The "Fitzroy" edition of Jules Verne
edited and translated by I.O. Evans

Introduction

Fascinated as he was by every branch of science, Jules Verne could not but be interested in the controversy over the Darwinian Theory which was raging during his lifetime. As at the same time he was a sincerely religious man, and followed faithfully the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, he naturally regarded the extremists of the Evolutionary School of thought with a certain scepticism.

At that time the controversy almost turned upon the possible existence of a "Missing Link," a creature intermediate between man and the anthropoid apes. Was there any such creature? Or was the gulf between the animals and man complete and unbridgeable? This story might be regarded as a somewhat inconclusive suggestion of the manner in which the problem might be solved, and he leaves the reader to form his own conclusions.

This remarkable story, which has apparently never hitherto been translated into English, was originally entitled Le Village Aérien. This, however, especially as connected with the name of Jules Verne, would rather suggest some sort of super flying-machine, and it is for this reason I have given it a different title, which I think conveys its theme more clearly. My only other alteration is the omission of a few short passages of minor interest, mostly consisting of geographical detail now completely out of date.

I.O.Evans