I would have made the explorer's goals more practical, like exploring some miles into the crust. The way the story goes, a "scientist" is convinced that his expedition could descend thousands of miles into the planet and then come back, on foot and carrying only some pounds of dried meat and crackers as provisions. That's better described as fantasy, not science fiction.
No. The performance was OK. I hope to enjoy it more the next time, with a better story.
Maybe, but it should be a fantasy story with kids, because the basis is too silly to involve adults, let alone scientists.
Those who listen to this audiobook expecting a science fiction story will be disappointed. But it is a good fantasy story, specially if you assume that the professor is delusional.
I wish I could say this classic is as thrilling as it was when first published, but some books remain cultural milestones for their historical importance, even though more recent, imaginative, and better successors have come along, and this is true of most of Jules Verne's works, I think. He is the grandfather of "hard science fiction," and his books were notable for their rigorous attention to the laws of physics as they were understood at the time. Everything about Journey to the Centre of the Earth has the ring of plausibility about it (backed up by a great detail of technical explanation of instruments and measurements and physical science), even though we now know the "internal fire" debate is settled.
"Such was the succession of phenomena which produced Iceland, all arising from the action of internal fire; and to suppose that the mass within did not still exist in a state of liquid incandescence was absurd; and nothing could surpass the absurdity of fancying that it was possible to reach the earth's centre."
The plot, in brief: Otto Liedenbrock, German Professor of Mineralogy, discovers a Runic code in an ancient Icelandic text which, when deciphered, indicates that a 12th century Icelandic traveler named Arne Saknussemm found a passage to the center of the Earth down a volcano. (Journey to the Centre of the Earth is notable also for featuring one of the earliest use of cryptography in fiction, as several chapters are spent on the deciphering of this code.) Liedenbrock immediately resolves to follow the footsteps of Saknussemm, and drags along his nephew, Axel, the narrator, and eventually a taciturn Icelandic guide named Hans.
This is a great book for kids who are still fascinated by anything to do with secret codes, volcanoes, prehistoric creatures, and fantastic journeys and haven't been jaded by exposure to countless books and movies based on such concepts. Yes, Jules Verne was the granddaddy of them all. However, this novel is basically a travel epic, written at a time when the journey to Iceland alone would have been considered quite daring and exciting. Professor Liedenbrock and his nephew, Axel, encounter darkness, lava, near-starvation and dehydration, an underground ocean, giant mushrooms, the remains of prehistoric fauna, and a battle between an ichthyosaurus and a plesiosaurus. But the whole book is just an account of their journey, with the reader expected to marvel at these fantastic sights.
It was interesting to me more for its historical context and to compare with imitators that have followed in the "fantastic voyage" genre than for the story itself. Three men travel to the center of the Earth, see a few interesting things, and come back, the end. Jules Verne's prose (as translated into English) conveys the breathless wonder of the characters, as well as their trials when they find themselves without food or water deep underground, but it's quite an arid narrative for all its meticulous details. I find Jules Verne to be readable but rather unexciting, as he seems to feel no emotion about his tale and doesn't inspire the reader to feel any.
A book to be read for the sake of having read it, but I suspect few modern adult readers will really find it thrilling or memorable.
Tim Curry does a great job narrating, though, and invests the story with more excitement than did Verne's prose alone.
I love Tim Curry as an actor, but as the daughter of a German immigrant, I found it odd that the German citizens had English accents. It took me out of the story on several occasions. Otherwise it was an admirable performance with such difficult Icelandic names to pronounce.
I'm only part way into the book, but I like it a lot. Tim Curry is a hoot to listen to and adds a lot to the character.
I am partial to Jules Verne and love all his works. This one is just as good as his others. Really takes you on a trip from the surface to the center and back again. How interesting is it walking through a cave? Well you just wait and find out! I will certainly be listening to this one again.
After listening to "Around the World in 80 Days" - which was great fun (see my review) - and now "Journey to the Center of the Earth", I am game to go on any journey with Jules Verne. His characters are great, and listening to the story is like going along for the ride (though in this case, the conditions were too rough for my taste). I gave this story 4 stars and not 5, only as a relative measure. "Around the World" was simply more fun, so I felt I ought to distinguish. Of course, with what more has been learned about the earth's structure, one has to pretend that we don't know all that, yet, and imagine if you were reading the book when there were different theories and less knowledge. The performance was excellent.
I first read this book when I was eight and loved the adventure and fantastical nature of the story. I then read it over and over in my youth as one for my favorite books. Reading it again once decades had past, with university done and lots of life lived is a whole new journey into the nuances of language and the bond of a good family. It's the exact same book and I remembered it almost word for word but the relationships felt different and the science all make sense or in some cases didn't but I knew why. Now I love the book all over again but in a new and more appreciative light.
Even though this book was among the many I read as a child, it has been a while. To hear this come to life with Mr. Curry narrating, was simply amazing. As to the story, what is there to say? Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth, it kind of covers everything.