When I was a youngin’ I felt like Jules Verne had written his books just for me. I was a suggestible kid full of romantic notions and his swashbuckling tales of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy were all I could ever have asked for.
Now that I’m older, I enjoy them just as much. Jules Verne wrote books that were unapologetically fun. They were the ultimate in escapism, but contain enough big questions and profound themes that you could write an English paper on any of them as well, although I’m certainly not going to.
With that, here are my favorite books by Jules Verne with a brief synopsis of each:
Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
The time is in the past. The adventure is dialed up to 11 zillion. There are reports that a gigantic creature is destroying ships out at sea. Our main characters embark on a journey to find and destroy the menace.
It turns out that the creature is a submarine run by an erratic gent named Captain Nemo, now one of the most famous characters in literature. He treats them all very well and asks a couple of favors in return: they obey him when he tells them to stay in their quarters, and they have to promise not to try to escape. Some accept this, some don’t. I probably would, because the submarine is pretty cool.
If you’ve seen the movie you know all about the battles with giant squids, the entrapment in the ice, and the biggest whirlpool ever. Leagues is a wonderful story. Please go read it.
Around The World in 80 Days
There was a time when going all the way around the globe in 80 days was something worth placing a wager on, which is the core of this book’s plot. The fantastically named Phileas Fogg says he can do it. Other parties so no he can’t. The race is on. Adventures abound, of course, and matters are complicated by a Scotland Yard detective who mistakenly believes Fogg to be a bank robber he is chasing.
The pace of the book is as fast as you would assume, it being a race and all. Highly recommended. It is a fantasy of mine to one day retrace Fogg’s route, using the same means of transportation that he did.
A Journey To The Center Of The Earth
If you’ve ever wondered if there is an Icelandic volcano that leads to the center of the earth, a place where you can fight with dinosaurs, giant insects, and more, you’re in luck. In 1865 Jules Verne wrote a book that gives the account of some scientists who uncovered these very things. I have heard that the book might be fiction, but I can’t be bothered to prove or disprove that.
What I know for a fact is that this book is great, and it also contains one of my favorite standbys of adventure fiction: the encrypted code that leads to, in this case, the crater which leads to the center of the earth. In a particularly great detail, I loved that the obsessed scientist says he won’t eat until he cracks the code. I am not quite as driven.
Jules Verne wrote many, many books. It is only now that I’m talking about these three that I remember just how many other books I have sitting on my shelves, written by the man. I’ll be revisiting them all on the blog.