May 31st, 2012


Book Review: Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne

A classic early work of hard science fiction.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Published in 1864. Approximately 74,000 words. Available for free on Project Gutenberg.

Journey to the Center of the Earthh 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.

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Verdict: A classic, but really, it's only worth reading because of its status. Some people really enjoy Verne's writing, but I find him dry and his stories not particularly thrilling. The problem with Journey to the Center of the Earth is that it's been imitated too much. I'm glad I read it, but I can't really recommend it as a "fun" read, nor does it really shed much light on the genre. I don't mean to say it's a bad book, it's just that nothing Jules Verne has written is fantastic or novel now, and since his stories were all about fantastic novelty, there isn't much plot or characterization left to engage the modern reader.

Also by Jules Verne: My review of Master of the World.

My complete list of book reviews.