For some time past, vessels had been threatened by "an enormous thing": a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale. Then, Captain Nemo decided to allow his submarine, the Nautilus, to be drafted into service on a hunt ahead of its time.
(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
(It should be noted, to begin with, that the narrator of this version is Frederick Davidson, NOT Alfred Molina.) It's not Frederick Davidson's fault, but the translation chosen here is the worst of many Victorian hatchet jobs that were done on Verne's prose. For example, in the second chapter, the narrator speaks of returning "from the disagreeable territory of Nebraska." What Verne really said was "from the Badlands of Nebraska." About 25% of the original novel is missing in this translation, sometimes suppressing Verne's politics; Verne's careful calculations are recalculated in slapdash fashion; and mistranslations abound. (In one chapter Captain Nemo refers to a small island which he "would have jumped over" if he could. In Verne's original, he says which he "would have blown up" if he could.) You will get a LITTLE something of Verne in this, and it may remain an entertaining story, but it's not the real thing. Unfortunately, all other unabridged recordings I'm aware of use the same translation.
This is a visionary science fiction story - Verne's ability to imagine what could be done with an up-and-coming technology like electricity is brilliant. And I really like how he weaves that ultra-modern (at the time) technology into the old classic tale of the sea.
As for what I liked least, read on to the next question...
The most disappointing part of this story is...the story. The vast majority of the story - excepting the first few chapters and the last few chapters - is completely bereft of a plot. It is one endless travelogue, listing the sights and wonders they see around the world. And that frequently descends into such tediously pedantic lists of plants and animals that I just want to yell "get on with it!"
Oh...and the other disappointing part is the characters. All of the characters in the story are cardboard cut-outs with no depth or humanity. Captain Nemo is the inscrutable loner. Arronax is the man of science. Conseil is his devoted servant. But none of them are anything more...interesting.
With no interesting characters, and little plot, to drive the story, I frequently found it dragging.
My favorite part of the book is the beginning chapters, as Prof. Arronax speculates as to the nature of the creature that has been sighted, and then the chase aboard the Abraham Lincoln.
Certainly not. This book is a work of its time; it would not make sense to try to follow it up.
I purchased this audiobook because of the narrator, David Chase. He did not disappoint. His reading brought life to this book - even to some of the tedious lists of the types of fish and plants they saw on their journey. It is an excellent narration.
Mixed feelings about this one. The cataloging of marine life was maddeningly dull but I guess in 1870 people knew less about the ocean and thought it interesting. I liked it overall. The reader sounded pompous and nasal, but maybe that is how Nemo, Arronax and the others would have sounded back then. Overall worth a listen.
The writing may be long and cumbersome at times but the last quarter of the book make it clear why it's a classic.
The story is extremely tedious. I guess I remembered some action in it, but no. If you are an oceanographer, plant or animal biologist it may be interesting.
I know the story, and had certain expectations. The heavy English was distracting, even though I know it is an English story. I was disappointed.
A wonderful story beautifully narrated. The un-abridge version is, however, not for the faint hearted as Jules Verne seems to list every fish plant or mollusc in the sea. If, however, you love biology you will love this book otherwise the abridged version may better suit!
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