Clipper of the Clouds

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Verne, Jules. Clipper of the Clouds (vt. Robur the Conqueror / French: Robur-le-Conquérant). English version 1887. The Extraordinary Voyages No. 29. Illustrator Léon Bebett. France: Pierre-Jules Hetzel, 1886. Sequel: Master of the World (1904).

See first for Robur's ship: "a huge, battery-powered, multirotor gyrodyne called the Albatross, which has many vertical airscrews to provide lift, and two horizontal airscrews in a push-pull configuration to drive the vessel forward."[1] In Voices Prophesying War, I. F. Clarke calls attention to how recently-invented or future "machines could be used in war" as seen in "a remarkable episode" in Clipper where one of Robur's adventures

demonstrates the beneficent result of the white [p. 66] man's inventions by describing how Robur saved the intended victims from the annual sacrifice in Dahomey. The aeronef[2] cruises over the place of sacrifice, and at the right moment 'the little gun shot forth its shrapnel which really did marvels.' It was enough to convince Robur's unwilling passengers of the advantages of his machine and [...] recognize the power of the aeronef and the services it could render humanity.' (Clarke ch. 3, pp. 66-67)

Verne appears sincere here; Clarke's tone should be heard with more than a trace of bitter irony. See also Verne's The Begum's Fortune.

RDE, finishing, 10Dec20