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
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.
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.
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.
loved this very very interesting. great fun. have been meaning to read this for years well worth it and better to listen!
It was long and inexpensive so listen time per dollar was sweet...if it had been enjoyable.
Oh my. This book is boring with a capital "B". I'm sorry, but for Mr. Verne, his audience of so many years ago must have been enthralled. I was not. So boring I could barely force my way through to the end. I will not reread, and I would not recommend even at super bargain prices. Yuck.
This translation appears to be the unabridged 1991 F.P. Walter translation or something similar to it, rather than the cut-down and sanitized earlier English translations. Many of Verne's digressions into sea life and the science of his day are preserved in this edition, which makes this edition more authentic, but perhaps less exciting to modern audiences.
The narrator did a fairly good job, but had a tendency to emphasize the wrong words in certain figures of speech.
"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.
"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!
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