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URL :  Robur the Conqueror
Author : 

Jules Verne

Detail : 

This science fiction novel, published in 1886 is also known as The Clipper of the Clouds. It has a sequel, The Master of the World, which was published in 1904.

The story begins with strange lights and sounds, including blaring trumpet music, reported in the skies all over the world. The events are capped by the mysterious appearance of black flags with gold suns atop tall historic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty in New York, the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, and the Eiffel Tower in Paris. These events are all the work of the mysterious Robur (Latin for "oak"), a brilliant inventor who intrudes on a meeting of a flight-enthusiast's club called the Weldon Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Members of the Weldon Institute are all firm believers that mankind shall master the skies using “lighter than air” craft, and that "heavier than air" craft such as airplanes and helicopters would be unfeasible. The institute has been constructing a giant dirigible called the Goahead, and are having a heated discussion of where to place its propeller (in front to pull it, or behind to push it) when Robur is admitted to speak to them. Robur chastises the group for being balloon-boosters when "heavier than air" flying apparatuses are the future. When asked if Robur himself has "made conquest of the air," he states that he has, leading to him accepting the title "Robur the Conqueror." During his short time at the Weldon Institute Robur so incenses the members that they chase him outside and are about to attack him. Robur then seemingly vanishes to the mob, but he has actually been borne away in a flying machine.

(From Wikipedia, description text under GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL))

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Full original french version also available:
Robur le conquérant

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