20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

I am only one third of the way through this story, but I am quite disappointed with it and considering stopping reading it and leaving it for a time where I don't have 64 books and audiobooks to get through. I think I was expecting something else given previous Jules Verne books that I have read (Around The World In Eighty Days and Journey To The Centre Of The Earth). And to be fair, 20,000 Leagues starts off in a similar tone, with a huge whale being sighted and chased/hunted. Then there was a twist, which I thought rather good, that the whale was in fact a submarine, and our heroes are captured for sake of a better word and taken below the sea.

Now at this point, given Verne's reputation for adventure, there were a couple of potential directions that this story could veer. Perhaps there was an underwater world of humans who shunned the land-dwellers. Maybe the captain was a maniac who would cruise to the deepest parts of the oceans to do battle with huge sea creatures. I was wrong it seems as instead, they just go sightseeing.

I suppose in the days before documentary series like The Blue Planet, in a time where people could never see below the sea (or even imagine a submarine), this would have been quite fascinating, and Verne's imagination in constructing this world is still to be commended. But having seen all these things on a tv screen, it lacks the excitement for me. Why do I want to read about man's wonder at walking on the sea floor amidst a seaweed forest when I can just pop in a DVD? I had a quick scan through the remaining chapter titles and with exception of one called "The Squid", they all would appear to be concerning travelling around in the sea or exploring part of the sea. So it's going to the bottom of the reading pile for now.


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