Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jules Verne
Journey to the Center of the Earth Cover

Journey to the Center of the Earth


This was the first Verne's book I read. Although I am aware of his importance as one of the creators of science fiction genre and also of the importance of this book for the history of the same genre, I did not enjoyed it as I expected to. I think it must be a very interesting book for a geologist, since the author spent a great amount of pages on descriptions of the interior of the earth, which is the main point of the book, of course. I loved the description of Iceland, though. We have been spoiled by the movies and abridged versions of the book, which seem to ignore that the main point of the book is not the adventure theme, but the interior of the earth. As I am completely ignorant of all the different types of rocks that constitute the interior of our planet, it was somewhat difficult for me to distinguish what was a fictional explanation or description from the real ones. It was interesting, though, to know how a 19th century writer imagined the center of the earth.

Another thing that striked me after reading the book is how inadequate the tags people give to it here in WWE are. Soft SF? Only if we consider geology a soft science, and the book is almost all about geological descriptions. Pulp? I'm sorry, but it was not published on pulp magazines and it was published more than 50 years earlier than the pulp magazines. What about steampunk? Are you kidding me? Steampunk genre refers to stories that have the 19th century "Vernean" background but they are not Verne's books themselves!

If you really read this book and spent the amount of time I spent on the many many pages that thoroughly describe the rock formations and all the interior of the earth with detailed geological information (real or fantastic), you would not doubt that it belongs to Hard SF. Please, do not base your judgement of the book on abridged versions, or at least do not tag it based on them.

I have no doubt that Mundane SF is an adequate tag for this book, since WWE puts it as a story that is 'set on or near the Earth [altough it is IN the Earth], with a believable use of technology and science as it exists at the time the story was written', which is quite the case.

I'm not so sure about the Science-Fantasy tag, though. But I think it is less inadequate than the main three sub-genre tags "Soft SF/Pulp/Steampunk." If you have a good reason to exclude the Science-Fantasy tag from this book or a good reason to endorse it, please, let me know.

Thanks for reading this and sorry about the mood, but those sub-genre tags really annoyed me.