Jesús de Aragón y Soldado, the Spanish “Jules Verne”

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Jesús de Aragón y Soldado

In another article we were telling you about Spanish science fictionand we mentioned the literary figure known as the "Spanish Jules Verne", Jesús de Aragón y Soldado. Sadly, today he is an unknown figure but this text has been written to recognize his achievements.

He was born in 1893 in Valsaín (Segovia) but he moved to Madrid at just six years old after his father died. His first contact with literature came about under unusual circumstances; owing to his beautiful handwriting, he began contributing to the family income by copying books by hand. Consequently, he gained great cultural insight which enabled him to rapidly progress in his studies and he was easily given a place to study for an engineering degree.

However, he also had his literary flair; he began to write articles on scientific topics for a newspaper in Madrid which revealed a certain "Vernian" style. As far as we know, this style would attract the attention of an editor who would employ him to make corrections to the myth novel, La torre de los sietejorobados, the idea of bohemian author, Emilio Carrere.

Jesús de Aragón

Jesús wouldn’t gain any recognition for his contribution to the novel but the matter was settled when Aragon was promised the publication of two fantasy novels. Thanks to this initial agreement, Viaje al fondo del océano (Journey to the bottom of the ocean) and Cuarenta mil kilómetros a bordo del aeroplano«Fantasmo» (Forty Thousand Kilometers Aboard the Airplane Fantasma) were published (as their titles indicate, these works were greatly influenced by Verne’s les Voyages extraordinaires).

From this moment onwards, he would carry on alternating his fantastical works with others dedicated to accounting. You’d think that Aragón would have earned a good source of income from his writing…but the reality is that, in addition to his literary career, he had to keep two other administrative jobs. He could only allow himself to become “Captain Sirius” or “Colonel Ignotus” (two of Aragón’s pen-names) by night.

He wrote nearly 20 works, including: Una extraña aventura de amor en La Luna, which reveals that our moon is really a small chunk of Earth on which the descendants of the Mayans and the lost world of Atlas live in conflict with one another; and La sombrablanca de Casarás, a tale of historical intrigue based on Templars and witchcraft which they say inspired some of the legends about treasures that are still told today in the Sierra de Guadarrama Mountain Range.

The writer ended his literary activity in 1964 and we don’t know much about his life until his death in 1973. His works would be translated into French and Hungarian and he would also receive highly favorable praise in the United States. Here in Spain however, his books would just be a fleeting source of entertainment for young readers. Disappointingly, his works are out of print, and although we would like to give an overview of each one, we don’t have enough space left. What can we say to interested readers? Perhaps you could look for a list of the writer’s books or you could venture into old bookshops. We hope that you have the chance to enjoy this author.

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