Wednesday, June 24, 2015

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

This Jules Verne classic is one of those books that everyone knows about, but that I suspect very few have actually read. I've often seen interpretations of it, such as the famous Disney movie, but reading it was another matter entirely. Well, technically, it was read to me, and by Harlan Ellison, no less! He was a great reader, mainly because of his enthusiasm - you could tell he LOVED this book, that it had great personal meaning to him. He read it so naturally that Victorian turns of phrase seemed perfectly normal.

I can only imagine what it was like to read this book when it was new. The details of the Nautilus must have been astonishing, a revelation, in a time when electric light was just an experimental idea. So much is in here (spoilers) submarine science, the aqualung, giant squid, Atlantis, the Arabian Tunnel, icebergs, maelstroms, extinction of the whales, and much more. but what fascinated me most is the mysterious Captain Nemo. Where did he come from? What is his strange language? Why did his crew follow him? What happened, exactly, to make him hate humanity? Films portray him as a villain - he is not that way here. I also wonder how Ned Land could have possibly passed the time - that is not mentioned. Anyway, it's all made me eager to read more Verne... Perhaps I will!

1 comment:

  1. A few years ago, my husband read Around the World in 80 Days by Verne aloud to our sons. It was a fantastic story! If you are going to try more Verne, I'd recommend that one.