Reading my way through Popsugar’s 2016 Book Challenge.
Category: A Science Fiction Novel
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—Jules Verne (320 pages)
Favorite Line: One can resist the laws of men, but not those of nature.
This book has always been on my “To Read” list, but if it hadn’t been for multiple references to it in All the Light We Cannot See, I probably would have continued to put it off. However, All the Light We Cannot See peaked my interest in it, so it was next on my reading list.
All science-fiction books are a little strange; it’s in their DNA. In fact, I believe the odder the SF book is, the more believable it becomes. Based on his work in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Verne, one of the “Fathers of Science Fiction,” appears to believe the same thing, for this is a very odd book.
The story follows the adventures of Professor Pierre Aronnax and two of his companions as they are rescued and then consequently kidnapped/taken hostage by Captain Nemo aboard his submarine The Nautilus. They are treated not as prisoners but more as guests, but the submarine has the same rules as The Eagles’ Hotel California; you can come but you can never leave.
The unlikely circumstances, however, do not seem to be as much as a nuisance for Arannax as you would assume. Being a scientist he thrives in the submarine, soaking in every bit of information he can from both Captain Nemo and his observations of the vast ocean through the large windows in The Nautilus.
Did you know, Professor,” he asked with a smile, “that the sea contained such wealth?”
However, as the story progresses the protagonist and his companions begin to witness strange and reckless behavior from the captain and they begin to worry about not only their future, but also the real possibility that they will never see solid land again.
This is a very entertaining book. Verne has a witty, yet dark humor that leaks through the comments of both Captain Nemo and Aronnax. While Verne does tend to ramble at times and he gets extremely detailed about everything around him, it still is a rather fast paced story (also, let’s be honest, every classic novelist tends to random at one point or another). Furthermore, with it being so detailed and specific, Verne creates a world and story that the reader can’t help but think actually happened.
I can’t guarantee everyone will absolutely love this book, BUT I can guarantee that if you read this book you will feel like an expert of all aquatic life by the time you are finished. Jules Verne clearly had a vast knowledge of life under the sea, and he did not want to leave a single fish out of his book. I actually hope he made a lot of them up, because no one should know how to classify that many fish.
Jules Verne originally published Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in 1869 in French. He is known as one of the “pioneers” of the science-fiction genre. His most famous works, along with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea are Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days.