Jules Verne’s classic underwater tale.
A mysterious sea monster, theorized by some to be a giant narwhal, is sighted by ships of several nations; an ocean liner is also damaged by the creature. The United States government finally assembles an expedition to track down and destroy the menace. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a noted French marine biologist and narrator of the story, master harpoonist Ned Land, and Aronnax's faithful assistant Conseil join the expedition.
After much fruitless searching, the monster is found, and the ship charges into battle. During the fight, the ship's steering is damaged, and the three men are thrown overboard. They find themselves stranded on the "hide" of the creature, only to discover to their surprise that it is a large metal construct. They are quickly captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo.
Public Domain (P)2012 Trout Lake Media
Avid audible listener for over 10 years.
This book was $2, and well worth it. I read the book 20 years ago, but decided to listen to it again. Buy the book and don't use the credit though. It will be the best $2 you spend on audible.
Written over 100 years ago it accurately predicts submarines, deep sea diving and other technologies. The narration by Peter Hausmann is great and the story can't be beat. I could write more, but at $2 try it for yourself.
I tried very hard to like this audiobook, because it uses the best public domain translation of Verne's masterpiece currently available: the first version of F. P. Walter's translation, which is available on Gutenberg and elsewhere. (Walter has since re-translated the book in a copyrighted anthology called "Amazing Journeys: Five Visionary Classics." This anthology is THE place to start if you're just getting interested in Verne. It's available from Amazon in both paper and Kindle versions and includes many illustrations from the original French editions.) Walter's translation is clear, accurate, and idiomatic.
Unfortunately, Peter Husmann's narration falls short on a couple of key points. First - and I admit this may be subjective - he sounds like he's outside the novel looking in, rather than "inhabiting" it. His tone is slightly condescending, as if he's talking down to the listener. He's reading the book out loud, not telling the story. It may be that this was a conscious choice aimed at making the book more accessible to younger readers, but I didn't enjoy it. (Playing it with Audible's 1.25x or even 1.5x option did help this a bit.)
He also mispronounces some of the names, Aronnax in particular. It's "Aaron-ax" - Husmann pronounces it "Aaron-no", as if it were spelled Aronnaux. I found this distracting. "Conseil" is also mispronounced - it should be con-SAY, not con-SAIL. (Understand that these are my American approximations of the French.)
I would love to see a different reader tackle Walter's translation - or, alternatively, to see Husmann have another try at this one: he's got a good, strong voice; can clearly distinguish between the different characters; and would benefit greatly from a more natural delivery. (Come to think of it, maybe what he was missing was a good director.) Doing this book is clearly a labor of love for Husmann: at the time I wrote this, the "list price" was less than $2.00.
Actually what I would REALLY love to see is someone tackling all five of the novels in the anthology: this one, "Journey to the Center of the Earth," "Around the World in 80 Days," "From the Earth to the Moon" and its sequel "Around the Moon." Verne is a wonderful writer, and so far the audio versions of his work have been kind of piecemeal.
Breathtaking unforgettable voyage
When they went for their first walk underwater to the forest. The way the reader brought excitement in his voice when talking about the wanders the professor was seeing piked your interest so much that you had to stop the book and go look up pictures of what the book was describing. And that caused the book to come even more to life. And the walk through the sunken city of Atlantis. The description of the volcanic active lightening up the city. It made me want to take the time to wonder among the ruins described.
The Canadian harpooner - Peter's voice inflections brought alive the surliness, frustration and anger. You didn't just hear the words you felt like the real person was there and you were witnessing the actual scene.
Most definitely. And I will listen to it again.
I knew that movies aren't as good as the book and that Disney basically rewrote most of the stories they made. But they left so much of the best stuff out of the movie that it was a real surprise to actually listen to the book. I hated to stop to go into work each day. And I would take the country way home so I could drive slower to be able to listen longer. While the Nautilus was going through the Mediterranean, I was driving though the ice and snow. The story became so involving that when I parked, it was like going into a dream world instead of reality when I got out to face the walk through the cold parking lot to work.
loved this very very interesting. great fun. have been meaning to read this for years well worth it and better to listen!
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.
The plot of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas is essentially simple: Three men set out to capture and explain the unexplainable. Instead they are captured and encounter a brilliant madman who travels the seas seeking revenge and beauty. The men cannot continue in such a manner, so they risk their lives to free themselves.
A good portion of this novel is mere entertainment. Verne spends paragraphs explaining geography and marine life. These descriptions do little to advance the plot except when characterization is revealed through their observation. The amazing thing of this and indeed all of his novels is Verne's ability to fortell inventions that had yet to be made. Electricity for power, the scuba tank, and the submarine were not to make their appearance for many years after the novel was published in 1870.
The pioneering submarine designer Simon Lake credited his inspiration to Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea,and his autobiography begins "Jules Verne was in a sense the director-general of my life." William Beebe, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and Robert Ballard found similar early inspiration in the novel, and Jacques Cousteau called it his "shipboard bible".
The aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont named Verne as his favorite author and the inspiration for his own elaborate flying machines. Igor Sikorsky often quoted Verne and cited his Robur the Conqueror as the inspiration for his invention of the first successful helicopter.
The rocketry innovators Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Robert Goddard, and Hermann Oberth are all known to have taken their inspiration from Verne's From the Earth to the Moon.Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, the astronauts on the Apollo 8 mission, were similarly inspired, with Borman commenting "In a very real sense, Jules Verne is one of the pioneers of the space age".
Polar explorer Richard E. Byrd, after a flight to the South Pole, paid tribute to Verne's polar novels The Adventures of Captain Hatteras and An Antarctic Mystery by saying "It was Jules Verne who launched me on this trip."
The preeminent speleologist Édouard-Alfred Martel noted in several of his scientific reports that his interest in caves was sparked by Verne's Mathias Sandorf. Another influential speleologist, Norbert Casteret, traced his love of "caverns, abysses and underground rivers" to his avid youthful reading of Journey to the Center of the Earth, calling it "a marvelous book, which impressed and fascinated me more than any other", and adding "I sometimes re-read it still, each time finding anew the joys and enthusiasm of my childhood".
The French general Hubert Lyautey took much inspiration from the explorations in Verne's novels. When one of his more ambitious foreign projects was met with the reply "All this, sir, it's like doing a Jules Verne", Lyautey famously responded: "Yes, sir, it's like doing a Jules Verne, because for twenty years, the people who move forward have been doing a Jules Verne."
Other scientific figures known to have been influenced by Verne include Fridtjof Nansen, Wernher von Braun, Guglielmo Marconi, and Yuri Gagarin.
The real genius of this work, besides its incessant entertainment, lies in its ability to present technological advancement as the potential demise of man. This is an unnerving subject for the 19th century world which was riding high on the effects of the spreading Industrial Revolution.
I had forgotten about the Canadian chareter beign so prevalent in the story
Journy to the center of the earth:
Similar scientific / naturalist discussions
Excellent euphamisums and descriptions of the foreign presonality and ideals without being odvoius.
(Canadian in this book and the Icelander in Journy to the center of the Earth)
good voice work, not as much deffinition of charecter by voice action as Ive heard befroe but still very eliquently spoken.
chapter pauses are too long more then once i found myself checking to see if the program had paused.
I was led to this book by another - All the Light We Cannot See, in which it plays an integral part.
While I enjoyed the story of Twenty Thousand Leagues, I have to admit, nearly 19 hours was a challenge to listen to. I applaud Jules Verne's imagination and prescient foresight of things to come. But as others have noted, there is a LOT of this book dedicated to painfully detailed description. Either of the vessel, the Nautilus, or of the fauna of the oceans (in painful detail about classification that goes on and on and on and...), or about the superlative specimens and treasures aboard the ship, or even its construction and well-appointed spaces.
Our narrator, Dr. Aronnax, describes everything around him - each specimen and superlative mouthful. After a while some of the detail can drone on, making it tough to stay focused.
I enjoyed the various characters, but while some characters were complex and fully described to the smallest detail, others were barely cardboard cutouts. The entire crew, for example seemed included solely to carry out the utilitarian functions of the ship, for certainly it would have been impossible for the Captain Nemo to run it alone. But they play no real part in the story beyond supporting characters. To this end, they speak a tongue unintelligible to our protagonists, so that even when they interact with the captain, they remain non-characters.
Who are they? Why did each of them abandon the world on the land to spend their lives on an endless voyage? As to where they spend their time and what they do when not running the ship or preparing succulent, exotic meals became, for me, a nagging mystery. They completely vanish for days at a time, which on a ship under the sea is no small feat. When needed, Verne hauls them back out on stage to perform in virtual silence. None of our protagonists even know how many crew are on board, leaving one to think there must be a heck of a lot of them, not to become recognizable even after many months of being cooped up together in a presumably confined space.
The story itself is well crafted though, as the men journey around the globe beneath the seas encountering amazing sights and adventures. They travel to interesting places and have hair raising experiences, seeing sights no man has seen before. But even in the most remote corners of the world that no one has ever before traveled, they are able, with unerring accuracy, to identify each and every species encountered beneath the waves. Such is the detail in this book.
There were some very exciting sections of the book, like the well-known encounter with giant squid, or getting trapped in an ice cave in a scene that literally made me feel short of breath!
Unlike some reviewers, I enjoyed the narration. Not florid or especially creative, but steady, straightforward, and easy to listen to. I think this is a very challenging book to narrate because a good bit of it is like reading the Manhattan phone book. Seemingly endless lists of family, genus, species and varieties of fish and other sea creature, or very detailed naval histories that can stretch on for extended periods.
All throughout the book, the identify and motives of the captain remain a mystery. Tiny hints are thrown at the listener, and they serve to peak our interest and curiosity, hopefully leading to the climax, when we will finally discover the true identity of this man - who has more resources than any government, and a driving vengeance boiling at his core.
So, for me, the most disappointing part of the story is the ending. This is not intended to be a spoiler, and I hope it isn't. Some may not wish to read beyond this point.
I won't say how it ends, but I found the ending of this LONG and at times tedious tale to be about as disappointing as the final Who Shot JR episode of "Dallas." We the listener/reader are left with more questions than answers, and no satisfactory closure at the end of the story. It's as if Jules Verne finally ran out of steam, and was just too tired to think of a way to end it.
And THAT was not what I was expecting after all the detail and all the lead up to a thrilling conclusion. In that respect, I suppose one COULD say this book has a surprise ending. But overall? It was good while it lasted.
"The reader's style and delivery is annoying"
This was a cheap buy - and I can see why. The reader's delivery grates on the ear and becomes annoying after a very short time. I think the main problem is that his style is to over-emphasis just about everything he says, and his voice goes dramatically up and down during every sentence. I'm going for a refund!
"Twenty thousand reasons to be stunned into boredom"
I would try a book narrated by Peter Husmann again. I read Around the world in 80 days which was fine, but this one was mostly long lists of things.
I would cut down on some of the lists of things.
Smooth level. Steady
No but once started I wanted to get to the end. I don't like giving up on a book. I couldn't recommend it in any way.
"Well written but dated"
I say dated not just because many of the core concepts have been realised and surpassed, but because the vivid descriptions of marine life themselves have also become somewhat common place in the light of documentaries. I'm not saying there is no place in literature for descriptions of the mundane, daffodils are common place and yet Wordsworth managed to do them justice :) However, the descriptions here are of a scientific nature, not a poetical one.
Having said that, the character of Nemo is still enigmatic and there is some enjoyment to be had from that, but overall, I felt the book could have been shortened to half it's length and still held all of it's enjoyment for me.
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