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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870)

by Jules Verne

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,248165250 (3.73)1 / 347
  1. 30
    Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (Morteana)
  2. 10
    The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Also featuring Captain Nemo
  3. 10
    Nemo Rising by C. Courtney Joyner (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Nemo Rising is a modern sequel to Jules Verne's work
  4. 10
    Two Planets by Kurd Lasswitz (spiphany)
    spiphany: Another classic of early science fiction.
  5. 11
    The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham (generalkala)
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English (150)  Italian (4)  Spanish (4)  Swedish (2)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Greek (1)  All (165)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of those classic science fiction books that should be on any science fiction fans reading list. Being around so long (Verne originally published the book in 1869), and available in so many versions, translations, and media, can make reviewing the book difficult. Most readers either have read the book, or will want to read it because it is one of the "classics" of the science fiction genre.

That caveat being said, here's my review of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The story opens with reports of strange sightings and damage to ships by an unknown creature. The narrator, Pierre Aronnax, is a professor of the natural sciences and a medical doctor from Paris. While returning from a trip to collect fossils and other specimens from Nebraska he is given a chance to hunt down this mysterious monster aboard the ship, Abraham Lincoln. Aronnax has previously hypothesized that the creature responsible for the encounters is a large form of narwhal. Joining Aronnax on the trip is his servant, Conseil, and a whaler and harpooner, Ned Land. The Abraham Lincoln eventually encounters the supposed monster, and the three men are thrown overboard when the creature rams the ship. They are miraculously rescued when they discover that it was not a creature at all, but a submersible boat. The rest of the novel covers the various adventures and settings that Aronnax and the others discover while being the "guests" of Captain Nemo, the builder of the famed Nautilus.

As with most of Verne's works, the story is told in the form of a travelogue, with the story being recounted as if reading from a journal or interview with the narrator - Professor Aronnax. The stories of adventure - traveling under Suez, hunting in a kelp forest, seeking the South Pole and being trapped in ice, and the famous attack of the Nautilus by giant squid - are interspersed with more sedate discussions of the workings of the ship, or the Professor's enthrallment with Captain Nemo. That is quite interesting since Nemo has essentially captured the three men and refuses them to ever leave the Nautilus again.

Verne's gift is to create a thrilling adventure and to expound upon the wonders of technology. His description of the Nautilus and its operation is decades ahead of its time. He even describes a practical, and nearly identical to the modern equivalent, SCUBA system for breathing underwater that was about 80 years ahead of its time. Verne does miss the mark with many of his speculations about the natural world. He didn't foresee the theory of plate tectonics, and his description of Antarctica misses the mark. (And I give him creative license to include the fabled Atlantis - it was an adventure story after all.) But that doesn't detract from the adventure story that he is telling.

My biggest problem with the story is with the characters. Verne spends so much time recounting the travelogue of Aronnax that the characters are not fleshed out. The only one who seems real is Aronnax himself. His two companions, the forgettable Conseil and the stereotyped Ned Land (who's last name is entirely reflected in his constant desire to flee the Nautilus) are mere window dressings for Aronnax, somebody he can reflect his own ideas upon. But what is really annoying is that we get to know so very little about Captain Nemo himself. A suburb engineer, master of the sea, fearless and stoic in the face of danger, we learn so little about his character. There are many secrets about Nemo that Verne teases the reader with, but we are never shown the answers to them, such as his motivations, the reason he quit the land to forever roam the sea, or his past. That was a disappointment.

If you are a fan of science fiction I recommend that you read Verne's classic at some point. Even among his own works I do not consider it to be his best, but it is worth the read to see the early works of the science fiction genre. If you want to listen to the work (like I did) I do highly recommend the version from Tantor Media narrated by Michael Prichard. I am familiar with Prichard's narration from other works and he again delivers a great performance here. (I checked out this version from my local library.) ( )
  GeoffHabiger | Jun 11, 2018 |
I suppose that as an 'abridged just for you' version of a book, I shouldn't have had my expectations up so high. But I did, and while the overall novel was great, I really, really wanted more out of this book. Especially description-wise. It kept cutting out halfway or jumping from item to item so quickly I got minor whiplash. I am unsure if an unabridged version exists, but I hope it finds its way to me at some point.

However, all that being said, I rather enjoyed the novel. It was fantastic, if a bit brief. ( )
  m_mozeleski | May 13, 2018 |
To be upfront, I thought there would be a lot more action in this story. I never read it in school, so coming at it as an adult was intriguing. That being said, I was not let down. Verne is very versed in sea life (this book is chock full of jargon) and as a science nerd, it was fascinating. And somehow, through all the science and tech, he was able to create a story that is often exhilarating. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Apr 11, 2018 |
This rating is a childhood rating. Hooked me on Science Fiction when I read it. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to reading this book, but it was this month's choice for my classic lit bookclub. Friends who started it before me warned that it was super boring. I did my research before buying to get the best translation. I got the 1991 Walter translation, and was pleasantly surprised to not find it boring at all. The Walter translation is not abridged and yes, it is long. Keep in mind that it was originally published as a serial. Even though the Walter translation is unabridged, because the language is more modern, it will read more quickly than the abridged Mercier translation. I will admit to skimming over the detailed descriptions of all the different species and their Latin names. Skimming those parts did not detract from the story whatsoever. A couple of annoyances: 1. It sometimes switched between feet and meters as units of measure, often regarding the same subject. That was annoying. 2. I was very dismayed that Captain Nemo's identity and history weren't explained. I read the Wikipedia page and learned that this is divulged in the next book in the series. That was a let-down. There were plenty of slow-moving parts to this book, but it also included some page-turning events. Overall, I enjoyed it and am glad I read it. I would definitely read Verne again. I highly recommend getting the Walter translation. ( )
  Aseleener | Mar 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (258 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verne, JulesAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adlerberth, RolandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Austin, HenryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aylward, W. J.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aznavour, CharlesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Becker, May LambertonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, VictoriaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, RayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Butcher, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carlquist, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davies, David StuartIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
de Neuville, Alphonse MarieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deske, MartinBearbeitungsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drabble, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fadiman, CliftonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmberg, John-HenriAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lupo, DonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McKowen, ScottCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mercier, LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, RonIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, Walter JamesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pitz, Henry C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pratt, FletcherIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prichard, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stawicki, MattCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thole, KarelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tirch, Judith AnnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walter, Frederick PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiese, KurtIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilson, Edward ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Seven Novels by Jules Verne

20,000 leagues under the sea [and] Around the moon by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth / Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea / Round the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Amazing Journeys: Journey to the Center of the Earth, From the Earth to the Moon, Circling the Moon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas, and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne

The Annotated Jules Verne: Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne

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First words
The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory.
In the year 1866 the whole maritime population of Europe and America was excited by a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon.
Quotations
We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.
I leave you at liberty to shut yourself up; cannot I be allowed the same?
Like you, I am willing to live obscure, in the frail hope of bequeathing one day, to future time, the result of my labours.
At ten o'clock in the evening the sky was on fire. The atmosphere was streaked with vivid lightning. I could not bear the brightness of it; while the captain, looking at it, seemed to envy the spirit of the tempest.
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Disambiguation notice
This LT work should be editions containing the complete text of Jules Verne's 1869 novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Please do not combine it with any abridgements, adaptations, young readers' versions (see working list, below), pop-up books, Chick-fil-A editions, graphic novels, annotated editions, multi-title compendiums, single volumes of a multi-volume edition, or other, similar works based on the original.
Thank you.

Working list of abridged editions not to be combined with the standard editions - Best Loved Books for Young Children, Children's Classics, Great Illustrated Classics, Treasury of Illustrated Classics, Classics Illustrated, Classic Starts Series, Saddleback Illustrated, Stepping Stone Books, Now Age Classics, Young Collectors, (believe it or not) American Short Stories, Deans Children's Classics, anything by Malvina Vogel, Van Gool Adventure Series, Bring the Classics to Life,

Note:
The 1990 ed. of the Great Illustrated Classics contains the complete text (per L of C), ISBN 0895773473.
Please do not combine this work with either the film adaptations or with Jules Verne's original book. If you have a copy of this work, please consider supplying the name of the director (if it is a film adaptation) or the name of the author (if it is a book).
A chimera of crappy Amazon third-party reseller data that has "20,000 leagues under the sea
by Jules Verne" as the apparent author/title but the ISBN and associated cover of the Denoël/Présence du Futur french translation of "A Canticle for Leibowitz".
Annotated editions of works may include substantially more material than the original work. Thus, annotated editions generally should not be combined with un-annotated editions.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

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Retells the adventures of a French professor and his two companions as they sail above and below the world's oceans as prisoners on the fabulous electric submarine of the deranged Captain Nemo.

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100704, 1400108497

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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