I suppose I had to be at a different mindset to fully appreciate the tremendous impact of Jules Verne to modern science fiction, but my reading such classics are so far and few that it hardly seems worth waiting to be in the right mood to read them.
That being said, there is no denying the great adventure taking place in Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. If you can get past all the description of the flora and fauna that Prof. Aronnax litters his account with, that is.
Twenty Thousand Leagues recounts the journey of a professor whose general curiosity and motivation brings him out into the sea in search of a fabled and gigantic narwhal. Upon encountering what he thinks is the sought after creature, he realizes that it is not a narwhal but in fact a submarine that runs on electricity. Of course, this realization doesn’t arrive until he and two other passengers are trapped on board the Nautilus and under the auspices of the notoriously hermitish Captain Nemo.
While deemed prisoners aboard the Nautilus, Prof. Aronnax’s account is filled with grand wonder at the discoveries he makes in the world’s oceans, from various species of plants and animals to sunken ships and fabled islands. At some point they even come across dangerous sharks and a giant octopus, among other life-threatening events within the Aronnax adventure timeline. But fear not, because the electricity-run Nautilus is one tough sea-cookie–erm, submarine.
One of the things I found really entertaining–and tried really hard to follow–was the Nautilus’ vast journey across the world. I understand there’d been a map of the original voyage, but that was a little difficult to figure out. I did find this nifty map that even adds the chronology on the side. Gotta hand it to Nemo, he knows how to confound his hunters by going all over the map in no particular set route.