Around the World in 72 Days

Nellie_Bly_2I may have to start a department called “Yesterday in History” for items like this.

It was on November 14, 1889 that New York World journalist Nellie Bly boarded a steamship bound for Europe and began her attempt to break the fictional record of voyaging around the world in 80 days owned by Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg.

Bly would meet Verne in France along the way.

M. Verne asked me what my line of travel was to be, and I was very happy to speak one thing that he could understand, so I told him.

“My line of travel is from New York to London, then Calais, Brindisi, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, Aden, Colombo, Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco, New York.”

“Why do you not go to Bombay as my hero Phileas Fogg did?” M. Verne asked.

“Because I am more anxious to save time than a young widow,” I answered.

“You may save a young widower before you return,” M. Verne said with a smile.

I smiled with a superior knowledge, as women, fancy free, always will at such insinuations.

She succeeded in her quest, making the trip in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes and 14 seconds – with the help of a private train chartered by her publisher to speed her across the U.S. on the last leg of the trip.

Not So Blue Monday

The Crotchety Old Fan sure was crotchety today,  cheering Avatar’s loss at the Oscars.

What especially intrigued me was his reminder that an sf movie has already won an Oscar for Best Picture.    

Back in 1956, Around The World In 80 Days took best picture. Does anyone need a reminder that the movie (with David Niven) was based on the novel by JULES VERNE?  and that the novel itself was just as much a speculative fiction of speculative technologies when written as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was?       

Hey, that’s right! Now tell me, am I allowed to call something “steampunk” if it was written when steam power was the state-of-the-art technology?  

Crotchety adds that a mythopoeic fantasy film has already won Best Picture, too. It’ll come to you in a moment. Or if it doesn’t check his little list of genre nominees to jog your memory.

20,000 DVDs Under the Sea

Nemo-style home theater 

Olly Klassen’s love for Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea drove him to collect souvenir pins, build model subs, and search for Nautilus patches, coins and paperweights.

He wasn’t anyone who was going to be satisfied with owning a copy (or three) of the movie that he could watch anytime. He also needed to have the perfect viewing environment.

Now Klassen has fulfilled his dream of living in a piece of Nemo’s Nautilus by creating a home theatre where he can sit surrounded by the steampunk décor that so fascinated him.

[Via James Hay.]