Archive for the 'France' Category

VERNE AND TIDDLYWINKS

April 19, 2010

Jules Verne is widely revered as the “Father of Science Fiction”.  However, few remember his tenure as the All-France Amateur Tiddlywinks champion from 1897-1902.

Verne was fiercely proud of his title, and was reputedly “catatonic” with grief after he lost it to Gilles Veilleux, a plucky 18 year-old science student from Montdidier.  The trauma of the loss is widely considered a contributing factor to Verne’s death shortly thereafter.

Ironically, Veilleux would go on to defect to Germany during WWII, and was one of the principal architects of the V2 Rocket project, the technology from which would help realise Verne’s great dream of space travel.

Verne, pictured shortly after his humiliating defeat