Around the World in 65 Days with George Griffith: The Story of the Real Phileas Fogg
by George Griffith
Review by Ernest Lilley
Collector's Guide Publishing, Inc. Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 1897350279
Date: 31 December 2010 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Twenty two years after Verne rushed his character around the world in 80 days another science fiction writer set out to best the fictional Fogg's time by more than two weeks. George Griffith was his name, and he'd cut his teeth on Verne as a child, then moved on to roam the world in search of adventures of his own.
In 1894 the adventurer set off on his exploit, chronicling it in London's Pearson Weekly, and offering a narrative that contrasts with Verne (and Hollywood's) sugar coated travelogue. While it's not as spicy as the fictional voyage, it's considerably more illuminating.
The actual record had already fallen to Nellie Bly, a reporter from the NY Herald, who had made the trip in 72 days in 1889 (the forward gives this as 74 days and doesn't name Bly, but I got this from Wikipedia, so it must be true).
The travelogue is interesting, though fairly dry, and one guesses that there wasn't quite the fervor that Nellie's trip caused, but still, it's quite an adventure.
The small book includes a number of shorter travelogues to wild and exotic places like the mountains of Peru, or across the channel by balloon (Hurrah!), and it's easy to see why the jacket copy offers him up as the spiritual father of Steampunk. Fair enough, I say.