20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Jules Verne
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Cover

20,000 Leagues Under the Seas


I was glad to read the completely restored and annotated edition, but the frequent paragraphs cataloging underwater flora and fauna really detracted from the story. The annotation notes that even Verne warned readers away from these at times!

The story (and it's political undertones) are excellent, and Verne is a master storyteller. The annotations add context to some sections, noting what readers of the time would see in fiction and also current events. This edition also adds an appendix with the history of Nemo, drawn from The Mysterious Island - and tha book had far fewer of these ponderous infodumps. Another great feature of this annotation are pointers to the many locations the original translator really butchered this story - it's 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas!

While the plot is good and at times hard to put down, the characters are all fairly flat. Only Nemo has solid motivations, hidden for most of the story. None of the characters change, and the near-future history, while interesting, is never followed up. Events carry the day in other Verne novels, and I look forward to reading other proper translations in the future.