20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Hinkler Books
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
You know, it's really odd. I stayed away from Verne all my freaking life because I was sure, and I mean ABSOLUTELY SURE, that it couldn't be a good novel because its science must be so out of date.
This is yet another case where I am a fool.
Not only does the novel explore the wonderful aspects of electricity and submarines and the wide wonderful ocean itself back in the 1870's as if it was perfectly modern, save for the minor fact that Captain Nemo is, what, 70 or 80 years ahead of schedule and the rest of the world is a sitting duck for his revenge, there's absolutely nothing that jumps out at me, saying, "Hey, no, science doesn't work that way!"
If that isn't enough to freak me out, Verne's wonderful descriptions of the natural world under the ocean, his gripping adventure tale with multiple layers of whale hunting motifs that just screamed out (a more enjoyable) Moby Dick, the fact that the novel revolves mainly around the glorious centerpiece of learning and exploration and most importantly, the feeling of AWE... well, all of this is enough to completely blow me away.
The grandfather of SF, eh? The Granddaddy? He focuses on ideas so heavily and his knowledge of the world of science is exemplary, and yet he still manages to crank out a truly fantastic story that is gripping. And then there's the real jewel of a man, the conflicted, rage-filled, scientific genius Captain Nemo, who also happens to be sensitive and reflective at the same time. The man is likely to lodge himself in my brain for years to come. He's the definition of mysterious and the modern natural Super Man, put upon and tragic and savage and only desiring the peace of the ocean away from the rest of mankind.
Truly amazing. I've read a lot of books and many have affected me strongly, but there's something that gets pulled off here in this novel that's really special. What a fantastic adventure!
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