I finished reading From the Earth to the Moon thanks to feedbooks the other day. I am awfully fond of Jules Verne as a writer and consider him one of the finest science fiction writers of all time.
But. (Warning: not only are there spoilers ahead, but lots of profanity.)
This particular book is fucking stupid. Really, ridiculously, unbelievably fucking stupid. Here is the premise of the book:
A bunch of guys like building really big guns and blowing people up with them. I like this part. I am fully behind the idea of building guns to blow people up. One day, they say, “let’s build a really big fucking gun and shoot it at the fucking moon. Why? Because the CIvil War is over and we can’t legally blow people up any more.”
Even this, so far, sounds like a pretty great book. Verne spends several chapters “solving” all the engineering problems that go into build a fucking huge gun to shoot at the fucking moon. (An example of a “solution”: let’s build the gun out of aluminum!) Then, he talks about the bullshit theories about the moons (like people living there, which I’m pretty sure people knew was bullshit even in the mid-nineteenth century.) Still, it’s a giant fucking gun, so hey, let’s keep going.
Then, it gets stupider: a crazy French guy says “why not put me in the projectile? That way I can go to the moon!” More “solving” of engineering problems follows, before somebody actually asks a fucking good question: “Let’s suppose you survive, moron. Let’s even suppose you can somehow make air and feed yourself. HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO COME BACK?” His response: “I’m not. I’m going to live there with the moon people! But maybe you can use the giant fucking gun to shoot food at me? Kthxbye!” (I may have added that last part.)
Thrilling subplot: the asshat who comes up with the idea has a mortal nemesis. They agree to go to the moon with the crazy French guy instead of killing each other in a duel. (If you wonder why they are mortal nemeses, it’s because the other guy makes armor plate.)
So how does this book end? Easy! Of course, the aluminum gun shoots the fucking projectile at the fucking moon and it gets there somehow. But, sensibly, because ONLY AT THIS POINT does Jules Verne think “hey, maybe realism?”, nobody finds out what happens to the projectile. Because, you know, it’s on the fucking moon. So the “comedy” side character (who exists mostly to shout things) thinks “I wonder if they made it okay? I hope they did!”
The fucking end.
There is one, and only one, possible saving grace: it could be a work of parody. If it is, it’s still a fucking stupid book, but it’s less stupid.