In literary movements credit for beginnings is usually reserved for a select few, and they are often still popular. Literature that modern people recognize as Science fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction began somewhere in the 1800s, but that isn't altogether the case. Oral tellings of epic poems, and short prose written in ancient script to tell the story of heroes and event since before Homer, the blind Greek poet, in the many millennia before Christ. If one looks at the Bible, the Hindu scriptures and the Qu'ran as stories rather than religious works, there are also stories of vast imagination there as well. (With no suggestion of disregard for the faith of any faithful or believers).
The modern form of poem, prose, and short story devoted to telling the sort of story in the 1800s was very much commercialized and popularized by Jules Verne. His work was new, and captured the then current ideas about science. Some might point that he borrowed ideas, or stole them if you wish, the era was well populated with people doing that very thing. Jules Verne's typical theme was not about strangers in a strange land, though that theme existed, rather, the themes were travel, exploration and discovery, along with awe.
Verne took the reader places they could never visit themselves. He took them beneath the oceans, around the world, to the moon, and to the very center of the world. His writing was a match to the growing fascination firewood of imagination that the reading public was becoming. The books were serialized in newspapers or magazines, and were received with each edition with great enthusiasm.
His works were aped by others, and some works by others were done in an effort to do nearly the same idea, only better. Others like HG Wells (stay tuned for a focus on him in future days) took the torch and wrote about wild events and ideas different but from the same river source, imagination.
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides. The sea is only the embodiment of a supernatural and wonderful existence. It is nothing but love and emotion; it is the Living Infinite. ”
“It may be taken for granted that, rash as the Americans are, when they are prudent there is good reason for it."
“While there is life there is hope. I beg to assert...that as long as a man's heart beats, as long as a man's flesh quivers, I do not allow that a being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair.”
“How many things have been denied one day, only to become realities the next!”