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.
interesting to hear what science knew so long ago. BUT it read like a geologist's chronology of a hike. but being fiction I couldn't make myself care. Very little interpersonal drama. Almost a waste of my time if it weren't for the insight into the past. Commendable voice performance though. SPOILER: I kept expecting them to find people in the center or to find the center, but they never made it!
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