Jules Verne
The Golden Volcano.
University of Nebraska Press, 362 pages, $15.95

I once had a professor who believed that the impressive titular number of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea referred to oceanic depth, rather than distance traveled. “That’s where the anglerfish lives,” he’d say, like the good Monsieur Verne had invented a species to join the ranks of the strange ichthyoid and quadruped creations that got him branded as the father of science fiction.

The Jules Verne of The Golden Volcano—his novel of the Klondike gold rush, now published for the first time in English—is different. He’s the writer, in warm wraps and bearskin cloak, behind this posthumous novel that dates from the first few years of the twentieth century, when our man would dash around his rooms from one desk to another, at work on five or six novels at a time.