A Trip to Venus, Review

by on July 29th, 2010
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Published in 1897, written some time before 1889, this novel was the first to predict that space travel would be accomplished by a mutii-staged rocket. It also discussed the possibility of building an artificial planet, what we call a space station. John Munro was an UK engineer, professor of mechanical engineering at Bristol, writer of popular science books and an editor and contributor to Cassell’s Magazine, mostly on scientific subjects.

Munro was, unlike so many scientifically trained specialists today, a man with a Liberal Arts education which included a love of poetry and as well had a broad knowledge of the science of his day. There is a marvelous discussion of the scope of astronomical knowledge, circa 1880, which those who like the history of science will find fascinating. Going beyond the science fiction scope of this book with its Jules Verne solid science approach, Munro had a sense of wonder, a love of adventure and the exotic. His description is powerful, transporting and often very poetic, much like Ray Cummings and A. Merritt at their best. If you are familiar with the Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine, this is the sort of story they used to publish.

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