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As well as being the gripping high-adventure story that other reviewers have written about, when I re-read this novel recently I was struck by another side to the story that I hadn't noticed before- it reads, especially at the beginning of the book, as a satire. Verne is not content with helping to invent science fiction in terms of the science- some of which is consciously out-of-date even as Verne writes it, as he explains away science facts such as why inside the Earth's core is not flesh-meltingly hot in a manner not dissimilar to those bits of Star Trek where they tell you how the teleport works. In addition to the science, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth has character. Verne invents in this story the very concept of the mad scientist, in this case Professor Lidenbrock, who struggles to teach coherently at a German university and who is sent on a wild goose chase to Iceland because of one scrap of paper found in a library book. The interplay between our narrator Axel, his mad professor uncle and the reliable but non-verbal Icelandic guide Hans has things to say about the self-importance of science as well as about class and social standing. The science of this book is horrendously flawed but I believe it's the strength of character as well as Verne's fantastically imagined underground worlds that makes this novel not an out-dated joke but deservedly a classic.
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on 6 July 2014
Axel cracks the code to a runic manuscript which reveals that its author has found a passage to the centre of the Earth. Professor Lidenbrock, his nephew Axel and their guide Hans descend the volcano in hopes of scientific discovery.

To me the idea the idea of a “classic” that was a science-fiction book seemed almost oxymoronic. Nonetheless, I was drawn in by the concept and Verne did not disappoint with interesting ideas way ahead of his time. The discovery of an ocean so far below that had a tide and of prehistoric animals was very interesting and I enjoyed the explanations and discussions about these findings. The way that Lindenbrock and Axel would argue and debate their findings made it easier to understand for the reader.

For me its main downfall was the focus on geology. Whilst Verne clearly has a strong knowledge of the discipline I couldn’t follow some of these sections. I couldn’t determine whether the basis of the ideas was sound or meant to be fiction.

This book was unlike any other classic I’ve read so far and was a truly curious and remarkable concept.
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I grew up on the James Mason movie, "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1959), so it was quite a shocker to read the book. You could imagine to my dismay the absents of quite a few characters and the center of the story is Germany not Scotland.

Now for avid readers you could care less about old movies, I can truthfully say that this is one of Jules Verne's best stories and well told.

What you will find more interesting and fun about this tale is the characters and their interaction. One of my favorite parts is when Harry who did not want to go to the center of the earth with his uncle, Professor Hardwigg; he turned to his affianced, Gretchen, and was planning on her to stop him. Her answer is shockingly disappointing to him.

"While there is life there is hope. I beg to assert, Henry, that as long as man's heart beats, as long as man's flesh quivers, I do not allow that being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair"

Be prepared as the bulk of the book is really a geological journey back through time and forward again painfully
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on 25 June 2012
Verne certainly knows how to spin a good yarn, and this book builds up to a thrilling climax. The scientific thought may be a little outdated, but the precision with which Verne includes it in the story (and his obvious admiration for the science itself) simply adds to the atmosphere.

My only frustration is with the translation itself - in this Wordsworth Classics edition it must be well over 50 years old, as the language is very stilted and outdated at times, and the (anonymous) translator's few footnotes are limited to nitpicking over the life of Humphrey Davy and the accuracy of Verne's stated distances. Changing the temperatures to Fahrenheit (from Verne's Celcius) and the money to pounds, shillings and pence is no more beneficial in 2012 than it was 1996 when this edition was released!

I have no idea whether there are any more recent translations available - this story certain deserves one, as its dynamism is timeless.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A timeless popular classic from the father of science-fiction, I had seen the film before but I had not read the book since childhood. Reading it again made me marvel at the imagination and igenuity of a man who wrote this book remember, at the same time as the American Civil War was being played out across the Atlantic. His
description of the geology encountered on the journey and the scientific observations noted by the Professor and Axel make the one hundred and thirty years since this book was first published seem irrelevant. It makes you pause and think and if you are prepared to have your disbelief suspended then you will enjoy the journey.
Starting in Hamburg, where Professor Lidenbrock uncovers a rare manuscript, the "Heims Kringlas", which contains an encyphered message by Arne Saknussemm a famous 16th-century Icelandic alchemist telling of his journey to the centre of the earth, we are transported on an amazing journey to the very bowels of the earth with the
Professor, his ever-suffering nephew Axel and their stoical Icelandic guide Hans.
From their starting point inside the Icelandic volcano Sneffels, our trio follow in the footsteps of Saknussemm, descending along a trail of underground passages, lava gallerys and amazing geological formations, overcoming exhaustion, dead-ends and a lack of water, before emerging onto an underground sea lit by an "electric light", and inhabited by prehistoric creatures. More astounding still, they catch sight of twelve foot high humans who tend flocks of mastodons.
Through it all the Professor exhorts and bullies, Axel despairs and questions, whilst Hans, silently and without ceremony, saves their lives again and again.
The book contains a classic passage when Axel becomes separated from the Professor and Hans seventy-five miles underground. His feelings of absolute panic and despair are vividly depicted by Verne and linger long in the memory.
An exhilarating book written in an age when there was still so much exploring left to do, by a man with an almost boyish enthusiasm for adventure and mystery. Journey to the Centre of the Earth has stood the test of time and will continue to do so as long as there are people willing to be transported on fantastic literary journeys.
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on 20 March 2013
I picked up this novel last September with the idea of reading it but never got around to it until after Christmas when I was bought a proper Kindle reader. This is the first book by Verne I have read and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing style is descritive and engaging and (to a technically minded person) reads almost as a scientific paper. The way in which the journey is recorded and described is almost as if it were a real-life expedition that had been reported in a Journal.

Despite some of the 1star reviews on here I have not noticed any strange tagging or evidence that it has been converted from another format, the page numbering is exact and the time left in chapter/book works fine.

This has certainly spurred me on to read more by Verne, will probably go for Around the World in 80 Days next to see if that has the same descriptive style.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This was on my list of books I should have read, so I did. It is interesting to see where the various tellings pick up bits from and I did prefer the Guy Pierce film verson BUT having said that, this is a clasic and I think must be taken as so. Remember this was new when it was written.
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on 3 June 1999
This is Verne's second novel, first published in 1864, and it established Verne (1828-1905) as a writer. He did considerable research in geology and he attempts to make the story as plausible as it can be based on the knowledge of 19th century science. Even though we now know that the "journey" can't be made, Verne is still successful in his tale. A German scientist, the irascible Professor Otto Lidenbrock, and his nephew Axel, uncover an ancient manuscript that reports of an earlier explorer's journey to the center of the Earth. The two travel to Iceland and, with the aid of the quiet and resourceful Hans, they enter an extinct volcano. In their travels, they discover an underground ocean, forests, and have to return to the surface via an active volcano! I enjoyed the novel even though I already was well aware of the story.
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on 5 February 2013
This book was on offer at Amazon, free, along with many well known classics. So I 'bought' about 30 of them. (Even though you don't have to pay, you still have to go through the checkout procedure) I'm retired now, and as I used to be a regular reader, thought retirement a good time to take it up again, along with my other hobbies.
I have to give this and the other books 5 stars, as they were free, and for that alone I'm grateful. But a lot I hove 'bought' are well know classics.
We all have different opinions of a good read, I like the ones I have downloaded, you may find them different, but if I find one I can't get into, there's nothing lost. I'll just close it!
I don't have a Kindle yet, but can read it on my Laptop.
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on 4 July 2007
Verne captures real drama and human response in this fictitious masterpiece.It's a book for those who like the somewhat sureal adventure story. The plot thickens as the book progresses and i've read it twice in very different circumstances leading me to give it 4 stars. Firstly i read it one summer holiday in one big reading session as i really couldn't put it down, it was magic. The second time i read it on the bus on the way to work and found that having to read it on and off i didn't enjoyit nearly as much and found it hard to get back into. Not a book to read on and off from night to night in bed even but great if you've got a few hours to kill and you want to make the very mos of them.great book.
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