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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [Includes eBook]

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French professor Pierre Aronnax and his servant join the Abraham Lincoln, an American frigate, on a mission to find and destroy a "sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed not with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates." The undersea monster is thought to be responsible for the disappearance of over 200 ships. When they encounter the "gigantic cetacean, French professor Pierre Aronnax and his servant join the Abraham Lincoln, an American frigate, on a mission to find and destroy a "sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed not with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates." The undersea monster is thought to be responsible for the disappearance of over 200 ships. When they encounter the "gigantic cetacean," it disables the Abraham Lincoln and knocks Professor Aronnax, his servant, and the hot-tempered harpooner Ned Land overboard. The three must cling to the beast or drown; however, they soon realize that the "beast" is really a man-made underwater vehicle. Captain Nemo captures the men and holds them prisoner on the Nautilus, his incredible submarine. The captain and his unwilling passengers thus embark on a deep-sea odyssey that stretches from the palm-strewn Indian Ocean to the frozen peril of the South Pole. But the enigmatic Nemo has a darker purpose for his voyage: revenge on humanity. Not just a suspense-ridden drama, this classic novel, written in 1873, predicts with astonishing accuracy the advanced technology and inventions of the twentieth century, and it has inspired generations of science fiction writers.


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French professor Pierre Aronnax and his servant join the Abraham Lincoln, an American frigate, on a mission to find and destroy a "sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed not with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates." The undersea monster is thought to be responsible for the disappearance of over 200 ships. When they encounter the "gigantic cetacean, French professor Pierre Aronnax and his servant join the Abraham Lincoln, an American frigate, on a mission to find and destroy a "sea-unicorn of colossal dimensions, armed not with a halberd, but with a real spur, as the armored frigates." The undersea monster is thought to be responsible for the disappearance of over 200 ships. When they encounter the "gigantic cetacean," it disables the Abraham Lincoln and knocks Professor Aronnax, his servant, and the hot-tempered harpooner Ned Land overboard. The three must cling to the beast or drown; however, they soon realize that the "beast" is really a man-made underwater vehicle. Captain Nemo captures the men and holds them prisoner on the Nautilus, his incredible submarine. The captain and his unwilling passengers thus embark on a deep-sea odyssey that stretches from the palm-strewn Indian Ocean to the frozen peril of the South Pole. But the enigmatic Nemo has a darker purpose for his voyage: revenge on humanity. Not just a suspense-ridden drama, this classic novel, written in 1873, predicts with astonishing accuracy the advanced technology and inventions of the twentieth century, and it has inspired generations of science fiction writers.

30 review for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [Includes eBook]

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ken-ichi

    Man, what a strange book. As I've learned from my more erudite sister, 19th century novelists are all about digression, and Verne, despite being very solidly camped outside Greatliterarynovelopolis in the growing shantytown of Genreville, is no exception. Literally half this book is a taxonomic listing of every plant and animal Arronax observes! I mean, even I was bored. Me. The nature freak. I occasionally review field guides on Goodreads, and yet I actually preferred George Eliot's tangents ab Man, what a strange book. As I've learned from my more erudite sister, 19th century novelists are all about digression, and Verne, despite being very solidly camped outside Greatliterarynovelopolis in the growing shantytown of Genreville, is no exception. Literally half this book is a taxonomic listing of every plant and animal Arronax observes! I mean, even I was bored. Me. The nature freak. I occasionally review field guides on Goodreads, and yet I actually preferred George Eliot's tangents about political economy and local gossip. That said, this is a pretty fun book. Adventure under the sea! Laconic yet cordial sumbarine übermenches thirsting for vengeance and whale milk! Canadians! Well, a Canadian. The Canadian. He had a harpoon. Reading science fiction that describes a future long past is also a hoot, especially if you're a huge goddamn nerd. Despite accurately predicting the feasibility of a submarine, I don't think Verne had actually spent much time in the water. The Nautilus navigates not by sonar, but by shining a really bright light. I think swimming in anything but the most crystalline tropical seas would convince you that wouldn't quite work. Every time the crew leaves the ship to go exploring, they actually walk on the sea floor instead of swimming. One time, Cpt. Nemo dodges a shark. It's kind of hard to dodge slow moving jellies when you're underwater, never mind one of Nature's most amazing swimmers. The book is also an interesting balance between technological hubris and an underlying conservationist theme. Nemo (and presumably Verne) decries the repercussions of overfishing when forbidding former harpooneer Ned Land from testing his skill against a pod of Antarctic whales: "In destroying the southern whale [...:] your traders are culpable, Master Land. They have already depopulated the whole of Baffin's Bay, and are annihilating a class of useful animals. Leave the unfortunate cetacea alone. They have plenty of natural enemies [...:] without you troubling them." Granted it's a utilitarian, anthropocentric kind of conservation ethic, but conservationist all the same. And yet earlier, upon beholding a massive bed of pearl oysters, Arronax narrates, "I could well understand that this was an inexhaustible mine of treasures, for nature's power to create goes far beyond man's capability of destruction." I doubt Verne set out with any fixed notions of environmental ethics in mind, but I find it intriguing that these contrasting sentiments keep popping up. I think Verne's apparent ambivalence about the morality of technological advances is more intentional. The Nautilus is a marvelous creation that Nemo uses to reveal the unknown and better understand the world. It's also a vicious instrument of vengeance he employs against his former countrymen (or maybe not his countrymen, reading some of the other reviews...), a nearly invincible ship that can sink below the reach of canons and fatally ram any conventional vessel from beneath. As a war machine in a world of steam and sail it would be monstrous. I also think it's significant that Nemo and the ship meet their apparent end not at the hands of other men or even by an animal, but by the unthinking and inestimable power of the sea itself, bringing to mind Melville's line from Moby Dick: ...however baby man may brag of his science and skill, and however much, in a flattering future, that science and skill may augment; yet for ever and for ever, to the crack of doom, the sea will insult and murder him, and pulverize the stateliest, stiffest frigate he can make...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Pierre Aronnax, Assistant Professor in the Museum of Natural History, embarks on a ship to investigate the mystery of a powerful creature terrorizing the open seas. When he and two of his companions discover the Nautilus - a magnificent submarine owned by the uncompromising Captain Nemo – their journey takes them under the sea and 20,000 leagues across the world. For some time past, vessels had been met by ‘an enormous thing,’ a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infin Pierre Aronnax, Assistant Professor in the Museum of Natural History, embarks on a ship to investigate the mystery of a powerful creature terrorizing the open seas. When he and two of his companions discover the Nautilus - a magnificent submarine owned by the uncompromising Captain Nemo – their journey takes them under the sea and 20,000 leagues across the world. For some time past, vessels had been met by ‘an enormous thing,’ a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale. Pierre’s story starts strong with an arresting premise: the Government of the United States is among the first to take to the open seas in search of the monstrous creature. By personal invitation of the Secretary of Marine, Pierre joins the crew of the Abraham Lincoln. Three seconds after the arrival of [the] letter, I no more thought of pursuing the unicorn than of attempting the passage of the North Sea. Three seconds after reading the letter of the honourable Secretary of Marine, I felt that my true vocation, the sole end of my life, was to chase this disturbing monster, and purge it from the world. Unfortunately, the majority of the book is comprised of overly detailed scientific explanations (complete with mathematical equations) and long-winded descriptions of varied species of aquatic life. To be frank, it’s quite boring. In the eighty-ninth genus of fishes, classed by Lacépède, belonging to the second lower class of bony, characterized by opercules and bronchial membranes, I remarked the scorpaena, the head of which is furnished with spikes, and which has but one dorsal fin; these creatures are covered, or not, with little shells, according to the sub-class to which they belong. The second sub-class gives us specimens of didactyles fourteen or fifteen inches in length, with yellow rays, and heads of a most fantastic appearance. As to the first sub-class, it gives several specimens that singular-looking fish appropriately called a ‘sea-frog,’ with large head, sometimes pierced with holes, sometimes swollen with protuberances, bristling with spikes, and covered with tubercles; it has irregular and hideous horns; its body and tail are covered with calliosities; its sting makes a dangerous wound; it is both repugnant and horrible to look at. Worst of all, anyone in the mood for a death-defying battle with an enormous sea creature whose size defies believability will be sorely disappointed. A remarkable scientific feat for its time, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is an impressive classic but may fail to hold the attention of modern audiences.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Hands down the WORST book I've read all year. I mean, there's boring and then there's mind-numbing. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is definitely the latter. I was actually looking forward to listening to this. It's supposed to be a classic action/adventure sci-fi book, right? And it's not an overly long book, which made me assume it was a pretty compact story. Plus, I usually have better luck when it comes to these older novels if I listen to the audiobook instead of trying to wade through all the Hands down the WORST book I've read all year. I mean, there's boring and then there's mind-numbing. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is definitely the latter. I was actually looking forward to listening to this. It's supposed to be a classic action/adventure sci-fi book, right? And it's not an overly long book, which made me assume it was a pretty compact story. Plus, I usually have better luck when it comes to these older novels if I listen to the audiobook instead of trying to wade through all the crunchy dialogue with my eyeballs. So, between those factors, I thought this would be a complete winner. But ho-ly shit this was terrible. Terrible! Ok, how to describe this book? Alright. If a really tedious nature show fucked a 5th grade word problem and didn't use a condom - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would be their bastard child. The vast majority of this thing: Lattitude 54, Longitude 45. <--or whatever. On the {insert random date here} the crew of the Nautilus and my companions entered the {insert random body of water here} and observed {insert random sea life here}. Then Aronnax would go on to describe in excruciating detail every fucking thing about whatever chunk of seaweed, fish, oyster bed, sediment, etc. that they happened to be floating past. Now, sometimes my mind will wander for a second when I'm listening to an audiobook. Usually, it's one of those Did I remember to give my kid the check for that field trip? things that distract me. And then I'll just have to back the book up a few seconds to recoup whatever info I just lost. But with this one, I was spacing out constantly due to the fact that there was literally NOTHING happening. But I could lose half an hour and it wouldn't fucking matter because the professor would still be droning on about different types of pearls and how they were made, and what colors there were, and how much each kind sold for on the open market, and whether or not the oyster wept when they were gone. Or some other such nonsense. Where was the action I was promised?! Where was the adventure?! Not here, that's for goddamn sure. Still, I remembered hearing about the famous Scene With The Giant Squid and I figured it might make all of this other garbage worth wading through. Supposedly it was this super awesome battle between man and cephalopod that left a lasting impression on people. <--I should have known better. Lamest. Battle. Ever. Let me save you some trouble. See, I thought that there was some menacing squid following them that decided to attack the sub and try to drag it to the bottom, or crush it with its massive tentacles, or break it open to slurp out the crew with a straw, or...something. Anything! But no. A group of big-ass squids was swimming by, a few got curious, one of the poor bastards got tangled around the fan or whatnot, and then when the crew when out to "fight" it off the Nautilus one of them got tossed off and killed. Oh, and Ned almost got eaten but Nemo hacked at the squid's beak and saved him. The End. Bah. There was a shining moment when I thought things were going to finally get cool as the Nautilus passed over Atlantis. Fucking Atlantis! <--Yes! These turds got out to explore every dull coral bed along the way, so surely they would stop and meander around this magically advanced civilization, right? Nope. They just floated on past it. Bye, Aquaman... And after that, I think I just lost the will to even try to muster up a few shits for the rest of it. Nemo's quitting land because of {insert spoilery things here} was also ridiculous but I could have easily given it a pass if this were a remotely engaging story otherwise. Since it wasn't, that was just ONE MORE THING that I found annoying. I mean, really? Why the hell would anyone go to all that trouble of building this masterpiece of a submarine just for revenge? Just track the fuckers down and shoot them in the head. It would be waaaaay easier and ultimately less time-consuming. Oh, and their stupid secret language that they spoke on board? It was probably Pig Latin because everything else they did seemed like something a 10 year old would have thought up, too. Why keep Aronnax, Conseil, & Ned prisoner just because they had seen the Nautilus? <--made no sense! It's not as though anyone could track them down even if those guys spilled the beans! They were literally the ONLY submarine in the world at that point and the oceans are HUGE. Again, I would have overlooked that with pleasure if I weren't so pissed off with this boring time-suck. The only fun thing about this was Ned Land. <--harpooner extraordinaire Just the fact that he is the ONLY surly Canadian I've ever read about was almost worth the price of admission. Seriously. Name another volatile Canuck in literature. Kind of hard to do, eh? (view spoiler)[ Or is it, Bub? (hide spoiler)] Anyway. It may be hard to tell but I didn't actually like this very much. However, if you did? Well, then that's good, too.

  4. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Jules Verne, classic pulp author, innovator of science fiction, originator of 'steampunk'--or was he? Many readers of the English language will never know the real Verne, and I'm not talking about those who dislike reading. Indeed, many well-meaning folks from the English-speaking world have picked up and read a book titled 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' cover to cover, and yet still know next to nothing of Verne, due to his long-standing translation problem. And as an interesting note, Jules Verne, classic pulp author, innovator of science fiction, originator of 'steampunk'--or was he? Many readers of the English language will never know the real Verne, and I'm not talking about those who dislike reading. Indeed, many well-meaning folks from the English-speaking world have picked up and read a book titled 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea' cover to cover, and yet still know next to nothing of Verne, due to his long-standing translation problem. And as an interesting note, twenty thousand leagues does not refer to the depth of the Nautilus, but the distance traveled. Since his earliest publication, when the author was still alive, translations of his work into English have been abhorrent. For speakers of other languages, he is considered an intelligent, thoughtful, deliberate author, not a half-competent penner of fun pulp adventures (and this isn't some Baudelaire/Poe error on their part). Indeed, it's created a catch-22 in literary studies: current translations of Verne are so bad that no one wants to read or study him, so there's little demand for new translations. How bad are the old translations? Bad. Often up to 25% of the text is cut. Character names are changed, as are plot points and events. Anything which might reflect poorly on British colonial policy is left out. Verne's carefully-researched scientific facts and numbers are arbitrarily changed or deleted. 'Diving suit' becomes 'life vest' and in several incidents, translators added racial epithets, in one case translating 'he said' as 'whined the Jew'. Compare two translations of Verne, and you're likely to find they differ greatly in length, content, and story. Indeed, even the title in French does not end with 'sea', but 'seas'. Sadly, picking up a copy of the book, new or used, and you are still likely to get one of these terrible translations, since they are in the public domain. But we need suffer beneath this maltreatment no longer, for recently, several scholars have labored to bring to us faithful and well-researched translations. F.P. Walter donated his translation to Project Gutenberg, and it may be found here, while William Butcher's, which includes a critical introduction and footnotes, is available here. Reading through these, it must be clear that Verne is not a pulp author, with more imagination than sense, but then, it's also difficult to describe his work as science fiction or steampunk. For the first, all the technologies he puts forth are not fictional, but real, current technologies: submarines had been in use since the American Civil war and his descriptions all rely closely on data found in scientific journals. It's true that his submarine is much larger and more advanced than any other, but it's hardly the same leap as a race to the moon or a journey through time. Indeed, as with Doyle's Professor Challenger stories, it is not man who is fantastical, but the world around him. As for 'steampunk', the Nautilus skips right past steam and diesel and is wholly powered by chemical batteries and electricity, with nary a cog or flywheel to be found. As for the writing itself, it is intelligent, the characters strong, and Verne is quite capable of giving us those little insights which subtly alters our perception of the various interpersonal conflicts which dominate the book's plot. Though there are various events--the squid, meeting with this or that vessel, the undersea gardens, travel to the antarctic--these are all scattered throughout the story willy nilly, as if it were a real travelogue, tied together by the real central plot, which is the conflict between the captain and our heroes. But since fiction is artificial, it does not make sense for the author to pretend that it isn't, so I found it disappointing that the individual occurrences of the plot rarely seemed important, nor did Verne build up to them or create a letdown, afterwards. The famous scene with the giant squid was particularly disappointing and anti-climactic, emerging suddenly and then over in a few moments. It's something I've been struggling with as I work on my own Victorian sci fi novel: ensuring that each scene has purpose on its own, and flows from one to the next. It need not even be a clear flow of events: flow can also be achieved through mood, tone, and pace. Verne's book owes a great deal to Moby Dick, a book which bravely thrust from scene to scene, but where each scene was conceptually interconnected with the one before and the one after that, even if one was about the classification of whales and the next about someone being swept out to sea, there was still a conceptual link between them. Verne's digressions of science and classification are not bound up in the purpose and philosophy of his story, as Melville's are, which leads to another problem that I have been carefully weighing in my own writing: what to include. Again and again, Verne spends long parts of chapters listing through types of fish seen outside the ship. Some of these are like Ovid's lists: full of lovely images, colors, and shapes, a melange of words and sounds that approaches a sort of poetry. Some contain humorous or interesting details which have some bearing on the situation at hand. Yet in many instances, they are merely long, dry, and add nothing to the book. It certainly makes sense, as our narrator is a trained classifier, and duly interested in such things, but one of the rules of fiction is that we leave out reality when it is dull or extraneous, or pass it by with a few words, as Verne does dozens of time, commenting on the passing of days or weeks in a paragraph or even a sentence. To me, leaving in such long-winded, repetitious digressions was a mark against the book. But then, science fiction is very fond of such digressions, and Verne also indulges in the other kind: the long chapters of explanation about length, tonnage, and the particulars of undersea travel, all taking place at the slow pace of a Socratic dialogue: 'but then how do you replenish these sodium batteries being, as you are, always at sea', 'well, you see, I distill it from the very . . .', and so on. And of course, almost none of these myriad details are ever shown to be important again. My general rule is to only go into detail so much as it: I. Impacts the story directly II. Sets an artistic mood III. Symbolically explores the philosophical ideas in the book, or IV. Is amusing, in and of itself But then, Verne is not only indebted to Melville, but to Poe, and his disjointed, bizarre story The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket--his only foray into the novel, and one of those books that is so flawed and unusual that it has inspired whole generations of authors who feel that, with a bit more focus and tightening up, they might turn its form into something quite strong. So, when we rush from carefully-detailed and researched science and plunge into silly, unsupported tall tales in Verne, we can, to some degree, thank Poe, whose story started as a straightforward travelogue and ended as some kind of religious symbolic fever dream. But it is strange to me to see Verne spend a chapter talking meticulously about the tonnage of the Nautilus and what volume of water would be required to sink to certain depths, and then claiming that sharks can only bite while swimming upside-down and that pearl divers in Ceylon wouldn't be able to hold their breath for more than a minute at a time. It just goes to show that no matter how much careful research and deliberation you put into a book, you're still going to make errors, so in the end, you might want to focus more on your story, plotting, and pacing (things you can control), and less on endlessly researching things that could just as easily be passed over without the story losing anything (except length). And overall, this is what I wish Verne had done. While I respect the intelligence and precision with which he pursues his work, and I would definitely not rank him among the pulps, the very rich character story at the center of the book was too lightly touched upon, when, as in Frankenstein or Moby Dick, it could have been the focus, and made for a much stronger book. The characters, the conflicts, and the psychology were all there, but in the end, we leave the book without a completed arc.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual rating: 4.5 🌟 It's very evident that Jules Verne did a ton of research for this book. I would even go so far to say that there is more info-dumping than there is plot. However, Verne has a way of pulling you into the story and writing in such a enthralling way that this large amount of explanations and listing of names isn't boring or repetitive. It just adds to the story and to the development of the characters. I'm not surprised in the slightest that there are people out there who are a Actual rating: 4.5 🌟 It's very evident that Jules Verne did a ton of research for this book. I would even go so far to say that there is more info-dumping than there is plot. However, Verne has a way of pulling you into the story and writing in such a enthralling way that this large amount of explanations and listing of names isn't boring or repetitive. It just adds to the story and to the development of the characters. I'm not surprised in the slightest that there are people out there who are actually convinced that Verne is telling a non-fictional tale. It all just seems so real, believable and convincing. I also felt this constant air of mystery while reading, which was strengthen further by how many things are left to the imagination and remain unresolved. I do have to say that I strongly believe that this book isn't for everyone, especially due to the large extent of maritime information. I'm a huge lover of ocean animals though, so I certainly felt lots of joy while reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    Verne's works are difficult for an English-speaking reader to evaluate fairly, because he wasn't well-served by the English translations of his day --which are still the standard ones in print, which most people read. The translators changed plots and characters' names in some cases, excised passages they considered "boring," and generally took a very free hand with the text; so you never know how much of the plodding pacing, bathetic dialogue, and stylistic faults (for instance, what passes for Verne's works are difficult for an English-speaking reader to evaluate fairly, because he wasn't well-served by the English translations of his day --which are still the standard ones in print, which most people read. The translators changed plots and characters' names in some cases, excised passages they considered "boring," and generally took a very free hand with the text; so you never know how much of the plodding pacing, bathetic dialogue, and stylistic faults (for instance, what passes for "description" here is usually simply long lists of marine species whose appearance most readers have no idea of) to blame on them and how much on Verne. In any case, those characteristics are fully in view in the translation of this novel that I read, in addition to the basic 19th-century diction which will be off-putting to many modern readers anyway (my wife chose not to finish the book). The success of the book when it was written, in my opinion, owed much more to the novelty of the premise than to the execution of the finished product; and today, where submarines and undersea travel are commonplace, that factor doesn't operate. (This is a pity, because Captain Nemo is actually one of Verne's more complex and memorable characters, and deserves a better literary medium for his story!)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a marine adventure book, which can be qualified even fiction novel; one of the first novels of science fiction. In 1864, when this book came out, no underwater trip had been done, reported, Jules Verne therefore allows to imagine from scientific basis for certain facts (pressure, temperature,... different seas and oceans traveled) and more spooky for cross creatures. We say what avant-garde with this fully electrified submarine, its autonomous suits and wh Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is a marine adventure book, which can be qualified even fiction novel; one of the first novels of science fiction. In 1864, when this book came out, no underwater trip had been done, reported, Jules Verne therefore allows to imagine from scientific basis for certain facts (pressure, temperature,... different seas and oceans traveled) and more spooky for cross creatures. We say what avant-garde with this fully electrified submarine, its autonomous suits and which are used for humanistic and non-military purposes! This novel is a real dashboard where we follow our four protagonists, we dive with them to discover the splendors of the sea, and the beautiful illustrations of Neuville adds to this part of fabulous. Admittedly, some passages are very (too?) precise, very (too?) detailed in classification of species, in maritime coordinates but we must not forget that this dashboard is held by the imminent Professor Oronnax. We are fascinated by Captain Nemo: What happened to him for wanting so much to leave the Earth forever? Why so much hate and rancor towards men, to the point of attacking their boats? Can we blame him, without knowing his past and knowing what men are capable of? Is it more to blame than the men who leave at the beginning of the novel hunt down the "monster" sailor to kill him because it harms the navigators?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    For years this is what Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meant to me... Look familiar? I know, I know...That's just not what Jules Verne intended. Hey, Disney tried and it was fun when I was about 7 or 8, but back when Vernes wrote this, he was writing a true thrill ride! The story is of an underwater mission to seek and destroy a sea monster. That premise is turned on its head and the story takes a more scientific and character-based slant. Verne takes his readers on a trip to new worlds, som For years this is what Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meant to me... Look familiar? I know, I know...That's just not what Jules Verne intended. Hey, Disney tried and it was fun when I was about 7 or 8, but back when Vernes wrote this, he was writing a true thrill ride! The story is of an underwater mission to seek and destroy a sea monster. That premise is turned on its head and the story takes a more scientific and character-based slant. Verne takes his readers on a trip to new worlds, some real and just recently discovered as well as his own fictionalized lands. This must have been an edge-of-your-seater back when it came out. It looks a bit dated when held up to the light of the 21st century though. The writing is not stellar, but as pure adventure there are certain passages that still entertain and send someone like myself back to my childhood and that silly ride at Disney.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    I picked this book up -- this specific edition -- because I saw it was illustrated by the Dillons. This was fortunate because it turned out that, contrary to my previously held belief, I had not read it. What I had read as a child was some heavily edited-for-excitingness version almost entirely absent the encyclopedic accounts of marine life and oceanic conditions that constitute the bulk of the text. So few are the actual adventures of Nemo and the Professor and his two companions that I now wo I picked this book up -- this specific edition -- because I saw it was illustrated by the Dillons. This was fortunate because it turned out that, contrary to my previously held belief, I had not read it. What I had read as a child was some heavily edited-for-excitingness version almost entirely absent the encyclopedic accounts of marine life and oceanic conditions that constitute the bulk of the text. So few are the actual adventures of Nemo and the Professor and his two companions that I now wonder how they managed to get enough material to still have a book. The narration of the action is very understated, also, so I wonder if it was actually rewritten for the volume I had. With modern special effects this could make a great movie -- not an action film, but more like a marine documentary with strange asides into the human psyche. The above image (a Ransonnet-Villez lithograph of corals) is not from or even directly related to this book, but merely an illustration of the type of investigation of the undersea world that was becoming possible at the time due to new technologies.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    “Under the sea Under the sea When the sardine Begin the beguine It's music to me What do they got? A lot of sand We got a hot crustacean band Each little clam here know how to jam here Under the sea” - Sebastian the groovy Caribbean Crab The perfect soundtrack for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas really. I bet Captain Nemo wishes he’d thought of it. The direct translation of the full title of this here book is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: An Underwater Tour of the World*, note the S at the “Under the sea Under the sea When the sardine Begin the beguine It's music to me What do they got? A lot of sand We got a hot crustacean band Each little clam here know how to jam here Under the sea” - Sebastian the groovy Caribbean Crab The perfect soundtrack for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas really. I bet Captain Nemo wishes he’d thought of it. The direct translation of the full title of this here book is Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas: An Underwater Tour of the World*, note the S at the end of “Seas” also, the tour spans multiple seas you know. The book really is what it says on the tin, a large part of it book reads like a travelogue with more marine biology infodumps than I know what to do with. This aspect of it is a little like Moby-Dick*, the difference is that Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas (eff the extended title) is much more accessible and less dry (haha!). The version I read is translated from the original French by F. P. Walter with an excellent introduction by Mr. Walter that is informative, not too long and creates a nice sense of anticipation. Art by GoldenDaniel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, as you probably already know, is the adventure of Professor Pierre Aronnax, his ridiculously faithful servant Conseil, and the ruff 'n' tuff, love-em-and-leave-em, wham-bam-thank you-maam, Ned “Is that a harpoon or are you just happy to see me” Land. That sentence went on so long I train of thought has derailed... Oh yes! The adventures of the above-mentioned fellows in the Nautilus, a super-submarine captained by the mysterious Nemo***. Basically, Prof Aronnax and co go hunting for a creature they believe to be a mega-whale which they believe to have sunk several ships in the ocean and has to be stopped. As luck would have it, their own ship is sunk and the creature they are hunting turns out to be the high-tech submarine the Nautilus. Fortunately for them, Captain Nemo is nice enough to rescue them and take them on board his sub, less fortunate is that he won’t allow them to leave the Nautilus – ever! From then on Prof Aronnax’s first person narrative takes us along on this extraordinary voyage. The 20,000 leagues of the title refers to the distance, not the depth, covered by Aronnax’s voyage on board the Nautilus, which mostly takes place under the sea. I see what you did there Mr. Verne! I have to confess I am not an enthusiast of marine biology so my mind did float off to other places during some of the more educational passages. In all fairness, the book never bored me though, the tone of the narrative is always affable and pleasant to breeze through. If you are familiar with Disney’s awesome 1954 adaption of the book you will already know what to expect at the climax of the book involving a giant octopus (called devilfish in the book). This scene is brilliantly depicted by Verne, I was surprised how vivid and effective it is even in written form. Octopus vs The Nautilus (no idea who to credit, sorry) The central characters are quite well developed, though I did find Conseil to be subservient to a fault: “He's in Master's employ, he thinks like Master, he speaks like Master, and much to his regret, he can't be counted on to form a majority.” In a scene where oxygen was running out of the Nautilus, Conseil says "Oh, if only I didn't have to breathe, to leave more air for Master!" . For heaven’s sake man, get some agency! Ned Land may be a little plebeian but at least he is his own man. The faithful servant Passepartout from Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days is very similar to Conseil, but he is much more independent and even goes off on a solo adventure for a while. Aronnax is the least interesting of the main characters, but he makes a good narrator. Captain Nemo is, of course, awesome. A sort of Sherlock Holmes crossed with Batman – with gills (well, no gills but I bet he wishes he has them). I generally prefer Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days to this one, as it has less slack and moves along at a brisker pace. Still I like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas, it is very amiable and entertaining to read. _______________________ * “Vingt mille lieues sous les mers: Tour du monde sous-marin” if you want to get all Frenchie about it. ** Can I just plug my awesome terrible review of Moby-Dick here, it’s probably an all-time worst review of this venerated book. But I like it ;) **** *** Unfortunately the Nautilus is not yellow so I can’t, in all good conscience, quote from another song. **** My "emojitional" Twilight review is even worse, and it gets very little love, either because it is too far ahead of its time, or too far behind! But Cecily likes it so it can’t be all bad ;) Audiobook clearly and entertainingly read by Librivox volunteer Ms. Michele Fry. Thank you!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    "Is more than one pearl ever found in an oyster?" asked Conseil. "Yes, my boy. Some oysters are veritable jewel boxes. I've even read of an oyster-but I can hardly believe it-which contained no less than a hundred and fifty sharks." "A hundred and fifty sharks!" cried Ned Land. "Did I say sharks?" I cried. "I meant to say a hundred and fifty pearls. It wouldn't make sense to say sharks." This review can be found on Amaranthine Reads. I always feel a bit weird reviewing a book that I haven't read in "Is more than one pearl ever found in an oyster?" asked Conseil. "Yes, my boy. Some oysters are veritable jewel boxes. I've even read of an oyster-but I can hardly believe it-which contained no less than a hundred and fifty sharks." "A hundred and fifty sharks!" cried Ned Land. "Did I say sharks?" I cried. "I meant to say a hundred and fifty pearls. It wouldn't make sense to say sharks." This review can be found on Amaranthine Reads. I always feel a bit weird reviewing a book that I haven't read in its native language. Translations are all very well, but the very soul of a book must always be lost when it comes to being turned in to English, unless, of course, the original author is the translator. Then it is not translation, just bad writing. But translations are odd things and, sadly, the only thing available to me and thus are all I can review. In the case of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea it is a translation, but a mighty one. I was captivated from the start, with the magnificence of the descriptions, setting the scene, getting me excited about the whole ruddy adventure. I enjoyed Professor Aronnax and his very Passepartout-esque servant Conseil and their rather odd relationship. Ned Land was grand, if only for a laugh. And then we got on Captain Nemo's submarine, the Nautilus, and two things happened. Captain Nemo was, honestly, pointless. He wasn't to be feared, or particularly enigmatic. He was just a bit of a lonely loser. He should have been explored more-not to the extent that the mystery was solved completely, but surely to a deeper level akin to what his submarine goes to. Captain Nemo was, in short, a huge disappointment. His so-called revenge on society is, quite frankly, pathetic, as well. Secondly, we sink in to a deluge of classifications of fish and other marine life. Countless lists of the things Aronnax, Conseil and Ned see. Countless fish. I understand that the sea holds many of these, but to list them all is ridiculous. It felt like nothing but tedium and perhaps a little showy-showy. I suppose an adventure that is trapped beneath the waves will have limitations in how quick the pace can go, but the very nature of the journey and the interim expeditions-whilst incredibly imaginative and very forward-thinking-tended to be slow and fairly lacklustre. The whole thing petered out in a rather tremendous fashion. I feel slightly cheated by it, to tell the truth, as the start really had me engaged and mentally prepared to be taken on a fantastic journey. Instead, I just learned about latitude and classifications of fish. Blog | Reviews | Instagram | Twitter

  12. 4 out of 5

    [Shai] Bibliophage

    This is definitely one of the best classic science fiction I've read so far. I was amazed that Verne might have started the idea of the submarine and the under the sea explorations. While I was reading this, I was contemplating where he got his ideas or whether silly it might be, he could have time traveled from his time to the future or vice versa.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chad Bearden

    You can't be a serious science-fiction reader without delving just a bit into the genre's roots. To remedy an embarrassing lack of any Jules Verne on my reading list, last year I read "Journey to the Center of the Earth". I can see how to a young reader, it would be an instant classic. It's a pretty ripping adventure complete with hidden underground worlds and dinosaurs and gleefully wrong-headed theories about geology. What's not to love? Maybe I was a little disappointed? I was hoping for more You can't be a serious science-fiction reader without delving just a bit into the genre's roots. To remedy an embarrassing lack of any Jules Verne on my reading list, last year I read "Journey to the Center of the Earth". I can see how to a young reader, it would be an instant classic. It's a pretty ripping adventure complete with hidden underground worlds and dinosaurs and gleefully wrong-headed theories about geology. What's not to love? Maybe I was a little disappointed? I was hoping for more than just a corny adventure story. There wasn't a lot there send me searching the shelves for another Jules Verne novel. But, alas, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" sat there anyway, patiently waiting for me be curious enough to crack it open. Its prospects weren't too hot, but it did have one thing playing to its advantage, and that one thing was: Alan Moore. You see, Alan Moore had written several years ago, a Victorian era literary adventure comic called "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." In it, he collects literary characters from various eras and sends them off to save the world. For its base of operations, the team used The Nautilus, the otherworldly submarine of Captain Nemo. Moore's version of Nemo was about a million miles away from the James Mason version in the classic Disney movie, which was a lot closer in tone to the goofy peril invoked in "Journey to the Center of the Earth". Moore made Nemo dark and brooding and ambiguous and cryptic. There wasn't anything corny about it. Okay then...what the heck. I gave Verne another chance, and plucked the novel off the shelve and had a look. Unexpectedly, the first thing I read was a brief introductory essay by Ray Bradbury comparing "20,000 Leagues" to "Moby Dick", laying out a convincing arguement for how Nemo and Ahab are opposite sides of the same coin: Ahab evil in his pursuit to conquer the Great Whale and the sea, Nemo evil in his pursuit to become one with it. Now Ray Bradbury has always been a bit of a starry-eyed dreamer (which isn't a bad thing), so it wasn't too far fetched to think he was reading this Verne novel through rose-colored lenses, but quite frankly, nothing in "Center of the Earth" really lent itself to being compared seriously to any Great American Novels, so perhaps I'd be dealing with something different this time out. Equipped with a bit of optimism, it was time to let the book speak for itself. And the novel spoke for itself. Where "Center of the Earth" was a slick popcorn action story, "20,000 Leagues" is dark and gritty and real. Rather than cartwheeling through flashy action-set-pieces, the story of Doctor Arronax and harpooner Ned Land's imprisonment by Nemo is a crawling, cryptic one. It moves very slowly and deliberately, taking its time to offer lavish descriptions not only of the expansive vistas of the world's oceans, but also of the Nautilus, the grand undersea palace constructed by Nemo in his self-imposed exile from society. Some of the descriptions of sea life are almost tedious (okay, 'almost' nothing, they really are tedious). As our narrator is a marine biologist, we are graced with several encyclopedic descriptions of every possible creature you might find in the depths. Slowly, however, you begin to realize how much in love with the ocean Arronax is, and all the endless cataloguing of sea-life are really the doctor's love poems to the sea. And via Arronax's great passion, Nemo slowly becomes less of a villain. How villanous is it exactly to offer an awe-struck marine biologist an opportunity to spend the rest of life studying things no other scientist could even dream existed. Which paves the way for Ned Land, the restless harpooner who keeps popping his grizzled nose into the room and reminding everybody that Nemo is a megalomaniac bastard. Which is basically true, but honestly, I only begrudgingly accepted Nemo as the bad guy, maybe because I, like Arronax, am a scientiest at heart. Anyhow, the moral ambiguity of Nemo, the starry-eyed wonder of Arronax, the tough-as-nails grit of Ned (I honestly think Verne was picturing Kirk Douglas when he created Ned) gives the reader a host of characters with whom to get deeply invested. Combined with the intricate and luxurious descriptions of the world under the ocean, "20,000 Leagues" is a vastly different sort of adventure than "Center of the Earth". Much to my surprise and delight, it is far more than a schlockly romp around the ocean. It may not be at the same level as "Moby Dick", but it definitely reads as a work of fine literature.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    211215 this is a later addition: there is a well known critical position that science fiction is the 'literature of cognitive estrangement', where the usual, the mundane, is made 'strange', engaging thought from some slightly different perspective- i just read a critique that verne perhaps operates the other way round, that he makes the 'strange' into the familiar, the mundane, the european world of mid 1800s, so less threatening and somehow maintaining worlds comfortable to readers always expla 211215 this is a later addition: there is a well known critical position that science fiction is the 'literature of cognitive estrangement', where the usual, the mundane, is made 'strange', engaging thought from some slightly different perspective- i just read a critique that verne perhaps operates the other way round, that he makes the 'strange' into the familiar, the mundane, the european world of mid 1800s, so less threatening and somehow maintaining worlds comfortable to readers always explainable in applied science, in engineering, in spite of any fantastic devices or worlds... 031015 first review: this is another book i decide to reread that i once gave a five. when i rated that it was by memory, and of that an abridged version. this is a new read, a new translation, a new experience. thus sentiment plays less of a role, but i am unsure how much of this rating is the idea rather than execution... this edition comes with a 60 page introduction, which sets it up well. the text itself is complete, around 430 pages, and of the same vintage as The Wretched (Les Miserables) by Victor Hugo. it is interesting to think of these books as contemporary, of how each works, how different, how similar. also how much of it is images of the disney movie, from which in reading it is hard to escape. this is the good: brass/steampunk visuals of the nautilus, james mason as captain nemo. the bad: kirk douglas as ned land the harpooner (singing!), peter lorre as conseil, the movie pacing and resolution... there is not much to comment on, except to reiterate what critics if not everyone knows by now: the translations read as kids book are bad, abridging is radical, the ideas are beautiful. exact failings of the translations i do not know, as i do not read french. of abridging, well there are many, many, long passages detailing such things as mechanics, science, engineering, then catalogues of fishes, sharks, and other marine life. there is great specificity of latitude, longitude, depth, type of seawater. there is some gesture to the power of electricity, other concepts such as walking undersea, on finding wreckage wealth, of drowned ruins, of pearls beyond measure, of all the ways nemo refuses the land, in food, in fuel, in everything from furniture to ink. these sections are shortened or omitted. at the time perhaps they were needed to give scientific plausibility to the magical experience, by now they are boring, now we read past them, but i enjoy them in an abstract, comic, way... particularly marine life as seen between scientific classification by conseil, and whether they are edible by ned land... other comments: this is the genesis of science fiction as 'hard science' rather than speculative, rather than social science fiction, and the overriding attitude is that everything, however fantastic, has a scientific rationale- even if such is speculative, if such is imaginative license, it is the philosophical principle that science enables and explains everything. so be ready for a lot of science (of 1869). do not read this if you like say, genre romances...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    Dr. Pierre Arronaux along with his manservant Conseil and Canadian Harpooner Ned Land are captured and imprisoned inside of the submarine known as the Nautilus after mistaking it for a sea creature and attacking it on the USS American Naval ship The Abraham Lincoln. There they meet the Eccentric and adventurous Captain Nemo who tells them that they are going to remain on board his vessel forever to go on an extraordinary tour under the sea. Will the men be able to ever get home or will they stay Dr. Pierre Arronaux along with his manservant Conseil and Canadian Harpooner Ned Land are captured and imprisoned inside of the submarine known as the Nautilus after mistaking it for a sea creature and attacking it on the USS American Naval ship The Abraham Lincoln. There they meet the Eccentric and adventurous Captain Nemo who tells them that they are going to remain on board his vessel forever to go on an extraordinary tour under the sea. Will the men be able to ever get home or will they stay on the ship until they die? Can they stop Ned Land before he does anything stupid? Read on and find out for yourself. This was a pretty good and interesting read as well as the first book I have ever read by Jules Verne. I have heard of this book from some of my friends who have loved it and seen the Disney film they came out with which I may watch in the future. I thought the scientific and technical parts were interesting and to go on an underwater tour to see the marine flora and fauna would be awesome to do! If you enjoy classic literature and books about under the sea then be sure to check this book out. It is available to get at your local library and to buy wherever books are sold.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Olivier Delaye

    Read this in French when I was a kid and I loved it. Reread it recently in English and I'm still in awe. When a story is good, it's good in any language, and this one proves the rule.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    I must reproduce the passage from this book which I found yesterday in Kingsley Amis's New Maps of Hell. Did I have the same translation when I read it at age nine? Even now, it seems strangely familiar, and in particular I remember wondering about that odd word "poulp":What a scene! The unhappy man, seized by the tentacle and fastened to its blowholes, was balanced in the air according to the caprice of this enormous trunk. He was choking, and cried out, 'À moi! à moi!' (Help! help!) Those Fren I must reproduce the passage from this book which I found yesterday in Kingsley Amis's New Maps of Hell. Did I have the same translation when I read it at age nine? Even now, it seems strangely familiar, and in particular I remember wondering about that odd word "poulp":What a scene! The unhappy man, seized by the tentacle and fastened to its blowholes, was balanced in the air according to the caprice of this enormous trunk. He was choking, and cried out, 'À moi! à moi!' (Help! help!) Those French words caused me a profound stupor. Then I had a countryman aboard, perhaps several! I shall hear that heartrending cry all my life! The unfortunate man was lost. Who would rescue him from that powerful grasp? Captain Nemo threw himself on the poulp, and with his hatchet cut off another arm. The first officer was fighting with rage against other monsters that were climbing the sides of the Nautilus. The crew were fighting with hatchets. The Canadian, Conseil, and I dug our arms into the fleshy masses. A violent smell of musk pervaded the atmosphere. It was horrible.Having since then read Verne in the original French, I can report that it is better in the original. But the difference is probably less than you imagine.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Firstly, I won't deny that Jules Verne knows his stuff. This book is full of scientific analysis, with a detailed knowledge of zoology, ocean currents, geographical construction and engineering designs. While the character development is stalled and Nemo is the only one to truly grow (somewhat, that is), the amount of knowledge Verne shoved into the book made it sink- no pun intended. I'm in no way denying that this book is interesting and is not worthy of a higher rating. There were parts where Firstly, I won't deny that Jules Verne knows his stuff. This book is full of scientific analysis, with a detailed knowledge of zoology, ocean currents, geographical construction and engineering designs. While the character development is stalled and Nemo is the only one to truly grow (somewhat, that is), the amount of knowledge Verne shoved into the book made it sink- no pun intended. I'm in no way denying that this book is interesting and is not worthy of a higher rating. There were parts where I actually felt myself getting drawn into the world. The description of the underworld life sucked me in, and I could almost see what Verne was describing. But after page after page after page of nothing but telling, not showing, I felt myself losing interest. There is only so much I can really take. There was also a subtle humour. One part is when Aronnax is in one of his underwater walks with Nemo, and it starts to rain. He thinks to himself that he'll get wet, forgetting that is he underwater, and his realisation catches him off-guard. Furthermore, I did like Conseil, however he seemed to be much younger than his thirty years and had a rather strong romantic devotion to his Master. I'm not suggesting that Verne was unknowingly writing a homosexual relationship between Aronnax and his assistant, but reading it as a modern reader, I cannot help picking up on this relationship. After all, I wouldn't know of many fictional servants who would willingly plunge into the ocean depths simply because their Master fell after being pulled away by a then-thought-of gargantuan water monster. In closing, this is a great historical work. I don't deny that, and I do recommend that book to people for that fact alone. It has inspired many sci-fi works today, and Verne is- was- a very knowledgeable scientific writer. However, it is not in my taste. The language isn't difficult, but after constant descriptions that appear to be written to explain to the reader alone (I don't know anyone who would explain the size of something in the amount of water it displaces!), I couldn't help feeling dragged down by it. Besides this, I really did like it, but couldn't give it a higher rating due to the difficulty it took to read line after line of description of fish.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike Anastasia

    This is a great book and I can understand how it's rightfully considered a classic, but I have to imagine this is as uninspiring to our generation as the first iPhone manuals will be in 150 years. When this was written, the idea of naval travel was only practically available to the rich and, beyond that, the concept of a submarine was on the same lines as a rail gun or UAV to us. We've probably imagined - either through stories, video games or whatever - that such things could exist in our world This is a great book and I can understand how it's rightfully considered a classic, but I have to imagine this is as uninspiring to our generation as the first iPhone manuals will be in 150 years. When this was written, the idea of naval travel was only practically available to the rich and, beyond that, the concept of a submarine was on the same lines as a rail gun or UAV to us. We've probably imagined - either through stories, video games or whatever - that such things could exist in our world but most of us won't ever get to interact with them or have an inside look at their mechanics. Verne gave the people of the world that exact view of an unimaginable submarine 80 years before U-boats stalked the western banks of his homeland. We STILL don't know 20% of the secrets the ocean holds and that number was effectively 0% in 1868, so I have a tremendous respect for the feeling of quest, exploration and wonder Verne imbued his work with. Since many Europeans never even had contact with oceans in their lives (provided they lived inland - no cars, expensive trains and unstable boats), this would have been absolutely riveting to them. And with that, I find myself lost with the biology and chemistry on display in M. Arronax's notes. There are time where the species he investigates feel like shopping lists (which is the point, the perspective Verne went for here was a notebook, not a first person recollection - which he also did in Harry's notebook for Journey to the Center of the Earth) and, after always being taught that shopping lists are wrong in prose, they stick out to me like the knuckles of a sassy Catholic boy after the nun fetched the ruler. Outstanding story but I would have had a bit better time with it if the biological observations didn't seem so numerical. Either way, though, outstanding. Also, Verne's adherence to the "central fire" - a scientific observation that the earth had a liquid iron core, which was disputed in his lifetime - is sensational. He was an author who wrote better than everyone and knew more than most scientists in the process. The compressed air, electric lamps and diving suits used onboard the nautilus directly influenced the first generations of diving apparati used by the British, German and American navies in the 1880s. Amazing.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Within the pages of this 1869 Classic sci-fi adventure, you will experience life underwater aboard the amazing submarine Nautilus encountering gigantic sea monsters, a 600 pound oyster shell with a flawless Pearl the size of a coconut, and fight your way thru man-eating Sharks as well as the Great Ice Barrier. While the story is a little "heavy" on the descriptions of the colorful fish and unusual plant life, there are also sea battles and shipwrecks to keep one entertained.Professor Aronmax nar Within the pages of this 1869 Classic sci-fi adventure, you will experience life underwater aboard the amazing submarine Nautilus encountering gigantic sea monsters, a 600 pound oyster shell with a flawless Pearl the size of a coconut, and fight your way thru man-eating Sharks as well as the Great Ice Barrier. While the story is a little "heavy" on the descriptions of the colorful fish and unusual plant life, there are also sea battles and shipwrecks to keep one entertained.Professor Aronmax narrates the story from his perspective as a ten month captive aboard the Nautilus along with his faithful servant Conseil and Canadian harpooner friend Ned Land whose on-going escape plans are continually thwarted within the secretive world of the reclusive Captain Nemo.This is my very first Jules Vern novel, but won't be my last.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I have just spent the best part of the last 2 weeks reading this, and I'm wondering why I bothered. I had completely the wrong impression of what this book was about, not having heard the story or seen any of the films (apart from Captain Nemo turning up in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen!). I thought that the 20,000 leagues under the sea meant that they literally went down vertically to 20,000 leagues below the surface and there found a land full of fantastical creatures a la Journey to the C I have just spent the best part of the last 2 weeks reading this, and I'm wondering why I bothered. I had completely the wrong impression of what this book was about, not having heard the story or seen any of the films (apart from Captain Nemo turning up in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen!). I thought that the 20,000 leagues under the sea meant that they literally went down vertically to 20,000 leagues below the surface and there found a land full of fantastical creatures a la Journey to the Centre of the Earth (which I also haven't read). But it was basically a fictional travel guide to the world's oceans written in the 1860s and therefore now out of date. The language (which I understand is a translation) was flowery and at some points consisted of paragraphs of lists of names of various sea plants and animals. The one exciting bit of the book, which I had anticipated for 221 pages before I finally got to it, lasted for approximately one and a third pages! I remember now why I don't read fiction that was written more than 50 years ago. And I think Hollywood has a lot to answer for.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    I read this EARLY in high school, about a hundred years ago, so I cannot write an appropriately thoughtful review due to time and a memory sodden with time. However, I can recollect one memorable anecdote about this reading. This book was so good, I could not put it down, literally. I think I started this on Friday afternoon and finished sometime Sunday night, with barely a TV show in between.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    It has been said that Captain Nemo is the worst villain in classic literature. I disagree. I submit that Verne's intimate knowledge of marine biology, which he thrusts upon the reader in chapter after painful chapter, is TRULY the worst villain in classic literature, though it could be argued that Melville's familiarity with the whaling industry is right up there. Overall, too much of the book told me too little. I was hoping for a better character sketch of Captain Nemo, and I was left wanting It has been said that Captain Nemo is the worst villain in classic literature. I disagree. I submit that Verne's intimate knowledge of marine biology, which he thrusts upon the reader in chapter after painful chapter, is TRULY the worst villain in classic literature, though it could be argued that Melville's familiarity with the whaling industry is right up there. Overall, too much of the book told me too little. I was hoping for a better character sketch of Captain Nemo, and I was left wanting more. So much more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    The Pirate Ghost (Formerly known as the Curmudgeon)

    Okay, nothing new about this story is there? This is a piece of classic science fiction or adventure fiction, if you prefer. It's actually what I remembered. I've rated it five stars, but it's important to note, that five stars comes because of what this novel started. This is the birth of steampunk and science fantasy. This is the book that most people point to, not that there aren't others, as one of the earliest purely science fiction stories. And, more importantly, this is loaded with hard s Okay, nothing new about this story is there? This is a piece of classic science fiction or adventure fiction, if you prefer. It's actually what I remembered. I've rated it five stars, but it's important to note, that five stars comes because of what this novel started. This is the birth of steampunk and science fantasy. This is the book that most people point to, not that there aren't others, as one of the earliest purely science fiction stories. And, more importantly, this is loaded with hard science. Some of the conclusions are wrong, but from start to finish this is one scientific observation after another. Even when the Nautilus runs aground in a narrow straight, Captain Nemo computes the exact time that they'll come free based on a myriad of factors, every one of which grounded in scientific principle, from the factoring in the moon, to the salinity of the water and some fairly anal retentive compulsive details. For those interested, other than some things he might not have ever known, his story of travel in a submarine, given it's a fairly luxurious submarine, is actually reasonably accurate compared to modern times. Verne wrote about the travels under the sea as if it was a travel book chronicling a rather strange vacation to exotic lands in the tradition of the times he lived. Through the course of the book, no ocean goes unexplored. The Nautilus even makes its way under each polar ice cap. All the while, the narrator, gives us a species by species list of every fish known to man, and some never before seen. It's this meticulous attention to detail that seems to serve as a blueprint for modern science fiction. Verne's detailed catalog of the sea included mythical creatures like the famous Giant Squids, or devil fish, and what may have been the last saltwater manatee. It may not be as much the detail after detail of sea life, as the very idea of a ship that could survive underwater, powered by steam and coal which runs a dynamo that charges a battery, that is so amazing. There is no ego, super-ego an Id, no jungish collective unconscious or other symbolism. There is no analogous story buried under the surface. With Verne, it's what you read is what you get. He pays more respect to the power of nature, though his methods are ultimately barbaric but they were common practice at the time. It likely seems hypocritical for his iconic proffesorio to inspect his fish as they are pulled out of the nets while clearly casting a sympathetic nod to the need to protect the oceans from man's encroaching touch. As for characters. The Nautilus served as a character all it's own, that was as strange and unyielding as her Captain. Of the human variety, the professor served as our narrator. At first he seemed too caught up in science and the enamored of Nemo to be remarkable. Then, as a sign that Verne really had some skill on display between the covers of this book, the professor became more human as time passed. The professor became more and more enamored of Nemo, and impressed and amazed by the Nautilus he even seemed to argue with himself over his attachments. Then, upon finally seeing irrefutable proof that Nemo had a dark side that rivals Darth Vader, we get no more of the monotonous details. Ned Land was enjoyable and even provided some comic relief, though not nearly enough. The consummate man's man and nay-sayer. Conseil ... this guy needed a girlfriend. Only on rare occasions did he show any personality. This is Spok to Ned Land's Kirk. The bottom line for me is that, despite the problems with monotonousness detail, for the late 1800s this book required some very creative and imaginative thinking. It laid the ground work for what we now call "hard science fiction" and for that all of us who love science fiction should celebrate this. I might also say that by most modern definitions, this story is steampunk, and very likely one of the earliest steam punk novels that has all of the parts. Thank you Mr. Verne.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    This was a fun story. I remember seeing the movie when I was a kid but forgot what happened so I went into this story knowing very little. The only thing I remember was a giant squid. However, the squid fight was only two pages and near the end of the book which was a bit of a let down for me. I really liked the characters in this story. I thought Nemo, captain of the Nautilus, was a very cool guy. Who else would stick a library in a submarine? Of all the captains of seafaring voyage books I’ve This was a fun story. I remember seeing the movie when I was a kid but forgot what happened so I went into this story knowing very little. The only thing I remember was a giant squid. However, the squid fight was only two pages and near the end of the book which was a bit of a let down for me. I really liked the characters in this story. I thought Nemo, captain of the Nautilus, was a very cool guy. Who else would stick a library in a submarine? Of all the captains of seafaring voyage books I’ve read, I liked Nemo the best. He truly cared about his crew and when one died in a battle, he always gave them a moment of silence and his eyes were filled with tears. He was a compassionate guy with a big heart, even though he tried to hide it with a tough outer layer of authority. This story is a classic and Jules Verne is one of the pioneers of Sci-fi so what’s not to love?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Quirkyreader

    This book was even better the second time around. As I get older, I gain more of an appreciation for Verne’s work. Many of his stories have been written off as “adventure stories” for younger children. But they are more than that and deserve a second look. But what struck me the most during my second go, was all of the classification of marine animals that Verne used in this book. So my inner scientist was having a splendid time while listening to the audio.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rafael

    I rounded up this rating because for me is more like a 3.8, this amazing journey aboard the Nautilus is an incredible voyage, having read this more than a hundred years after it was written is an other kind of ride, it is fairly amazing how much became a reality after the imagination and research of Jules Verne, you have to keep in mind that this story develops way before this kind of tech exist and more ignorant of the life that habits the ocean even more than today, I enjoyed this book but it I rounded up this rating because for me is more like a 3.8, this amazing journey aboard the Nautilus is an incredible voyage, having read this more than a hundred years after it was written is an other kind of ride, it is fairly amazing how much became a reality after the imagination and research of Jules Verne, you have to keep in mind that this story develops way before this kind of tech exist and more ignorant of the life that habits the ocean even more than today, I enjoyed this book but it was also kind of slow and descriptive of somethings we know don't work like described, a entertained tale and a classic one to be still enjoyed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    As the French would say: "Jules Verne, c'est un des incontournables." This means he is an author that one should neither miss nor want to miss. Verne is a great prophet of a better future and the wonder of the planet we live on. Verne wrote delightful youth novels in which he attempted to add enough factual information to his novels so that parents could legitimately consider the time the child spent reading them to be of educational value. Had Verne put less factual material in this books, the p As the French would say: "Jules Verne, c'est un des incontournables." This means he is an author that one should neither miss nor want to miss. Verne is a great prophet of a better future and the wonder of the planet we live on. Verne wrote delightful youth novels in which he attempted to add enough factual information to his novels so that parents could legitimately consider the time the child spent reading them to be of educational value. Had Verne put less factual material in this books, the parents might have insisted that their child spend his or her time studying Latin instead. Verne has two important messages for the young person. The first is that the world contains many wonderful things outside of what we meet in our daily routines as middle class adults or children. Accordingly we should throughout our lives take time to travel and study about the great creation that we live in. Verne's second great message is that we should be optimist for the future. Man is constantly inventing new things that will make our world better. Our possibilities are endless. One day we may even be able to take a rocker to the moon, cross a continent in a balloon, even visit the moon or as this book tells us circumnavigate the globe underwater. In this book Verne presents the marine life in all of the world's oceans and the related taxonomy in a way that fascinates the young readers. He also explains the major problems involved in building underwater craft: maintaining oxygen supplies, water pressure, lighting, ventilating, powering and propelling. If only there were writers today who could turn technical issues into such lively entertainment. Children should keep reading Jules Verne books until they cease to be fun. Adults who did not read Verne in their youth might consider reading one to feel the giddiness of Verne's earnest optimism. 20000 leagues under the sea is as good a choice as any as a sample of Verne's works.(less)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    This was really good and I wanted to give it 5 stars but I did find the ending to be abrupt and a bit unsatisfying so I'm knocking it down to 4 but overall this was a fantastic audio. I didn't really know what to expect and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I always thought that the 20,000 leagues in the title referred to depth. Turns out it's distance. Oops I feel a little stupid for that. This is a really enjoyable sea adventure that holds up well. I recommend the audio narrated by Andrew W This was really good and I wanted to give it 5 stars but I did find the ending to be abrupt and a bit unsatisfying so I'm knocking it down to 4 but overall this was a fantastic audio. I didn't really know what to expect and I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I always thought that the 20,000 leagues in the title referred to depth. Turns out it's distance. Oops I feel a little stupid for that. This is a really enjoyable sea adventure that holds up well. I recommend the audio narrated by Andrew Wincott.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    In the words of Captain Nemo. "You won't regret the time you spend aboard my vessel. You are going to voyage through a land of wonders. Stunned amazement will probably be your state of mind." That is exactly how I felt while reading this story. The descriptions of the Nautilus were beautiful. It had a gorgeous state of the art library. Panels that would open and you can watch the ocean. Why would you want to leave? Once aboard the Nautilus, you were basically a prisoner, leaving was not an optio In the words of Captain Nemo. "You won't regret the time you spend aboard my vessel. You are going to voyage through a land of wonders. Stunned amazement will probably be your state of mind." That is exactly how I felt while reading this story. The descriptions of the Nautilus were beautiful. It had a gorgeous state of the art library. Panels that would open and you can watch the ocean. Why would you want to leave? Once aboard the Nautilus, you were basically a prisoner, leaving was not an option. Professor Aronnax and his crew got homesick, started making escape plans. I wanted to read this and find out more about Captain Nemo. I have seen too many animated versions. I was surprised that Captain Nemo was not always a nice character, some call him a villain. He was at times, then he would be kindhearted, then sad. I give him credit for building a submarine that used seawater for electricity. He lived off what the ocean gave. I do have some criticism, this book bogs down. It reads like a marine biology textbook. You get lengthy descriptions of fish, mollusks and crustaceans. Some parts of the story have gruesome violence. Captain Nemo was ruthless, if attacked. I got a little bored, I wanted more action. Action and fear were introduced, but it never goes anywhere. I would recommend it, because it is a fascinating under sea adventure. I gave it three stars because of the abrupt ending. It leaves you with more questions than answers. Captain Nemo still remains a mystery. Left up to your imagination.

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