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Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea Hardcover – 16 Jan 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (16 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575134429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575134423
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 495,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Wears a big grin...packed with sly jokes, puns and farcical moments. Blending the best of modern and older styles his prose is never less than an a delight. There's no one else writing material quite like this." 4.5 star review (Guy Hadley SFX)

A sinuously clever homage to the godfather of the scientific romance, enhanced by Mahendra Singh's lovely engraving-style illustrations. (James Lovegrove FINANCIAL TIMES)

He wryly riffs upon Verne's original prose, before slipping into his own accomplished contemporary style packed with humour, adventure and menace-providing the best of both underwater worlds. (Brody Rossiter Filminwords)

The very detailed and intense drawings help bring the prose to life...the words are a splendid, exciting voyage into the blue deep (Mark Watkins Blast 1386)

The science is meticulous, and the fiction articulate. Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea may have in the manner of smarts than heart, but I for one very much enjoyed the voyage (Niall Alexander Tor.com)

trippy, thought provoking science fiction with classic heritage...a whale of a tale indeed (Paul Holmes The Eloquent Page)

One of the few things you can be certain of when booking up a book by Adam Roberts is that it will be clever, quirky and a little strange. Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea doesn't disappoint in any of the regards. (Starburst Magazine)

an eye-popping and mind-blowing exploitative technique, and our author outdoes himself (Paul De Fliippo Locus)

Twenty Trillion League Under the Sea combines the authors serious novels with his parodies. The result is something that is not quite different and British in style but utterly compelling from beginning to end (SF Book)

A sinuously clever homage to the godfather of the scientific romance, enhanced by Mahendra Singh's lovely engraving-style illustrations. (James Lovegrove Financial Times)

The very detailed and intense drawings help bring the prose to life...the words are a splendid, exciting voyage into the blue deep (Mark Watkins Blast1386)

trippy, thought provoking science fiction with classic heritage...a whale of a tale indeed (Paul Holmes The Eloquent page)

Book Description

A sequel to Jules Verne's classic novel? Or something else entirely? A wonderful collaboration between Adam Roberts and illustrator Mahendra Singh.

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By D. Harris TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Adam Roberts seems to have been pretty busy over the past few months, publishing a book of short stories (the punningly titled Adam Robots) last year and with another book (Bête) due later this. Yet this isn't by any means a slight book. Rather, it takes on one of those classics you've probably never read (I'll come clean, I hadn't), Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, bashes it up, speads out the bits again and creates a compelling (not to say mind bending) story.

The period is the 1950s. An experimental French nuclear sub is making her maiden voyage. On board, aside from the skeleton crew, are a couple of Indian nuclear specialists and an enigmatic observer (suspected of being a wartime collaborator).

Except, I think, it's not quite "our" 1950s. To me, the description of a 20th century nuclear sub seemed subtly off, almost as if it had been written by Verne himself, or HG Wells, or Conan Doyle, or one of the other late 19th/ early 20th century writers who imagined technology 50 years hence. There are other clues as well (like the reference to that celebrated British poet Joan Keats, or to the- here, as in our world - fictional Captain Nemo being Polish... or else Indian...) that suggest reality is rather up for grabs, or at the author's whim.

Whatever, the voyage goes wrong, of course, so that we have an adventure. "Plongeur" plunges deep into the Atlantic - and keeps going.
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You'll see some synopses of the set-up for this story, and you'll reckon you have a bearing on what's going on. That's fine - it makes the scientific acid trip all the more cosmic when it hits. This is no simple, nostalgic hommage to its illustrious predecessor, but an astonishing riff.

I've been reading a few by this author recently, and continue to be astounded by his range. What doesn't change is the breadth and depth of vision - characters dripping with personality, science of high quality, a dash of philosophy, action somehow rendered with pace while never neglecting the kind of high definition and quotidian details that make it all irresistibly real. I just don't understand how unconstrained his palette is - is he, in fact, a composite of several Adam Robertses, somehow swapping ideas across multiverses?
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book can I think best be described as odd. Things start off in a reasonably conventional manner; a French submarine crew take a new automatic submersible on its maiden voyage. However, the further away they get from dry land the more surreal events become. As they travel deeper and deeper, way beyond all possible depths, they start to encounter stranger and stranger phenomena.

Led by the formidable Capitaine Adam Cloche, the crew of the Plongeur are an eclectic bunch of characters. Also along for the ride are a couple of Indian nuclear scientists and a government observer called Alain Lebret. Monsieur Lebret is particularly interesting; he’s got his own secret agenda that he’ll stop at nothing to accomplish.

The claustrophobic close quarters of the submarine, and their seemingly endless voyage into the abyss, begins to take its toll on everyone. They start to suffer all manner of differing traumas, some physical, others mental. Extreme paranoia and violent outbursts for some, while for others its religious mania and delusions.

Things end on a slightly ambiguous note but I rather suspect that’s the author’s intention. If you got a dozen people in a room and they all read this book there would more than likely be a dozen different interpretations of events. Roberts manages to touch upon everything from politics and religion to the quest for ultimate knowledge and multi-verse theory. I like that idea, that different readers will each take something different away from this book.

Dotted throughout the narrative there are a series of illustrations from the artist Mahendra Singh. Almost like medieval woodcuttings their style complements the text well and gives things the air of dark Cthulhu-esque fairytale.
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A very clever and original story. Whilst set on a nuclear submarine in the late 1950s it is written in the Jules Verne style complete with illustrations of various scenes (even in the kindle version). I

ts good in its own right. Its also good to have a sic-fi story which is not a) a dystopia, b) war with nasty aliens, c) poor orphan kid destined to save the the whole universe (yawn, yawn).
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I've been a serious S. F. junkie for over 35 year. There are few concepts I've not come across at some point. Nonetheless, some of this author's books have totally blown my mind. Most of the others are merely staggering.

Usually, though, those concepts and the plots surrounding them are presented clearly.

This one seems to dive into deeper waters.

"Twenty Trillion Leagues" is a gripping adventure. As the title suggests it is an homage to Jules Verne, but goes a lot further.

It has a number of strong characters, and a good deal of the story is character, rather than concept driven.

I cared about those characters, and the perils they found themselves in.

However, I'll have to read the book again - no hardship - to understand the ending Either Roberts is being dumb, or, much, much more likely, I am. I think he's done another one of those brain somersaults he's famous for, but I have missed a cue along the line.

Anyway, an enjoyable read - or two!
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