Captain Nemo: The Fantastic Adventures of a Dark Genius
By Kevin J. Anderson
Jules Verne and André Nemo are almost inseparable as young boys. Exploring and testing André’s new inventions are what drives their days, although Andre’s the brave one with Jules usually watching on the sidelines. When André’s father dies in a shipbuilding accident, he takes off on an adventure of his own while Jules stays at home, goes to school, and prepares himself to enter into the family business with his father. Jules always dreamed of being a writer, and having his own adventures like Andre, but he has trouble finding his writing stride. And his writing income is almost as non-existent as his adventurous lifestyle. But when he starts writing about André’s adventures, he finds worlds previously unknown to him are now wide open.
Captain Nemo is a fun imagining of where all of Jules Verne’s tales come from — 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, to name a few. Yes, some of it is slightly unbelievable but so are Verne’s tales so I was willing to drift out of reality for this one. There is a love story here as well but it fits nicely in the background without feeling too intrusive. Honestly, I say that because I’m not one for mixing too much romance with my science fiction and fantasy. I agree it has a place but I prefer it fit with the story and not feel tacked on.
Titan Books pitched this one to me around the time I was reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and I jumped at the chance to read it. I’m glad I had at least a small knowledge of Verne’s writing before reading this one too as Anderson does dig deep on some of his adventures. While I’m familiar with Verne’s books, I’m still working on reading most of them and this book made me want to continue.
Anderson is an author I’ve heard of but haven’t read. I think I now want to take a look at a few of his books though — I found this one entertaining and fun and I hope that’s the kind of author he is overall. He obviously has a good knowledge and appreciation of Verne’s work. He captures the adventurous writing style and keeps the pace going throughout. And even at certain points where you know where the story is going, you want to keep reading to see Anderson’s take on it. A few scenes from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea come to mind here. It’s an homage that works well. If you’re looking for something fun, this one was good.