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From the Asylum Library: Jules Verne

NEW COLUMN ALERT! Now and again, as is true of most motion picture studios, The Asylum will look toward the world of letters for inspiration. The public domain offers an array of spectacular, action-packed, thrilling, and - most importantly - free works ripe for the updating. In this occasional column, I'll take a look at the literary giants from which The Asylum has borrowed. And whom better to start with than the man many consider to be the father of science-fiction: the inimitable Jules Verne.

Jules Verne was born in picturesque Brittany in the early part of the Nineteenth Century. As a young man, his love for travel and adventure beget an imagination that could transport him places life had yet to. This imagination would in time evolve into an innovative form of speculative fiction that became a telescope into our future. Submarines, hot air balloons, space travel and even the fax machine are among the mechanical realities that first saw description in the books of Jules Verne. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, From the Earth to the Moon, Mysterious Island, Paris in the 20th Century, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days - it's titles like these and dozens more that have made Mr. Verne, nearly two hundred years after his birth, the third most translated author in the world and the source of more than 130 films, including some of the earliest work in special effects from cinematic magicians like Verne's fellow-Frenchman George Melies. 

Though that moniker I mentioned above - "the father of science fiction" - is often shared with his somewhat-contemporary H.G. Wells, it's worth remembering that Monsieur Verne's first notable novel, "Five Weeks in a Balloon," was published three years before Mr. Wells was even born.

As far as The Asylum is concerned, Mr. Verne and his fertile imagination have spawned only two films so far, Journey to the Center of the Earth with DeeDee Pfeiffer and Greg Evigan, and 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Lorenzo Lamas, but his influence can also be felt in films like 100 Million BC and The Terminators, if you'll stretch with me. 

But oh the films they could make: as most of the bigger titles have been mined to death and are in fact just outdated - no matter how inventive you are, it's tough to update From the Earth to the Moon without replacing one or the other - the best place to mine I think would be the lesser-known fare like Journeys and Adventures of Captain Hatteras, In Search of the Castaways, Off On a Comet, Eight Hundred Leagues On the Amazon or dozens others. 

Verne's a proven money-maker, the original Philip K. Dick when it comes to sci-fi writers Hollywood loves to make and remake and remake again. But a run through his back catalog could do for The Asylum what Poe did for AIP. Or not. Either way, we'd get some rad movies out of it.

Something to think about.

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