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Publisher's Summary

The year 1866 was marked by a unique incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, and rumors agitated the maritime population and excited the public mind, especially seafaring men. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall

Lousy translation

(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.

62 of 64 people found this review helpful

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A superb performance of this classic story

What did you like best about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? What did you like least?

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.<br/>As for what I liked least, read on to the next question...

What was most disappointing about Jules Verne’s story?

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!"<br/>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. <br/>With no interesting characters, and little plot, to drive the story, I frequently found it dragging.

Which scene was your favorite?

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.

Do you think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Certainly not. This book is a work of its time; it would not make sense to try to follow it up.

Any additional comments?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The best book ever

this was one of my favorite books of all time it was amazing I loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Happy2b
  • LAKE CITY, FL, US
  • 05-22-15

Good story, well worth it.

Finished it in just three days fantastic book. The voices are interesting and of course it's an incredible story

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An oldie but not a goodie.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Very british Frenchman

Still an immensely good story but sometimes goes into listing lots of Latin names for fish and creatures. In character for a naturalist but a bit distracting in an audio format.
Reader sounds very british while the main character is french. Downside of having read the book a long time ago while imagining a french accent.

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Classic Is Not A Synonym For Excellence

I give the overall category 3-stars. It was okay but far from great. The narration, which I give 5-stars, was indeed beneficial to my interest level in the story. Without the narration, I don't think I would have found it very interesting. I felt the story was good, but not above a 3-star level. It was very detailed and the author's vocabulary is excellent. I would say, 'Do not read the book because it is a classic. I found nothing within the story to make it worth the irreplaceable time spent on the experience. I could have done just as well had I never read it in my life.

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Classic Steam Punk Sci Fi

What did you love best about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?

Original story, hard scientific backbone, forward thinking, prescient, humanistic, fascinating characters, and the action portions were extremely exciting, seeming to serve as the direct inspiration for the best of action film making in the century to follow.

What other book might you compare 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea to and why?

Journey to the Center of The Earth and Around the World in 80 Days. Each regarded travel either around or through the earth, in fast time, with all the technical obstacles to same. Each featured scientific minded, driven characters, intrepid and insatiably curious, scientific and engineering adventurers, if you will. I understand these novels are deeper and more arty in French, but still, they are wonderful and enormously entertaining reads.

Which character – as performed by David Case and Frederick Davidson – was your favorite?

The narrator. Captain Nemo just doesn't have that many lines of dialog. He speaks only when he must.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, absolutely not. I can't think of any books I'd listen to in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

One of the limited canon of sci-fi-fantasy classics.

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Classic Tale. Great Narrator

Great adventure. excellent characters and plot. struggled with some of the detailed descriptions of the marine life and all the scientific names.

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worst narrator ever

There is actually no plot in this book. There are just random outdated and sometimes just wrong facts.

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  • Simon
  • 08-11-15

A classic

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful