Proof Very Impositive

Michael D. Winkle


The Captain Nemo/Professor Moriarty Confusion

The Wold Newton Universe grew out of Philip Jose Farmer's love for pulp magazine adventurers such as Tarzan, Doc Savage, and the Shadow. Other people gravitated toward this mega-series via a lifelong interest in Sherlock Holmes. My "entry point" came from the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne (in particular the latter's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), which I first read as a student at Hoover Elementary School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

While Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life is one of my favorite books, the character assassination of Captain Nemo in Addendum 1 of that famed biography, along with the curious suggestion that the commander of the Nautilus was one the same as Professor James Moriarty of abominable memory, grated on my sensibilities.

This mention of Nemo takes up only a page of Doc Savage, so it could be safely ignored while reading of the fantastic world of the Man of Bronze. Then, however, I came upon Farmer's The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, an entire novel based on the Nemo-Moriarty confusion! For a quarter of a century I have held my tongue; I can stand mutely by no more!

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg [henceforth "Other"] contains as an appendix H. W. Starr's article "A Submersible Subterfuge; or, Proof Impositive," the origin of the Nemo-as-Moriarty theory. Since Starr first revealed to the world the relationship of Tarzan, Lord Greystoke, to the Holmes canon ("A Case of Identity," reprinted in Tarzan Alive), Farmer may have felt obligated to accept Starr's other theories, dubious though they may be. (1)

Luckily for fans of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus, the fictional sections of Other can be separated from fact, and most of H. W. Starr's incriminating evidence can be refuted.

To be fair, Starr worked with an edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues published in 1922. No proper translation of Verne's masterpiece was available in the English-speaking world until the mid 1970s, when Walter James Miller edited The Annotated Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

As Miller writes: "Some of Verne's best books are crudely abridged in English. . . These cuts -- often subtracting 30 percent to 40 percent of Verne's text from the English editions -- naturally weaken his story line, his characterization, his humor, and the integrity of his ideas." (2) Miller estimates that 23% of Twenty ThousandLeagues -- nearly one-fourth of the book! -- had never been seen by the English reading public until his 1976 edition. The versions that were available were mangled by translators unsympathetic to Verne's vision, philosophies, and love of science.

We shall now take a hard look at Other and "A Submersible Subterfuge" through the lens of the fully restored and annotated Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Size Does Matter

Starr compares Captain Nemo to "the sybaritic commander of an old-fashioned warship living in luxurious quarters and ruling with an iron hand a crew of tough fighting men." [Other, p.185] Most of his reasoning stems from his assumption that the Nautilus' crew live in "slum conditions of the foulest sort." [p. 183-84] This in turn is assumed from the "fact" that the sailors' quarters are so small, they must sleep piled like logs in triple-decker bunks, with possibly "a cubbyhole where the lieutenant could swing his hammock in solitary grandeur." [p. 183]

Starr arrives at these sardine-can living conditions from the measurements provided by Professor Aronnax. The professor does not describe the crew's quarters, "the interior of which he never saw" [p.183], but, by taking the dimensions given by Nemo and applying elementary math, Starr arrives at a figure of 22 x 16 feet for this unseen room -- cramped indeed for as many as thirty sailors.

However, the above measurements, and hence the conclusions based on them, are completely erroneous.

The Nautilus was far larger than the dimensions given to Aronnax; furthermore, there were areas of the submarine never revealed to Aronnax or his companions.

Let us forget that the standard translation of Twenty Thousand Leagues changes Verne's "meters" to the more American "yards" -- which would in itself shrink the dimensions of the Nautilus by nearly ten percent. Starr writes: "out of a total length of 232 feet (65 feet of which was the engine room) 75 feet of the Nautilus had been set aside for the exclusive use of the captain." [Other, p. 184]

However, this length for the submarine comes from Captain Nemo, (3) who also says "You came to surprise a secret which no man in the world must penetrate" [Twenty, p. 64]. In the very first chapter we are given a closer approximation of the submarine's size when two steamships find the "monster" between them: "In these simultaneous observations, they thought themselves justified in estimating the minimum length of the mammal at more than three hundred and fifty feet, as theShannon and Helvetia were of smaller dimensions than it, though they measured three hundred feet overall" [Twenty, p. 2]. Apparently the captain stretched (or shortened) the truth to keep the three castaways out of certain areas of theNautilus.

In addition to the twenty-five meters devoted to Nemo's museum, library, etc., and seven and a half meters for an "air reservoir," Conseil and Ned Land are given their own cabin [p. 65], while Professor Aronnax is given "not a cabin, but an elegant room, with a bed, dressing-table, and several other pieces of furniture" [p. 74]. Starr does not even mention these chambers, and there may well have been others. Since Nemo was not expecting guests, for whom were these rooms? We are told of the kitchen, "large storerooms," a bathroom, the supposed crew's quarters, the cell in which the castaways were originally held, "a cabin situated near the sailors' quarters" in which Aronnax attends the dying crewman [p. 164], "the vast distillatory machines" that "furnished the drinkable water" [p. 306], and the twenty-meter-long engine room. There is also the question of placement of the armory/diving suit room, and the airlock that opens onto the sea, as well as the wheelhouse. All these added together might well exceed the seventy meters given as the submarine's length.

The Curious Case of the Missing Crew

It is not what Professor Aronnax and his friends saw, but what they did not see, that further implies hidden areas of the Nautilus. Captain Nemo had a habit of vanishing for days on end. On page 98 of Twenty, for instance, Professor Aronnax notes: "Captain Nemo was there, waiting for me. . . As he made no allusion to his absence during the last eight days, I did not mention it." Page 125: "I had not seen Captain Nemo for a week, when on the morning of the 27th, he came into the large drawing-room." (4)

Perhaps Nemo secreted himself somewhere on the "known" Nautilus, or perhaps he took very long walks in his diving suit. But how could you misplace the whole crew, which Starr calculates to be at least two dozen? Although Aronnax, Conseil, and Ned Land are given the run of the ship, this mysterious phenomenon occurs more than once: 

Page 89: "'Nothing learned, nothing seen,' the Canadian said. 'Not even a sign of the crew.'"

Page 141: ". . . we quitted shore, and half an hour after we hailed the Nautilus. The enormous ironplated cylinder seemed deserted. . . The next day, January 6, nothing new on board. Not a sound inside, not a sign of life."

Page 349: For a period of "fifteen or twenty days," writes Aronnax: "Of Captain Nemo I saw nothing whatever now, nor of his second. Not a man of the crew was visible for an instant."

As Starr himself reminds us, "space is at a premium on a submarine." Where were Nemo and his men? Off on some piratical venture, as Other would have it? Wandering around the ocean floor in their diving suits? If the Nautilus were anchored perhaps, but see page 96:

The course of the Nautilus was E.N.E., her speed twelve knots, the depth below the surface between twenty-five and thirty fathoms.

The next day, 10th of November, the same desertion, the same solitude. I did not see one of the ship's crew: Ned and Conseil spent the greater part of the day with me. They were astonished at the inexplicable absence of the Captain.

Are we supposed to believe that Nemo and his men would allow the Nautilus to run on "automatic" for days at a time, with the angry and resourceful Ned Land running loose through it? It seems far more logical to say that the sailors, or some of them at least, navigated the vessel in areas unseen and even unsuspected by the three outsiders.

What secrets lay in the sections of the submarine hidden from the castaways? Atomic power -- advanced weaponry -- some incredible artifacts dredged up from Atlantis? Perhaps it was something quite mundane, like roomier living quarters for the crew. At the very least there must have been a second helm.

There is one point on Starr's side. Before Aronnax can be influenced by Nemo, he sees the Nautilus from the warship Abraham Lincoln and "estimated its length at only two hundred and fifty feet" [Twenty, p. 35]. To this I can only say that Aronnax was not very good at guessing sizes. When the Nautilus enters an extinct volcano (Part Two, Chapter Twenty), the professor estimates its height at 1,500 to 1,800 feet. A few pages later he says that "the volcano did not rise more than eight hundred feet above the level of the ocean." [p. 257]

The Reclamation of Captain Nemo

There are many other improbabilities in the Nemo-Moriarty theory:

Nemo's Lost Technology. Most people know the story of Twenty Thousand Leagues from the 1954 Disney movie. Therein, Captain Nemo's source of power was certainly nuclear energy. The conservative Jules Verne, who lived most of his long years before radioactivity was discovered, would not supply his characters with something unknown to science. Still, Starr writes that the engines of theNautilus were so powerful as to "lead one to the strong suspicion that they were really atomic engines" [Other, p. 186] Here I tend to agree, as Nemo himself says "My electricity is not everybody's" [Twenty, p. 76], and, even more telling, "I repeat, sir, that the dynamic power of my engines is almost infinite" [p. 83].

This one point of agreement with Starr raises more questions. Once having held the secret of atomic power, would not Professor Moriarty redevelop it? Little could stand in his way, then. Perhaps he lost all his papers concerning nuclear power and the other technological advances of the Nautilus during the descent into the Maelstrom? But surely the author of Dynamics of an Asteroid could re-calculate theories and re-engineer devices he knew so intimately.

Were circumstances different later, so different that he could not re-create his wondrous inventions? That is tantamount to saying that it was easier to build the submarine and the advanced machinery that filled it on a desert isle in the Pacific than in England. Farmer's Nemo/Moriarty even builds his own "distorter" (a space-warping teleporter) in Britain, using only blueprints taken from a dead Capellean -- something the aliens themselves had failed to do in their two hundred years on Earth.

Did he not have enough time to re-engineer his technology before Sherlock Holmes "seriously inconvenienced" him? Twenty-three years pass between the end of Twenty Thousand Leagues and "The Final Problem." I fear that is not the answer, either. Moriarty was a genius in the realm of crime, mathematics, and pure science, but in the arena of applied science -- such as the building of the Nautilus -- he did not have the skill or patience to achieve mastery.

Nemo the Class-Conscious. Starr calls Nemo "a man of commanding and domineering personality, a man who rigidly draws the caste (5) line" [Other, p. 187], apparently because he will not dine with Ned Land and Conseil. Yet Aronnax himself speaks for all three castaways: "Aronnax, with his nineteenth-century view of social hierarchy, sees himself as the natural leader" [Twenty, p. 63]. Editor Miller further explains that "Nemo is the typical nineteenth-century liberal who believed in freedom but not necessarily in equality" [p. 78]. To reiterate: His actions were typical for a Victorian intellectual, not the excesses of an criminal mastermind.

Nemo the Land-Lubber. When it comes to Nemo being a sea captain, "we cannot be quite so certain that his practical maritime experience is very extensive." [Other, p. 186] Starr charges that Nemo, though brilliant, was unused to the ways of the sea -- i.e., a land-lubbing math professor out of his element. His evidence is that "the worthy captain is constantly -- and accidentally -- bumping into things," and that "unlike almost all large vessels of the last thousand years or more -- submarine or surface -- it has no cutwater."

The Nautilus, however, with its cylindrical shape and its huge "blow-holes" at the bow, was meant to be taken for a monstrous sea creature, a deception that succeeded well. "The platform [deck] was only three feet out of the water," admits Aronnax, but he continues:

I noticed that its iron plates, slightly overlaying each other, resembled the shell which clothes the bodies of our large, terrestrial reptiles. It explained to me how natural it was, in spite of all glasses, that this boat should have been taken for a marine animal. [Twenty, p. 87]

A proper deck or a conning tower, needless to say, would have given the submarine away.

As for accidental collisions -- well, why not? When one doesn't have to be careful about certain activities, one tends to grow lax. And the Nautilus did not have to be careful where it came to collisions, as its hull was virtually invulnerable. In the Torres Straits, Aronnax sees "pieces of coral that would do [the submarine] for its keep if it only touched them slightly." Moments later, however, "the Nautilus seemed to slide like magic off these rocks." [Twenty, p. 133] The cannon shells of the Abraham Lincoln (at the beginning of the novel) and of the mysterious warship (near the end) simply bounce off the submarine. Besides, uncounted ordinary ships, from the Titanic to the Exxon Valdez, piloted by (supposedly) experienced seamen, have collided with all manner of objects (including Alaska). Why not the Nautilus, a vehicle unique in the annals of maritime history and a vessel that, unlike any other ship, had to navigate in three dimensions?

(As a final note, it seems unlikely that a whirlpool, even the dreaded Maelstrom, could wreck such a super-vessel, as Phileas Fogg claims.)

Nemo the Cold and Heartless

An utter lack of compassion emanated from him in an almost visible aura, if a negative quality could be said to radiate. [Other, p. 88]

"We should be more cautious in acceptance of matters of interpretation, for here the romantic Byronic aura which Aronnax and Verne saw surrounding the captain may mislead us," writes Starr. [Other, p. 182] This he must write, since his Nemo/Moriarty is one of the most cruel, calculating individuals of the nineteenth century. Starr and Farmer imply that the captain merely played the tragic hero for Professor Aronnax. Yet it is difficult to believe that such a human monster could come up with such poetic speeches:

"The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the 'Living Infinite,' as one of your poets has said." [Twenty, p. 67]

"Professor, is not this ocean gifted with real life? It has its tempers and its gentle moods. Yesterday it slept as we did, and now it has woke after a quiet night. Look!" he continued, "it wakes under the caresses of the sun. It is going to renew its diurnal existence. It is an interesting study to watch the play of its organization. It has a pulse, arteries, spasms." [p. 115]

It is equally difficult to believe that a sociopath like Farmer's Nemo/Moriarty, armed only with a knife, would attack "a shark of enormous size" to save anyone's life -- let alone that of a miserably poor pearl diver. [p. 193]

Even when Nemo is planning something untoward, he protects his guests from guilt by association: "It is possible that certain events, unforeseen, may oblige me to consign you to your cabins for some hours or days. . . In thus acting, I take all the responsibility: I acquit you entirely, for I make it an impossibility for you to see what ought not to be seen." [p. 63] Thus the castaways can't easily be accused of aiding and abetting the captain -- a considerate bit of foresight.

There is also the incident of the portrait, which Starr and Farmer so thoroughly downplay:

On the wall beneath his heroes, I saw the portrait of a woman still young, and two little children. Captain Nemo looked at them for some moments, stretched his arms towards them, and kneeling down burst into deep sobs. [p. 347]

Starr seems amused by the fact that Aronnax "inexplicably failed to see" the portrait during most of his stay. Farmer's Fogg claims that Nemo only hung it up once a year, celebrating some unknown anniversary.

Yet Aronnax has had such a lapse before; on p. 236 of Twenty he peeks into Nemo's "monkish" bedroom and sees "something I had not noticed on my earlier visit -- some etchings hanging on the wall." (The persons portrayed here are worth mentioning: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, "O'Connell, the defender of Ireland," and John Brown, "that martyr to the emancipation of the black race," among others. Starr calls this whole section of the Nautilus Nemo's "private suite, into which the crew never intruded" [Other, p. 184], so these portraits are for the captain's viewing alone. Can you envision Professor Moriarty studying men such as these?) (6)

"Why didn't Aronnax see the portrait of the woman and children earlier?" asks Walter James Miller. "Because at that time he was engaged in identifying pictures of people he could recognize. . . and it was perfectly in character for Aronnax to notice only the men." [Twenty, p. 347]

Phileas Fogg finds it odd that Nemo should even have a family, as "he regards all others, man or woman, as mental pygmies." [Other, p. 129] Starr suggests that the woman and the two children might be "his mother and her two wee bairns, James Moriarty and James Moriarty." [p. 190] It is a well known fact, however, that there were three Moriarty brothers. (7) As for Nemo/Moriarty's anguished cries of "Great God! Enough! Enough!", these were merely due to a bad headache.

The argument over whom the portrait represents becomes a minor quibble in another context. Just before he attacks the mysterious warship in Part Two, Chapter Twenty-One, Nemo cries out that "I have lost all that I loved, cherished, and venerated -- country, wife, children, father, and mother. I saw all perish!" [p. 345] So we are not merely suggesting or assuming Nemo had a wife and children who were killed. The mere existence of the portrait suggests that this was not just a speech given for Aronnax's benefit.


There are other details that demonstrate the differences between Nemo and Moriarty. Among the treasures of Nemo's library are the works of "Madame Sand." Walter Miller writes that, if he reads George Sand, "Nemo admires freedom and independence not only in speech but also in practice, not for men alone but also for women." [p. 68] Bedside reading for the Napoleon of Crime?

Was the burial in the coral cemetery entirely for crew morale? Perhaps Nemo/Moriarty would preside over a burial, just to keep his crew a few steps away from mutiny -- but the fact that they have built an actual cemetery in the Indian Ocean implies that anyone dying on the Nautilus would be transported here, even from halfway around the world. Then there is the captain's reaction when one of his men is dragged off by a giant squid: "I have said that Captain Nemo wept while watching the waves." [p. 326] Admit it -- Professor Moriarty would discard dead underlings like used Kleenex.

Nemo's Native Tongue. The men of the Nautilus, Nemo included, speak a strange artificial language that the castaways never decipher. During the incident of the portrait, according to Other:

". . . that he spoke English in this painful moment, when a man is likely to revert to his native language, is significant."

"He did not speak in French? But Aronnax. . ."

"Failed to mention it was in English. No, Nemo is a native of some English-speaking land, most probably of Ireland." (8) [p. 130]

Which Nemo would have to be, were he Moriarty. Surely such a departure from theNautilus' artificial language would have stood out as an important clue to the captain's origin, which the French naturalist tried to learn during his entire underwater trip. It is inconceivable that Aronnax could have forgotten such a detail. Perhaps, you argue, English was the language used all along with the outsiders Aronnax, Ned Land, and Conseil, and therefore it was not considered strange by the professor. Only the professor thinks, upon first meeting the captain, "Did he regret the words which he had just spoken in French?" [Twenty Thousand, p. 60]. And later, when Aronnax tends to the dying crew member: "'You may speak,' said the Captain. 'This man does not understand French.'" [p. 165]

Nemo the Pirate. "He was, to put it simply, a pirate," says Phileas Fogg. "A bloodthirsty, money-hungry pirate who sent hundreds of the innocent to a watery grave." [Other, p. 126]

This is another image remembered more from the Disney movie than from the narrative of Jules Verne and Professor Aronnax. Just how many acts of violence can be blamed on Captain Nemo? I have charted them on the "Nemo Score Card," below. The Nautilus attracts attention with three accidental collisions. The sunken ship Florida appears to be merely one of the sights on the undersea trip (the Nautilus passes many wrecks, but the Florida had plunged beneath the waves only a few hours earlier).

On the 18th of January, the Nautilus (apparently) sinks a ship. Starr would have it that, since it was so far away Aronnax could not see it, it was a ship whose movements Nemo already knew, and which he merely wanted to sink and plunder. Let's be careful of our interpretation of Nemo, as Starr writes -- and look at his second-in-command instead. "The latter seemed to be a victim to some emotion that he tried in vain to repress," says Aronnax [Twenty, p. 160]. And on the same page:

The lieutenant had taken up the glass, and examined the horizon steadfastly, going and coming, stamping his foot and showing more nervous agitation than his superior officer.

Nemo's lieutenant, simply scanning the horizon with a telescope, acts as if he has experienced something terrible, even traumatic. It is unlikely Aronnax is trying to paint him as a Byronic hero, since he never so much as exchanged a word with the man.

(Mr. Starr would not win any awards for logical argument. He suggests that Nemo's gold came from "the ship we know the captain sank on Jan. 18," when we don't "know" any such thing. Our first-person narrator could see nothing in the direction Nemo and his officer were looking, and then, after eating a drug-laced meal, he spent the night in blissful oblivion.)

The one undeniable sinking by the Nautilus comes near the end of the book, when "a large armoured two-decker ram" appears on the horizon. "For over twenty-four hours Captain Nemo deliberately lured the frigate to follow him until it suited his whim to sink her," writes Starr. [Other, p. 182]

Well. . . Who's fault is that? On the first of June "The Nautilus was motionless; it neither rolled nor pitched." It is just minding its own business. Then a ship flying no flag appears, "which was changing its course and seemed to be nearing us." The sub dives briefly to look at the remains of the Avenger, a vessel that helped the American and French Revolutions to succeed. Upon resurfacing, "a dull boom was heard."

The unknown ship's company fires cannon shells at the Nautilus all day. They stop for the night, then "with the first dawn of day the firing began afresh." As for the submarine, "The screw was set in motion, and the Nautilus, moving with speed, was soon beyond the reach of the ship's guns. But the pursuit continued." The man-of-war is asking for it, in this writer's opinion. Does the commander of the vessel have any idea what the Nautilus can do? If so, he must be suicidal or fanatical.

If the second-in-command was upset on January 18, now "fifteen of the sailors surrounded the Captain, looking with implacable hatred at the vessel nearing them." They at least know the nature of the enemy.

Finally, over the wreck of the Avenger, Captain Nemo sinks the warship. Far from a sadistic "whim", he has chosen this spot, in Miller's words, "for a scene of vast symbolic proportions." [Twenty, p. 340] There follows the incident of the portrait, and soon thereafter the three castaways escape.

This final battle raises many questions. What power does this warship represent? If it is a vessel out to save the seas from the evil Captain Nemo, like theAbraham Lincoln before it, why did it not fly its colors? Before the ship appears, "the Nautilus described a series of circles on the water. . . It seemed to be seeking a spot it had some trouble in finding." [p. 339] Once it settles in at the right "spot", the warship comes right to it. "It is here," announces Nemo. This all sounds like the unknown forces deploying the ship challenged Nemo and theNautilus (themselves unknown quantities) to a duel at sea. It is a curious, tantalizing, frustrating glimpse into a conflict that is far-reaching, yet seems to have nothing to do with our mundane world. Perhaps Other Log would have been better off focusing on this war, rather than that of the Capelleans against the Eridanians.

Is Other Log a Hoax?

I could continue belaboring the obvious, but I believe enough evidence has been given to dissuade anyone of the idea that Captain Nemo was Professor James Moriarty. (9)

So how do we explain Other? A literary hoax, with its talk of Capelleans and Eridanians carrying out a galactic war on Earth? Could it even be (Heaven forbid!) a work of fiction? Farmer is quick to dismiss as pure fiction books that disagree with his mythopoetic vision (10), but, as he has become the official source of information on the Wold Newton Universe, an outright fantasy on his part seems unlikely. 

We all know of Phileas Fogg's circumnavigation of the globe; we all know of Professor Aronnax's voyage aboard the Nautilus; we have all read Dr. Watson's account of Mr. Holmes' final struggle with the Napoleon of Crime. Perhaps Fogg and Moriarty were, indeed, raised and trained by extraterrestrials, as Other contends. Perhaps Fogg was Moriarty's worst nightmare (before he ran afoul of the Great Detective, of course). Doubtless fictional sections were added to the partial biography of Mr. Fogg to protect him and his close associates, who, after all, may still be alive! (11)

Captain Nemo, however, that mysterious master of the Nautilus, is a being distinct and distant from the squabbles of the upper world, which was as Verne intended.


Nemo Score-Card

". . . all unlucky casualties which could not be otherwise accounted for were put down to the monster."

-- Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,

Part One, Chapter One


Event Comments

"a collision which occurred between the Etna of the Inman line and the monster." [p. 2]

Accidentally bumped Nautilus or vice-versa.
"the Moravian. . . struck on her starboard quarter a rock." [p. 4] Accidentally bumped into Nautilus.
The Scotia: "at two yards and a half below water mark was a regular rent, in the form of an isosceles triangle." [p. 7] Accidentally rammed by Nautilus. Above three events are considered accidents by Starr, Aronnax, and the world at large. Makes Nemo look like a bad navigator, nothing more.
The Abraham Lincoln:

Conseil: "I heard the men at the wheel say, 'The screw and the rudder are broken.'"

Aronnax: "Broken?"

Conseil: "Yes, broken by the monster's teeth. It is the only injury the Abraham Lincoln has sustained." [p. 41]

"Was it unintentionally that the Abraham Lincoln pursued me all over the seas?" asks Nemo. "Was it unintentionally that your cannon balls rebounded off the plating of my vessel?" [p. 61]

"I have the right to treat you as enemies," continues the captain, but the American frigate gets off rather easily.

The Florida:

"Three stumps of masts, broken off about two feet above the bridge, showed that the vessel had had to sacrifice its masts. . . sadder still was the sight of the bridge, where some corpses, bound with ropes, were still lying." [p. 120]

The Nautilus has just arrived at this point near the Pomotu Islands in the Pacific; theFlorida appears to have sunk "some few hours" before. There was no shock or activity to indicate a ramming; and the missing masts and the bodies tied to the bridge are more in keeping with a storm than an attack of the submarine. Apparently theNautilus stumbled upon this freshly-sunken ship by chance.
The ship presumably sunk by the Nautilus on January 18, 1868, eight hundred miles west of Australia. [p. 161] The captain and his second-in-command appear to be angry at something they see via telescope, but Aronnax never finds out what. "I had looked carefully in the direction indicated without seeing anything." [p. 160] The outsiders' meals are drugged, and they do not awaken until the next day. It certainly seems as if Nemo has rammed a ship, but we cannot be sure.
The mysterious warship: "No flag fluttered from its mast, and I could not discover its nationality." [p. 339] "Sir," I exclaimed, "are you going to attack this vessel?" "Sir, I am going to sink it!" [p. 344] The most blatant attack by Captain Nemo. The "ship of an accursed nation," however, was certainly the aggressor (see text).



0 PJF briefly acknowledges this straining of credibility. He writes that "In a few incontrovertible words" Starr proves The Mysterious Island to be a complete fabrication. Then: "Starr shows that Moriarty did indeed operate, in his pre-Holmesian career, under the pseudonym of Captain Nemo" using "many more words, not quite as disprovable." See Farmer, Philip Jose, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (Bantam Books: New York, 1975), pp. 228-229.


0 Miller, Walter James, "Foreword", in The Annotated Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (New American Library: New York, 1977), p. ix.


0 Actually, in the original French, Nemo says 70 meters (228.9 feet). ibid., p. 81.


0 Since Aronnax was already there, this incident demonstrates that Nemo was not hiding in the spacious drawing-room/museum that seemed so self-indulgent to Starr.


0 Wouldn't adhering to the caste system rather support the idea of Nemo as an Indian prince?


0 To be fair, the "sketch" section was cut from the standard English translation, possibly for political reasons.


0 Tracy, Jack, Encyclopaedia Sherlockiana, the (Avon Books: New York, 1977), p. 246.


0 Since Aronnax was sneaking through the drawing-room alone, watching Nemo, how did Phileas Fogg know?


0 I haven't even mentioned the fact that Nemo's eyes were black and Moriarty's were gray.


0 Among many examples are all sequels to The Scarlet PimpernelTarzan at the Earth's Core and the other Pellucidar novels, and several Doc Savage sagas, such as The Monsters and The World's Fair Goblin.


0"Today, Fogg would look as if he had aged perhaps a year or two, if he is still alive. The chances are that he is alive and well somewhere in England." Farmer, Philip Jose, Other Log of Phileas Fogg, the (DAW Books: New York, 1973), p. 9.

 © 2000 Michael D. Winkle
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