resign his job as a stockbroker. He spent the remaining years of his life as a full-time writer of science-fiction novels. His work remained popular both in France and around the world.

Verne’s publisher at first thought that A Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Verne’s many other science-fiction novels describing fantastic voyages would appeal almost exclusively to young children. Adult readers, however, also discovered much of interest in Verne’s writings, and sales of Verne’s books were higher than expected.

A superficial reading of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth or other, equally popular novels by Verne such as From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870) might make them appear to be little more than highly fanciful but almost unbelievable descriptions of trips to distant places in outer space, under the water, or under Earth’s...

(The entire section is 515 words.)