Journey to the Center of the Earth

I read this book a long time ago and then watched all the movies. I had forgotten how much of a  difference there was in the movies compared to the book.  I will admit that I audio read this book; I have a 30 to 40 minute commute and I have found that listening to books or podcasts makes the drive much more tolerable. I am not going to put a link to this book up because this is one book that is easy to find everywhere.

The version that I had borrowed from the library was read by Simon Prebble and even he had a bit of difficulty with the Icelandic names. When Jules Vern wrote his 54 Extraordinary Voyages he tried to be as accurate as possible  on the scientific theories of the day, keeping in mind that this book was written in the 1860’s. That means that much of the science is no longer accurate, and in many cases it has been disproven.

There are three characters in this book: Axel, Professor Liedenbrock and Hans.  Axel is the one who tells the story of this adventure, Prof. Liedenbrock is his uncle, the one who instigates the travel, and Hans is just someone they pick up in Iceland as a guide.

Reading this today I had forgotten how class and privilege were all-prevailing. The two women mentioned in the book stay home and take care of the house, and Hans is seen as nothing more than a servant because he is not of good German stock. I know that 153 years ago the outlook was different on women and on people who were not “their” people. I had just forgotten how much of it there was, how blatant this could be, and how subtle as well.

It is slow to start, the place where there is the most action is brief. I would recommend reading this to see what was popular in sci-fi 150 years ago. However, if you want this to be an action thriller, stick with one of the movies.


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