Thursday, September 4, 2008

"The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplained and inexplicable occurrence that doubtless no one has yet forgotten."

I wanted to love 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. I have never read Jules Verne but I've watched enough movies based on his books to last a dozen late nights. Fun fact about me: I'm a 1950's sci-fi movie junkie. I love the various views of future and alternate worlds and the cheezy special effects. Can you believe how disappointed I was then to find out that Jules Verne is a bland and methodical writer? He obviously did extensive research -- reading field guides and naturalists' notes -- and then he regurgitated it all into a 400 page book. What I thought would be a quick, entertaining read turned out to be a two week trudge through listings of fish species and depths in each ocean around the world. If I hadn't studied marine biology, I would have been completely lost during most of the book. Even the parts that should have been exciting -- being trapped under a glacier, sailing through boiling seas, being attacked by a pod of giant squid -- were written with the same level of excitement as the descriptions of the meals on board the Nautilus.

I will probably try one more Jules Verne book -- preferably something that is less scientific. Perhaps I will try Around the World in 80 Days. I'll let you know how that turns out! Does anyone else read Jules Verne?

Feeling washed out,

Buy 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas on Amazon or find it at your local library.


  1. I just started listening to the audio version of this!! I'm only on the first disc but it isn't too bad so far. At least I didn't spend any money on it!

    I've read Around the World in 80 Days and I quite liked it.

    1. I think it bogged down in the middle for me. I'll be interested to read your final thoughts!