Noted geologist Professor Liedenbrock discovers a cryptic message hidden in the pages of an ancient volume purporting to show the way into the center of the earth. Liedenbrock determines to make this fantastic journey, insisting his 16-year-old nephew, Henry, accompany him. Tim Curry handles the verbal pyrotechnics of Verne’s classic adventure, capturing the sardonic wit and droll observations of 16-year-old Henry. Writing in 1864, when explorers such as Burton, Stanley, and Livingstone were charting the earth’s geography, Verne created the fantastical geography of the world below based on current scientific fact. With breathtaking surety, Curry’s performance takes listeners from Germany to Iceland to the bowels of the earth and back, providing humor and clarity.
Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of literature’s earliest works of science fiction. It vividly animates a fantastical subterranean world as an intrepid crew, led by the eccentric Otto Lidenbrock, traverses the planet’s core and its various bizarre obstacles: giant mushrooms and insects, a herd of mastodons, prehistoric humans, a treacherous pit of magma, and more.
Tim Curry, narrator of the customer favorite A Christmas Carol, returns for an encore performance that delivers a range of distinct character voices and captures the energy and enthusiasm of a time when scientific exploration was a brand new adventure.
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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.
No not a temple of worship but an acronym of my old hobbies, sounded cooler than ACME and my Camp name ever since. Love learning by ear!
Loved it! Tim Curry is great with the voices, which helps keep track of characters!
I know the science is dated and the geology is incorrect. but let your mind go and listen to the story and this wonderful narrator. and you will enjoy this book.
I've wanted to read this book for a long time, and I wasn't disappointed. Very well worth it. Narration was very enjoyable.
"The adventure of imagination."
I read this for the first time when I was a child and I loved it then, it was better than reality, a dream, full of adventure and discoveries, a perfect way to escape all that was not good in my life.That was the memory but reading it again I was surprised I did not remember how humorous this book is, it maybe that as a child I was traveling so fast down those caverns that I never heard the funny side of the story this time the trip was shorter and not as intrepid but just as rewarding.
It feels fresh and limber the descriptions feel fairly modern and the pace is good, the language is a lot reacher and technical, not afraid to relish long scientific names and geological descriptions that are very nerdy and funny.
A great delight, like visiting a place you love, it all looks a little bit different but so familiar you find yourself at home before you know it.
An excellent performance Tim Curry made this book a real joy.
"Tim Curry rocks"
Tim Curry's narration. As an actor I felt he gave the book greater depth than some other narrators.
Still thinking about that one
A depth to each of the characters, and a rich voice that's easy on the ear.
I haven't read any Jules Verne before but loved the experience of the language used in it's own time frame.
I'll definately be looking out for other Tim Curry narrated books, and more Jules Verne as well.
"Whiled away a very long drive!"
dad: the language was a bit dry
Sean (11): it was very interesting and I liked the mineral information
Lucy (10): very funny words. enjoyed the story but didn't understand it all.
I have enjoyed many Jules Verne books, they require a suspension of belief, but are good fun. However this one left me feeling slightly less than satisfied. Although if I were to say why, it would ruin the book for those new to it! Tim Curry was a very good narrator a,though could have put a bit more difference between the voices of Axel and his Uncle, as sometimes you weren't sure who was saying what.
"Interesting choice of reader"
The book was reasonably well performed, I did unfortunately find the voice used for the main character a little bit challenging at times. But it did not significantly detract from the book. As for the book itself, a rather descriptive tome, not to my usual taste, but interesting.
"Such good fun!"
I should have read this classic as a child. It's a wonderful adventure story. Brilliant professional presentation that brought it alive. Would recommend this version of a great classic
This would have easily been given six stars, if that was allowed.
'COME to me, I'm DYING!'
"Boys Own Story"
Curry is brilliant as the narrator here, but it is a shame that Verne has given him such poor material. The narrative is pretty 'ripping yarns' and there's none of the depth I'd hoped for it is one dimensionally a 'Boys Own' story.
I was really looking forward to listening to this as it has been one of my most favorite stories from childhood, how disappointed I was. The narrator did not hold my attention, I tuned out that many times that in the end I gave up. What happened to the suspense, the story, the excitement .... gone ! There was too much technical detail which did not add but detracted from my enjoyment. And I have to say that the narrator did nothing to save it. In my opinion a wrong choice of narrator. I think an abridged version would be better
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