Books: Whiff & Pouf

DR. OX'S EXPERIMENT by Jules Verne. 100 pages. Macmillan. $3.95.

Whether his imagination was soaring around the world or burrowing into the center of it, Jules Verne was a delightful storyteller. Among his chief attractions, of course, was his infectious fascination with the science of his day (1828-1905), to say nothing of the remarkable prescience that some of his wildest fantasies showed. An account of the newly discovered properties of oxygen set his fertile mind spinning—and out spun the absurd tale of Dr. Ox.

The Flanders village of Quiquendone is a study in slow motion. The burgomaster is "phlegm personified." Conversations are punctuated...

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