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The Kip Brothers (Early Classics of Science Fiction) Hardcover – May 21, 2007

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This first English translation of Verne's awkward hybrid of travelogue and coded detective story, originally serialized in 1902, centers on Dutch brothers Karl and Pieter Kip. In the novel's first part, which details nautical journeys around various Australian and New Zealand islands, the English captain Harry Gibson, of the James Cook, rescues the shipwrecked Kips. When mutineers Flig Valt and Vin Mod kill the captain, it's Karl and Pieter who are convicted and who spend the novel's second part trying to escape a horrible Australian penal colony. Descriptions of exotic destinations from Verne's own travel books help compensate for the lack of compelling characters. As for the detective story, readers know the murderers' identities, but not how they will be revealed, and the abrupt resolution turns on the manipulation of a photograph. Though readers hoping for an exciting adventure tale won't find it, this will nonetheless delight Verne enthusiasts with its scholarly commentary and original black-and-white illustrations. (May)
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Review

"This first English translation of Verne's...hybrid of travelogue and coded detective story...will...delight Verne enthusiasts with its scholarly commentary and original black and white illustrations."—Publishers Weekly


"With the publication of The Kip Brothers and The Mysterious Island, it is no longer possible to dismiss Verne as a 'children’s author'…. Revealing the sociological, scientific, historical, and geographic breadth of his vision, these titles provide room for critical speculation for years to come."—Janice M. Bogstad, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
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Product Details

  • Series: Early Classics of Science Fiction
  • Hardcover: 514 pages
  • Publisher: Wesleyan; Trans. from the French edition (May 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0819567043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819567048
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,258,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Quite a fun book by Jules Verne.
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Format: Hardcover
My review is based on an old Turkish translation of this book, but I believe my criticisms would apply to this edition.

Verne's style was boring; he was repetitious and took too long to get to the point. Besides, there were long discourses on the geography and history of the southeast Pacific, international politics and even the Fenians, while the Kip Brothers didn't enter the story until chapter 7.

The story started out as a maritime adventure, then turned into a murder "mystery", although the identities of the murderers were revealed as they were committing it. The Kip Brothers got wrongly accused of the crime and spent a long time (the final third of the book) to clear their name.

Verne's weakness was that he told too much to his readers and left very little to the imagination. He explained everything in detail even when what he was explaining was obvious. In this case, he would have crafted a much better story if he had hidden the identities of the murderers from his readers.

The climax was a real letdown. Verne resorts to the ridiculous late 19th century claim that a dead person's eyes retained an image of the last thing he saw. In comparison, for example, the science behind H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man, is also quite untenable, but it never turns into an issue of exasperation mainly because of Wells' much better narrative.
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