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Friday, December 05, 2014

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1865) by Jule Verne

Brendan Fraser reads A Journey to the Center of the Earth in the 2008 movie A Journey to the Center of the Earth

Book Review
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1865)
by Jule Verne
Audiobook

  Not sure where my unwarranted prejudice against audiobooks came from.  The fact is that if you have a long period where you are driving or sitting on a train or plane, or exercising for over an hour, an audiobook is a good bet.  Audiobooks are subject to the same copyright laws as the underlying books- public domain books are also public domain audiobooks. Journey to the Center of the Earth makes for a good public domain audiobook because it's a science fiction genre piece, it isn't that long and there are dinosaurs and shit towards the end of the book.  Still, Journey to the Center of the Earth is a novel written in 1865, and the structure of the novel (and audiobook) is slow to accelerate and features chapters and chapters of staging: introducing the professor, getting them to Iceland, getting them down the volcano- the narrative doesn't really take off till they find the Lidenbrock Sea-  a giant underground ocean.

    Although Journey to the Center of the Earth was "scientific" in its day, the subsequent discovery that the Earth was not, in fact, hollow, or hollow-ish, diminished the strength of the underlying science and pushes the modern reader towards a reading that interprets Journey to the Center of the Earth as a fantasy.  The high point of the first half of Journey is Iceland as a location.  I think it's probably the first time that Iceland features as a setting in any novel.


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