Jules Verne

Monday, August 16th 2004

Jules Verne kicks ass. I'd heard of him just as much as I'd heard of so many other famous authors, but I didn't really know anything about any of his stories, aside from the movies I'd seen. The Disney adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was actually very good, but it departed from the book in many ways, and left quite a lot out, as most movies do. I think I'd also seen a movie version of Journey to the Center of the Earth a long time ago, but I remember nearly nothing of it.

Recently, I got a copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from - how can you go wrong with a free audio book? - and to my suprise, it was not boring in the least. Quite to the contrary, I found that the characters were interesting, and the action constant. The incomplete understanding of electrical power at the time of the book's writing allowed for some interesting notions about its uses. Some were totally believable, but others time showed to be unrealistic. Nonetheless, these ideas were totally plausable at the time of the book's writing, and the stories are still very good.

Journey to the Center of the Earth was another tale I found to be very interesting. We know today that the center of the earth is molten, and that travelers afoot could never make so much as half that journey. Still, the story is very good. And I do so like to say the name "Arne Saknussemm". Say it. It's just fun. Saknussemm!!

Around the World in 80 Days had perhaps my favorite characters of all these three books. The book is far less fantastic, as no futuristic submarines or subterran dinosaurs are involved, but I found the plot developments taking me off guard, and the 19th century setting is most definately fascinating. The mode of speech, dress, and the etiquette which is assumed mandatory by persons of that day is simply delightful. Perhaps the fact that I'm listening to the tale on audiobook rather than reading the text enhances that aspect.

In any event, since these stories were written so long ago, the copyright has expired, and they are public domain. Both the texts and the audiobooks are available free by following these links.

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