Thursday 29 September 2011

Mini Review: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Title: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Author: Jules Verne
Published: April 1st 2010 (first published 1896)
Publisher: HaperPress
Source: I bought this in Wales at the Bridgend Designer Outlet at The Works (but that's probably too much detail)
Other Information: Jules Verne is considered the "Father of Science Fiction". The book's original title is Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers. You can probably guess that this book was originally written in French. It has apparently been heavily edited due to political correctness and has therefore lost some of its detail.
Summary: Pierre Aronnax and his servant Conseil leave France and board the Abraham Lincoln to witness the killing of a sea monster. On board the ship is Ned Land, a professional whaler from Canada. Expecting to find a large narwhal, the three are shocked after being thrown overboard into the sea by the monster (actually Conseil jumped in after his master) and see that the creature is actually a enormous metal vessel. The trio are soon captured and taken aboard the submarine Nautilius where they meet the mysterious Captain Nemo. Over the next several months they travel the seas, voyaging to unknown places and seeing new creatures.
Review: A very strange branch of science fiction. The journey the characters took was still magical even today. I love the plot line of this book. How amazing would it be to get captured and then taken all around the world, beneath the ocean? For contemporary people, this would have glimpse into the future, and an exciting new take on the world. It doesn't matter now, that all this has been proved impossible because we can still imagine what it would be like, a mobile aquarium that shrugs off the normal perils of the sea with ease.
The description in this book however, is too much. Why you would need to explain and categorise and then talk about debates on which category of every single thing you see I will never know. The page of the description brings the entire book to a halt and it’s hard to find the motivation to keep reading.
The with only four main characters and being told in first person, the major personality flaws of these people show themselves. Aronnax is self centered and only cares about his scientific discoveries, Nemo appears to have weird mood swings, Conseil is mindless zombie like encyclopedia who doesn't have opinion and can name everything in the sea and Ned Land is an almost "normal" person who has a habit of trying to kill anything that isn't human.
Rating: 3 If he'd had just cut some of the description or at spread it out evenly throughout the book, Jules Verne would have a perfect book.

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Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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