So I was talking with a friend about how we don’t really remember anything ever happening in Jules Verne’s classic From The Earth To The Moon. So I checked Wikipedia and learned no, they just get going to the moon at the end of the book. It’s in the sequel, Around The Moon, that they go around the Moon. And this made me learn that twenty years after that, Verne wrote another sequel, The Purchase of the North Pole or Topsy Turvy depending on which sentence you’re reading in Wikipedia at that moment. And the plot’s just got me all giddy with delight but I’ll put it behind a cut in case you don’t want spoilers.
So the Baltimore Gun Club guys buy the rights to the North Pole. Their plan: fire off a really enormous gun to change the axial tilt of the Earth, setting it to zero degrees, so every spot on the planet has a uniform season year-round. This to make it easier to get at the vast coal deposits that just have to exist under the pole. Although most of the world doesn’t want the planet knocked onto a new axis like this, they carry on and … nothing happens. Why does nothing happen? Because J T Maston calculated the size of the explosion needed wrong. Why? Because he was answering the phone in a lightning storm, and got a shock that threw him back and wiped some digits off, and so he figured what you’d need for an Earth one-thousandth the diameter of the one we have, and nobody figured they needed to double-check his work.
In all, there’s nothing of this that I could say I saw coming. But I also guess I can see why this hasn’t been turned into movies, too.