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Editorial Reviews

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.

Publisher's Summary

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.

Listen to more Audible Signature Classics.

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Public Domain (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

What members say

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  • Overall

Feels like Jules Verne

With a classic like this one it all comes down to the narrator.
Tim Curry reads it as if Jules Verne is looking over his shoulder. His voice seems very appropriate to the book and its time period.
He is not particularly good at changing his tone for different characters and his female impersonations are far from flattering.
But in an odd way he seems to be perfect for a Jules Verne story.
Its absolutely worth getting.

45 of 46 people found this review helpful

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You do have to take into account that this was written in 1864. I do have to wonder how many careers in science were started by the reading of this book. I found the enthusiasm and drive of the professor to be admirable. I love a story with passionate characters. There were times when the professor would lose sleep and work through the night and meals, he was so excited about what he was working.

Included in this story, besides a passionate professor, is an adventure to Iceland. We learn a lot about Iceland (skyr is even thicker than Greek Yogurt, my local grocery store provides it and I eat a quart a week.) Book has a lot of geology. Sure there are some silly scientific remarks, but they did not ruin the story. The book like usual is different from the movies. There is no Atlantis. If you want to get your feet wet with the Classics, this is a good place to start, especially since the narrator Tim Curry does such an excellent job.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Why you will like this journey

Why would you want to listen to this book? You may wonder if the story is too old school, not modern enough, or just one of those reads your teacher made you endure in school so she can say she taught you the classics.

Forget all of that and just buy the book! The story is a good story, one you can share with your kids- there is no cursing, no sex scenes, just a romping adventure that takes you from the entrance of a volcano to the center of the earth and back again.

Tim Curry gives the story life, gives the characters personality and makes this a story you will revisit through the years. His voice makes this a movie in your imagination

Take an evening with the kids, turn the lights down low in their room, plug in your ipod or MP3, turn up the speakers and start a tradition with your children they will never forget.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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The Entertaining Abyss

Listening to Tim Curry read Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth was a surprisingly entertaining experience. I had expected the novel to be a weak story overwhelmed by a series of dry scientific facts and pseudo-facts, but it was lively and funny and often exciting and awe-inducing. The first-person narrator Axel is refreshingly reluctant, cowardly, weak, and despairing, especially when compared to his fiery, impetuous, glory-seeking, knowledge-hunting, unquenchable middle-aged uncle Professor Otto Lidenbrock and their taciturn do-everything guide Hans. Verne vividly depicts their descent down the volcano tube and exploration of the subterranean world deep inside the earth. Sure, the ???science??? is crazy, and it takes three and a half hours for them to even get down there, but Verne's enthusiasm for it all and the sense of the vast scale of time that has passed on our earth and the joy of discovery and the interplay between Axel and his uncle all glow brightly throughout. And Tim Curry multiplies the enjoyment. I'm still hearing in my mind his Professor Lidenbrock remonstrating with Axel to buck up or his Axel futilely trying to get "Uncle" not to do something reckless and chuckling to myself.

Some reviewers have said that the book is dull or that there isn't enough action, but I think that 1) the avoidance of what today would be a non-stop page-turning never-ending action sequence novel is refreshing and that 2) Verne's depiction of the relationship between Axel and his uncle and his enthusiasm for the natural world and Curry's reading of it all is entertaining, even when Axel or his uncle are listing different kinds of minerals or different eras in the earth's geologic history.

I would give four stars to Verne's novel and five to Curry's reading.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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beautiful reading of a classic science fiction

Two geologists and their assistant try to reach the centre of the earth. Remember the old kids' cartoon? - well, nothing at all like that! But it's a classic tale of the days of Victorian gentleman scientists, read in a rich plummy baritone by Tim Curry.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Adventure in Science!

What made the experience of listening to Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry the most enjoyable?

Tim Curry is the BEST narrator I've listened to! I literally buy books just because he narrated them. The story is great! It's a scientist's wet dream and an insane romp through the bowels of the earth.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I liked Professor Lidenbrock best. He's insane, but I like that, and he's unshakably optimistic even in the face of almost certain death. His impatience, his child-like enthusiasm, and his raw energy make him into the kind of ridiculous old person I want to be when I get older.

I think I related more to Axel's logic and that he's the voice of reason, and I loved Hans' ability to completely ignore his peril, but Lidenbrock was undoubtedly my favorite.

What does Tim Curry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It's hard to put my finger on exactly what makes him a fantastic author. I would have to say that Tim Curry is simply made of awesome and everything he reads becomes 30x more interesting than it would be in print.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not exactly science fiction

Would you try another book from Jules Verne and/or Tim Curry?

Probably yes.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

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.

Have you listened to any of Tim Curry’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. The performance was OK. I hope to enjoy it more the next time, with a better story.

Could you see Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Maybe, but it should be a fantasy story with kids, because the basis is too silly to involve adults, let alone scientists.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jammie
  • THATCHER, UT, United States
  • 01-06-14

So much fun!

I bought this book on an audible sale, mostly because I love the narrator (Tim Curry)

The story was lively and eventful and so darn much fun that it made up for the cry baby of a main character, Axel, who tells the story of the journey he, his uncle and an Icelandic guide take into the the center of the earth.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracet
  • Hamden, CT, United States
  • 12-27-12

Tim Curry: fantastic. The story: meh.

I have had a ridiculous amount of fun this year listening to classic novels as audiobooks. When Audible offered a freebie (I think it was a freebie) of Journey to the Center of the Earth read by Tim Curry, I was excited – Tim Curry! Come on. It almost didn't matter what it was; I kind of place Curry in the same class as Tom Baker – love the actor, adore the voice, will listen to literally anything read by him.

And I was right. Curry was fabulous. His performance – and it was in every way performance – was incredibly enjoyable, and accounted for a good part of my rating. The voices he gave to the characters were dead on; the emotion with which he invested some scenes elevated them; it's purely because of his voice that I don't completely loathe the two main characters of this book, Axel and his Uncle/Professor Otto Liedenbrock. Not completely …

I do dislike them intensely, though. Even Tim Curry couldn't prevent that.

I will absolutely grant that part of my dislike for the book was some inability to separate myself as a 21st-century woman with a (very) basic (high school) education in geology from myself as reader of a book published and I assume set in 1864. From the former point of view it's an absurd figment of science fantasy. I know, I know – I have no problem accepting vampires (as long as they don't sparkle), werewolves, thousand-year-old druids and 932-year-old Time Lords. I never said I was consistent.

Still, despite the initial head-meets-desk reaction I had to a forest many leagues below the surface of the earth, not to mention a life-filled ocean and the mastodon-herding giants – still, it was fun. It felt like a Disney version of science, crossed with Lewis Carroll – fall down the universe's biggest rabbit hole, and land in an impossible, improbable wonderland. I was able to enjoy some of the fantasy.

The parts I couldn't enjoy were simply outweighed by the stupidity of the characters. The two so-brilliant scientists, Axel and his uncle, were textbook examples of book-smart vs. street-smart. I mean, what moron goes on any expedition into the unknown with only a little water? Good God, people, don't you watch Les Stroud and Bear Grylls? Well, no, obviously not, but – common sense, men! "Oh, don't worry, we'll find fresh-water springs": probably the last words of many a dim adventurer.

And the subject of stupid adventurers brings me straight to Axel. Good grief. In my Goodreads updates I referred to him as a damsel in distress, and also TSTL: Too Stupid To Live. Bringing that boy on an expedition (I keep wanting to write a Winnie-the-Pooh-esque "expotition") is like taking a penguin to the Bahamas. I lost count of the number of times he fell or got lost or otherwise needed rescuing – and every single time there was poor old Hans, probably thinking "ach du lieber (or the Icelandic equivalent thereof), we should just put the fool on a leash." I can't imagine why his uncle brought him in the first place, unless he didn't realize what a Moaning Myrtle the boy would become, in addition to being a hazard to himself and all those around him. Every step of the way he complained and protested and fretted and despaired. The fact that he happened to be right in some of his complaints – as, for example, when he protested the minimal amount of water they were toting – doesn't make his constant whingeing easier to tolerate.

And the Professor … a more overbearing, pompous, irritating, foresightless windbag I don't remember in my reading. Did I mention it was his decision to bring only a little water with them? And also to chuck most of their gear down an apparently bottomless hole, confident that they would catch up to it in the climb. And also to set off across an apparently limitless ocean in a boat I wouldn't sail in a bathtub rather than try to trek the shoreline. And then to pause at random intervals and pontificate as if in front of an audience.

Oh, and to take few or no specimens of their discoveries. "Center of the earth, eh, Liedenbrock? Riiiight."

My list, made early on in the read/listen, for tips on a hypothetical Journey to the Center of the Earth:
1. Bring water
2. Lots
3. Be sure to pay guide/servant/lifesaver weekly, even if he can't spend the money
4. Give guide/etc raise after he saves your butt after you disregarded 1 & 2
5. Do not bring nephew; he is prone to both hysterics and despair
6. Do not bring uncle/professor, as he confuses humans with camels (also: twit)
7. Do bring Tim Curry, because he just makes everything sound good.

I don't think the uncle and nephew actually did give Hans any kind of monetary reward for saving their rear ends, on several more occasions than just the water situation. The uncle paid him promptly every week – not that he was able to spend or bank or otherwise appreciate said payment, miles below the surface of the earth – and probably lost it all in their adventures.

The translation used by Audible was an odd one. The only example I noted was this: "His absolute silence increased every day." If it's absolute, it can't increase, though, can it? The Goodreads edition has it: "But his habit of silence gained upon him day by day" - which works. I would be interested in either reading or listening to another version, to see if anything improves … but no. The language wasn't the problem. The problem was that I spent over eight hours alternately smiling happily at Tim Curry's performance and wanting to reach through my iPod and shake Axel and Otto until their ears flapped. It's another of those "could-have-been" books. It could have been so much fun. It just wasn't.

31 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Berlin, MA, United States
  • 11-24-15

Brilliant Story For Its Time, Brilliant Narration

The story was brilliant for its time: there was great inclusion of the geology known then, and a wholly fantastic setting just underneath it. The foibles were those of German academics then, well visible to a French author. If pieces of the story haven't aged well, the insight they give us to our history are still important.

But Tim Curry's narration is brilliant for all time. He nails the voices of every speaking character, including the exasperating habits of our protagonist. He conveys the wonder, the arrogance, the reality checks, and the settings so well, he could narrate your own dreams.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Emma
  • 08-27-16

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss
  • 11-22-15


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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • janien
  • 05-25-15

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • K
  • 07-30-14

Tim Curry rocks

What did you like most about Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry?

Tim Curry's narration. As an actor I felt he gave the book greater depth than some other narrators.

What other book might you compare Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry to, and why?

Still thinking about that one

What does Tim Curry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

A depth to each of the characters, and a rich voice that's easy on the ear.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I haven't read any Jules Verne before but loved the experience of the language used in it's own time frame.

Any additional comments?

I'll definately be looking out for other Tim Curry narrated books, and more Jules Verne as well.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Oliver
  • 07-09-15

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.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • 06-13-16

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.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amy
  • 09-27-14

So good!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This would have easily been given six stars, if that was allowed.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

'COME to me, I'm DYING!'

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • SlosshyDolphin
  • 12-29-17

Very hard work

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

Geologist might enjoy it the constant reference to minerals types and formations became very tedious.

Has Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry put you off other books in this genre?

No. Tim Curry's performance was very good and i would happily listen to another work he narrated.

Any additional comments?

I love a lot of Jules Verne stories they all have great ideas about science and possible theories of the time and most of them you can just accept the theories and move on with the great story, unfortunately not in this case. Most of the book is a very dry dull description of the theories necessary for the book. The characters are not particularly interesting and i had no interest if they survived or not.If you are looking for a great Jules Verne story this is not his best by a long way.

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  • John
  • 12-03-17

lovely voice rubbish story

What would have made Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry better?

the story was excellantly read but the material is over long windy and very dull even the action parts are so wordy that they becoume meaning less

What could Jules Verne have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

definatly a writer of his time, the characters were less than one dimensional, the long declamations of suspect science could do with hefty editing

What about Tim Curry’s performance did you like?

love Tim's voice and his breath control is superb, pronunciation impeccable

What character would you cut from Journey to the Center of the Earth: A Signature Performance by Tim Curry?

honestly? all of them

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  • cathy
  • 08-13-17

I recommend Journey to the center of the earth! !

Brilliant in every way :)

Intrigued, I continued, fascinated, I enthralled.

Tim Curry you're marvelous! !
Thank you