Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
by Jules Verne
Published: April 1st 2002
Genres: Classic, Science Fiction
Format: eBook (394 pages)
French naturalist Dr. Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a remarkable submarine built by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Together Nemo and Aronnax explore the underwater marvels, undergo a transcendent experience amongst the ruins of Atlantis, and plant a black flag at the South Pole. But Nemo's mission is one of revenge-and his methods coldly efficient.
I liked Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea waaaay better than Journey to the Center of the Earth. Despite being so old, the science is not that inaccurate. In Journey to the Center of the Earth the science was so outdated it was practically unreadable to me. Jules Verne focused on facts and details to make it feel real. The fact that they are trying to hunt down a mythical beast is not that far fetched because “Either we know every variety of creature populating our planet or we do not.” (pg 13) Math, names, dates, latitude and longitude, and news stories were all details that lent a lot of realism to this fictional story. There’s a strange fantasy feel to the ocean, this amazing part of our planet that we are still trying to understand.
The action in the plot starts right away and moves pretty fast for a classic. It does slow down in the middle because you are supposed to be in shock and awe about breathing under water and I was sadly not shocked by that. The voyages of the Nautilus follow up unfinished stories of real life explorers again adding this cool realism in fictional way.
It feels like steampunk even though it’s not. Or is it? Because everything is powered by electricity, not steam, but the technology is so charmingly old and everything is made of metal…Well steampunk or not, the tech in this book is cool. I loved the disbelief when they discover that Captain Nemo’s ship is powered by electricity. It made me laugh at how adorable they are all being until I realize THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN BEFORE ELECTRICITY WAS A THING. And then I’m impressed at the author’s imagination and how well he predicted things. And then I laugh when someone gets shocked. It’s a cycle between humor and awe (but mostly humor).
I loved the characters. The unflappable Conseil. The usually-pissed-off Ned Land. He was my favorite. The mysterious Captain Nemo who is very environmentally friendly and save the whales which made him seem very odd to everyone else. I thought he was pretty cool and modern. The main character is…eh. I can’t even remember his name. So he would probably be the exception to the interesting characters award for this book.
As I was listening to the unabridged audiobook, I would want to look up things in my kindle version and that’s when I realized that most of the novels of Twenty Leagues Under the Sea are abridged. The abridged version probably leaves out the lists and lists of fish that they see in the ocean. So many lists. So many fish. But listening to the lists on audiobook actually gave it this beautiful and mysterious atmosphere. Reading it unabridged might result in skimming of fish names. I highly recommend the audiobook.
Book Review of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea on a Post-it
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