20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Author(s)
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
December 31, 1969
ISBN
0439224071
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French naturalist Dr. Aronnax embarks on an expedition to hunt down a sea monster, only to discover instead the Nautilus, a remarkable submarine built by the enigmatic Captain Nemo. Together Nemo and Aronnax explore the underwater marvels, undergo a transcendent experience amongst the ruins of Atlantis, and plant a black flag at the South Pole. But Nemo's mission is one of revenge-and his methods coldly efficient.

Editor review

1 review
Wordy But Worthwhile
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
“I ask no more than to live a hundred years longer, that I may have more time to dwell the longer on your memory.”

This is my second experience with Jules Verne and one of his renowned Victorian era travelogues (my first being Around The World in Eighty Days.) It was a very different experience, being oceanic in focus. But it carried the same undertones of a keenly intelligent fiction author who is not only telling a story, but is also trying to use part of his work to impart real world knowledge upon his readers. For my particular tastes, the results are mixed…

To my surprise, my favorite stand-out aspect of this story centers around not simply the mysterious Captain Nemo, but the effects of social isolation on him and his crew. I wasn't expecting the psychological depth, or the questions surrounding human morality when cut off from "civilized" society. I think this early-on commentary regarding the captain captures the gist of the intrigue:

“God, if he believed in Him, and his conscience, if he had one, were the only judges to whom he was answerable.”

The psychosomatic impact on the three very different men being forced to remain on the Nautilus is another point of fascination. The French naturalist, Dr. Aronnax is beyond charmed by the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the uncharted ocean depths and survey it’s wild variety of life. The Dr.’s servant, Conseil, is amicable to his master’s whims. But the Canadian harpooner, Ned, is restless for his freedom—and even appeasing forays allowing him to hunt fail to satiate his resistance for long.

On the flip side…

While I’ve no doubt this book was meticulously researched (during the time period in question)—Verne was perhaps a bit too in love with his data. The book could have easily been trimmed down at least 1/3rd had he not gone to such long-winded lengths listing every plant and animal species that crosses Aronnax’s line of sight. Too often it feels as though this dry listing of facts is somehow substituting for description, which effectively bogs down the pacing.

Another problem with this fixation on the scientific has to do with the immaturity of science at the time Verne wrote this tale. Things considered “facts” at the time may have since been disproven or reworked through more extensive observation. (Examples: The mention of Ceylon peal divers not being able to hold their breath more than a minute, and the assertion that sharks can only bite if they are swimming upside down…)

Personally, this reader didn’t love the nebulousness of the ending. Especially when compared to the brilliance of the wrap-up for Around The World in 80 Days.
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User reviews

5 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.2
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4.2(5)
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20,000 Leagues of intrest
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Godzgirl

I loved this book. Exploring the waters, mystries, revenge, and supense. This book keeps yopu on the edge of your seat. It takes you deep into the ocean waters and upon the great surface.It takes you through thrilling supensefull adventures. It keeps you thinking and going on throught the night. This is one of my favorite book. Its a classic that will remain a classic forever.
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so-so
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by chris

This is a very good book. It shows adventure, fantasy, and reality. It's a good read even if your not interested in the sea. It will keep you on your seat with the pages flipping and adventure before your eyes till the last page. You won't leave your seat until it's done. At times it will keep you on the edge and at other times you will be relaxed. I recommend it to anyone ages seven and up.
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Good old book
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4.0
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4.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by Samantha

I had watched League of E. Gentlemen and wanted once more to read this book. Once I sat down and started reading it I was amazed.

Usually (like 100% of the time) hate old books that were written like 200 years ago, but this one was different. It took me a while to read it (like a few days) but it was worth it. I loved it.
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Classic for a Reason
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3.0
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3.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by amanda

This is a great book if you are until books about down under the sea. Although it may scary you that it is considered a classic, don't be afraid.

It is fairly easy to read for those who are in there preteens or above. It has great imagery and no newer books can compare to the language in it.
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A fantastic journey under the oceans
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5.0
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5.0
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Reader reviewed by Veronika

When a strange and terrifying sea creature causes ship incidents, Professor Arronax decides to catch this one.

Then, when the strange creature approaches, and throws them overboat, him, his assistant Conseil and a harpooner named Ned Land, they understand, that it is not a sea creature, but a metal vehicle...

Captured, they are taken into the "submarine" and meet the Capitain Nemo, the owner of the fantastic vehicle, the "owner of the Sea".

A journey that will take them to numerous points in the world's oceans...

The "Science-fiction's father", Jules Verne, manages to take us to the undersea world (when the submarines even didn't exist)...for an unforgettable journey.

Veronika
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