20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

By Jules Verne,

Book cover of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Book description

First serialized in a French magazine from 1869-1870, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is an incredible adventure story that popularized science fiction throughout the world.

Professor Aronnax, a marine biologist, joins harpoonist Ned Land in search of a mysterious sea creature in the open ocean, only to discover that…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This is the story that first got me interested in science fiction. Of course, we now recognise some of the flaws in the science, but consider that at the time of its writing steam propulsion was still in its infancy, most ships were still built of timber, and Verne envisaged a ship capable of indefinite travel beneath the ocean surface – something not even possible until the advent of nuclear power almost a century later. Even today Verne’s vision and the story he wove around it can inspire.

From Patrick's list on combining fantasy and social commentary.

This is an iconic novel that projects the mind of an author who was years ahead of his time. Many of Verne’s books have been put on the big screen, and a hundred-plus years after his death his books are still being published. Personally, I believe Verne was the author who opened the door for future science fiction writers of the twentieth century. The technology he used in his books was futurist for the time they were written and the key to being a successful science fiction writer.

From Tony's list on written by science fiction masters.

Since we mentioned Jules Verne, let’s discuss his book as well. When talking about adventure novels, one cannot miss out on him, after all, and discussing morally grey characters, the iconic Captain Nemo of the Nautilus is a perfect example.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas is iconic in that it is a submarine adventure. Nautilus is a submarine built by Captain Nemo so that he can explore life under the seas and keep himself aloof from mankind at the same time. The major reason for this is that he grieves for the family he lost due to war, and…

As a marine biologist that enjoys reading both, fiction and nonfiction, I own a copy of the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, one of the best novels ever written about the ocean. Verne’s adventures of Captain Nemo and life inside his underwater ship, the Nautilus, can capture anyone’s imagination. 

From Maddalena's list on the ocean and its inhabitants.

Thanks to the efforts of more than one fan, the awful original translation of this seminal SF adventure novel has long since been corrected. While there is much Sfnal speculation in the novel by the man considered to be the father of modern science-fiction (electrically-powered submarines, self-contained diving suits making use of air under pressure, and much more), its real attraction rests on its inventive description of underwater environments and one of the great characters in the genre: Captain Nemo.

Often lost in modern discussions of the book are Verne’s interests, as conveyed via Nemo, in ecology and the poor…

This is one of the books about the ocean I have read the most. It’s science fiction, but based on much of what was the cutting edge science at the time, giving a fascinating insight into the Victorian state of knowledge about the ocean. I’ve noticed how my empathy with the characters has changed over time. On first reading as a teenager, I liked the adventures of Professor Aronnax, the marine scientist held captive by the renegade Captain Nemo on his amazing submarine, the Nautilus, as they explore the undersea world together. Returning to the book later, after I myself…

From Helen's list on the ocean and seas.

Probably my favorite part of this book is the gorgeous and amazing descriptions (it was originally written in French, after all). It truly is like a journey to another world! The reader experiences the sheer wonder along with Professor Aronnax as Captain Nemo reveals to him the mysteries of the seas and the alien denizens who dwell there. Verne describes an expedition when Nemo and the Professor visit an underwater civilization - which turns out to be none other than Atlantis. Seriously, if you didn’t read this book in high school or college, you have to read it now.

From Jennifer's list on Atlantis if you love adventure.

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