Master of the World

Master of the World, Jules Verne

This slender work is apparently a sequel to an earlier Verne novella, Robur the Conqueror.  Perhaps if I had read Robur I would have enjoyed Master of the World a bit more, but I have my doubts.  As it stands, I found that this book, which I bought for 25 cents at the library book sale and finished in one night, was worth about as much effort as I put into it.

The plot of the story (SPOILERS AHEAD!) is that there is a super vehicle, that can drive and fly and go under water and above water.  It speeds through towns at an amazing, unheard of speed (150 mph!), so fast that no one can even really see it, and flies at an astonishing 200 mph!  The creator of this magical, unstoppable vehicle declares himself the Master of the World and orders people not to look for him.  However, one of the nation’s best detectives is hot on his trail.  Then the vehicle crashes but the creator isn’t found.  The End.

Not every book needs an amazing plot that drives it forward, or to answer every question it raises.   However, Verne, as much as I love him, doesn’t exactly write character studies or philosophically oriented novels.  He’s really more of a plot and story type of author.  When there isn’t a plot or story…. well, there’s not much else.  I can imagine being astounded by Vernes’ imagination if I read this book 110 years ago, but I can’t say it holds up much past that.  I don’t begrudge the book my 25 cents, and I suppose if you’re stuck on an airplane, or in a long line with your phone almost dead, reading this is better than not reading.  Other than that, though, I suggest giving this one a pass.

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