By Jules Verne
Genre – Science Fiction, Classic
Journey to the Centre of the Earth is an intriguing read. That’s the best word I can find to describe it. Intriguing. The book features an eccentric professor who decides to go on a journey to the center of the Earth (too obvious? Perhaps). He is accompanied by a rather unwilling nephew and an Icelandic guide, who quite frankly doesn’t even seem human to begin with. When I started reading the book, I had only one objective in mind. I wanted to find out how Jules Verne would convince readers that humans would be able to survive a journey thousands of miles underground. However, the book soon became interesting and I eventually did finish it.
Given that the book was written in the 1800s, I think it’s fair to say that Jules Verne could possibly be one of the first science fiction writers ever. He uses half-baked scientific facts to try to convince readers that the interior of the Earth doesn’t necessarily have to be hot, even though most of the evidence points the other way. The thing to keep in mind is that this may not have been so inconceivable to the general public who lived during that time. The scientific inaccuracies, however, aren’t a big deal because this book is a work of fiction.
The book was very exciting, and it had numerous ups and downs. The professor and his nephew are relatable characters, the guide much less so. Throughout the journey, there’s always something that seems to be happening. There isn’t one dull moment in the book and this makes for a very compelling read.
The narrative style is really good and the entire book is written from the viewpoint of the professor’s nephew. There are a few instances where we find subtle sarcasm in the book, and it’s interesting to know that it existed in the 1800s. However, the most prominent feature of the book was the descriptions. Jules Verne painted a really vivid picture of the interior of the Earth, and the attention to detail was commendable. There was one aspect that was somewhat interesting for me, as a reader. While reading about the initial phase of the journey, I felt this sense of déjà vu, that I couldn’t explain at the time. A few hours later, it struck me. The description of the caves in the initial part of the journey, with the stalactites and the worn away rocks, held an uncanny resemblance to a cavern described in the book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Both books were written in the 19th century and apparently were published only a few years apart. Go figure.
If I had to rate the book, I’d give it a 4/5, primarily because of the descriptions and the fact that I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started. Overall, it’s a really great book. If you’re thinking of starting classics, this is definitely one of the books to begin with. I’d also recommend it to anyone who has an interest in science-fiction.