20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Overview

Perhaps we saw the 1950's movie with Kirk Douglas, or maybe we had the snot scared out of us on the Disney World ride as kids-regardless, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is indelibly etched into the collective memory. The original by Jules Verne was published in 1869 when submarines were in their infancy: once again Verne predicts much of what will come technologically. The crew of an American ship sets off to investigate a giant sea monster, only to find it, fight it, and then ...
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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Overview

Perhaps we saw the 1950's movie with Kirk Douglas, or maybe we had the snot scared out of us on the Disney World ride as kids-regardless, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is indelibly etched into the collective memory. The original by Jules Verne was published in 1869 when submarines were in their infancy: once again Verne predicts much of what will come technologically. The crew of an American ship sets off to investigate a giant sea monster, only to find it, fight it, and then realize it's a submarine.

It's called the Nautilus, and was built by the mysterious Captain Nemo. Fortunately he lets the multinational crew live long enough to go exploring with him. Until, like many mad scientist types, he gets bored of his quarry and goes a bit nuts. One last thing: don't let the name 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea fool you. 20K leagues is over two and a half times the circumference of the Earth. The title refers to the total distance they traveled: 20,000 leagues. Enjoy!

A deadly and huge sea monster is sinking ships. Three men--a French scientist, his trusty sidekick, and a Canadian harpoonist are thrown from the deck of their American warship. A door opens on the side of the monster, and they are taken inside the greatest submarine in the world, the top-secret Nautilus commanded by a madman who will take them 20,000 leagues into the depths.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up

A large sea monster, believed to resemble a narwhal, is roaming the seas and has destroyed over 200 ships that dared to cross its path. French Professor Pierre Aronnax, a distinguished marine biologist, has set his sights on killing this "gigantic cetacean." He and his faithful assistant, Conseil, accept an invitation to join an expedition aboard the Abraham Lincoln, an American frigate. The monster is finally sited and a battle ensues, resulting in Aronnax, Conseil, and a harpooner being tossed overboard and rescued by Nemo, captain of the Nautilus, a large submarine, which had been mistakenly thought to be a sea monster. For ten months, the three men sail with Nemo, a "terrible avenger, a perfect archangel of hatred." They are enthralled with the captivating scenery, discover new sea creatures and lost cities, and become trapped in a iceberg. Jules Verne's classic offers a perfect blend of suspense, adventure, and excitement that will entice even the most reluctant readers. This audiobook also contains a companion ebook-a 272-page printable PDF file complete with a full table of contents and index-and an interesting mini biography of Verne. Michael Prichard provides a stalwart narration; his rich, deep voice offers subtle changes for each character. An essential science fiction classic and a great choice for libraries in need of updating their collections.-Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH

From the Publisher
"Prichard provides a stalwart narration; his rich, deep voice offers subtle changes for each character." —-School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781500807924
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Jules Verne
Jules Verne was born on February 8, 1828, in France. Growing up near a river, the constant sight of ships sparked his interest in travel. As a young man, Verne even tried to run away and become a cabin boy. Fortunately, his father caught him, and soon Verne was off to study law in Paris. While there, Verne escaped the boredom of his studies by writing stories. When his father found out about this hobby, he stopped sending money for school. Verne started selling his stories, many of which became popular, including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1870. Before he died in 1905, the author bought a boat and sailed around Europe.

Alfonso Ruiz was born in 1975 in Macuspana, Tabasco in Mexico, where the temperature is just as hot as the sauce is. He became a comic book illustrator when he was 17 years old, and has worked on many graphic novels since then. Alfonso has illustrated several English graphic novels, including retellings of Dracula and Pinocchio.

Benny Fuentes lives in Villahermosa, Tabasco in Mexico, wherethe temperature isjust as hot as the sauce. Hestudied graphic design in college, but now heworks as a full-time colorist in the comic book and graphic novel industry for companies likeMarvel, DC Comics,and Top Cow Productions. He shares his home with two crazy cats, Chelo and Kitty, who act like they own the place.

Carl Bowen is a father, husband, and writer living in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He has published a handful of novels, short stories, and comics. For Stone Arch Books and Capstone, Carl has retold 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (by Jules Verne), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (by Robert Louis Stevenson), The Jungle Book (by Rudyard Kipling), "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp" (from A Thousand and One Nights), Julius Caesar (by William Shakespeare), and The Murders in the Rue Morgue (by Edgar Allan Poe). Carl'snovel, Shadow Squadron:Elite Infantry, earned a starred review from Kirkus Book Reviews.

Biography

The creator of the roman scientifique, the popular literary genre known today as science fiction, Jules Gabriel Verne was born in the port town of Nantes, France, in 1828. His father, Pierre, was a prominent lawyer, and his mother, Sophie, was from a successful ship-building family. Despite his father's wish that he pursue law, young Jules was fascinated by the sea and all things foreign and adventurous. Legend holds that at age eleven he ran away from school to work aboard a ship bound for the West Indies but was caught by his father shortly after leaving port. Jules developed an abiding love of science and language from a young age. He studied geology, Latin, and Greek in secondary school, and frequently visited factories, where he observed the workings of industrial machines. These visits likely inspired his desire for scientific plausibility in his writing and perhaps informed his depictions of the submarine Nautilus and the other seemingly fantastical inventions he described.

After completing secondary school, Jules studied law in Paris, as his father had before him. However, during the two years he spent earning his degree, he developed more consuming interests. Through family connections, he entered Parisian literary circles and met many of the distinguished writers of the day. Inspired in particular by novelists Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas (father and son), Verne began writing his own works. His poetry, plays, and short fiction achieved moderate success, and in 1852 he became secretary of the Théâtre lyrique. In 1857 he married Honorine Morel, a young widow with two children. Seeking greater financial security, he took a position as a stockbroker with the Paris firm Eggly and Company. However, he reserved his mornings for writing. Baudelaire's recently published French translation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, as well as the days Verne spent researching points of science in the library, inspired him to write a new sort of novel: the roman scientifique. His first such novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was an immediate success and earned him a publishing contract with the important editor Pierre-Jules Hetzel.

For the rest of his life, Verne published an average of two novels a year; the fifty-four volumes published during his lifetime, collectively known as Voyages Extraordinaires, include his best-known works, Around the World in Eighty Days and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Begun in 1865 and published to huge success in 1869, Twenty Thousand Leagues has been translated into 147 languages and adapted into dozens of films. The novel also holds the distinction of describing a submarine twenty-five years before one was actually constructed. As a tribute to Verne, the first electric and nuclear submarines were named Nautilus. In 1872 Verne settled in Amiens with his family. During the next several years he traveled extensively on his yachts, visiting such locales as North Africa, Gibraltar, Scotland, and Ireland. In 1886 Verne's mentally ill nephew shot him in the leg, and the author was lame thereafter. This incident, as well as the tumultuous political climate in Europe, marked a change in Verne's perspective on science, exploration, and industry. Although not as popular as his early novels, Verne's later works are in many ways as prescient. Touching on such subjects as the ill effects of the oil industry, the negative influence of missionaries in the South Seas, and the extinction of animal species, they speak to concerns that remain urgent in our own time.

Verne continued writing actively throughout his life, despite failing health, the loss of family members, and financial troubles. At his death in 1905 his desk drawers contained the manuscripts of several new novels. Jules Verne is buried in the Madeleine Cemetery in Amiens.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Good To Know

In 1848, Verne got his start writing librettos for operettas.

When Verne's father found out that his son would rather write than study law, he cut him off financially, and Jules was forced to support himself as a stockbroker -- a job he hated but was fairly good at. During this period, he sought advice and inspiration from authors Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo.

Verne stands as the most translated novelist in the world -- 148 languages, according to UNESCO statistics.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 8, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Nantes, France
    1. Date of Death:
      March 24, 1905
    2. Place of Death:
      Amiens, France
    1. Education:
      Nantes lycée and law studies in Paris

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

A Shifting Reef

The year 1866 was marked by a strange event, an unexplainable occurrence which is undoubtedly still fresh in everyone's memory. Those living in coastal towns or in the interior of continents were aroused by all sorts of rumors; but it was seafaring people who were particularly excited. Merchants, shipowners, skippers and masters of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries and the various governments of both continents were deeply concerned over the matter.

Several ships had recently met at sea “an enormous thing,” a long slender object which was sometimes phosphorescent and which was infinitely larger and faster than a whale.

The facts concerning this apparition, entered in various logbooks, agreed closely with one another as to the structure of the object or creature in question, the incredible speed of its movements, the surprising power of its locomotion and the strange life with which it seemed endowed. If it was a member of the whale family, it was larger than any so far classified by scientists. Neither Cuvier, Lacépède, Dumeril nor Quatrefages would have admitted that such a monster could exist--unless they had seen it with their own scientists' eyes.

Taking an average of observations made at different times'and rejecting those timid evaluations which said the object was only two hundred feet long, and also putting aside those exaggerated opinions which said it was a mile wide and three miles long'one could nevertheless conclude that this phenomenal creature was considerably larger than anything at that time recognized by ichthyologists'if it existed at all.

But it didexist--there was no denying this fact any longer--and considering the natural inclination of the human brain toward objects of wonder, one can understand the excitement produced throughout the world by this supernatural apparition. In any case, the idea of putting it into the realm of fiction had to be abandoned.

On July 20, 1866, the steamer Governor Higginson of the Calcutta and Burnach Steam Navigation Company had encountered this moving mass five miles east of the Australian coast. Captain Baker first thought he had sighted an unknown reef; he was even getting ready to plot its exact position when two columns of water spurted out of the inexplicable object and rose with a loud whistling noise to a height of a hundred and fifty feet. So, unless the reef contained a geyser, the Governor Higginson was quite simply in the presence of an unknown aquatic mammal, spurting columns of water mixed with air and vapor out of its blowholes.

A similar thing was observed on July 23 of the same year in Pacific waters, by the Christopher Columbus of the West India and Pacific Steam Navigation Company. This extraordinary creature could therefore move from one place to another with surprising speed, since within a space of only three days, the Governor Higginson and the Christopher Columbus had sighted it at two points on the globe separated by more than 2100 nautical miles.

Two weeks later and six thousand miles from this last spot, the Helvetia of the Compagnie Nationale and the Shannon of the Royal Mail Steamship Company, passing on opposite courses in that part of the Atlantic lying between the United States and Europe, signaled one another that they had sighted the monster at 42° 15' N. Lat. and 60° 35' W. Long. In this simultaneous observation they felt able to judge the creature's minimum length at more than 350 feet, since it was larger than both ships each of which measured 330 feet over-all. But the largest whales, the Kulammak and Umgullick that live in the waters around the Aleutian Islands, never exceed 180 feet in length, if that much.

These reports arriving one after the other, with fresh observations made on board the liner Le Pereire, a collision between the Etna of the Inman Line and the monster, an official report drawn up by the officers of the French frigate Normandie, and a very reliable sighting made by Commodore Fitz-James' staff on board the Lord Clyde, greatly stirred public opinion. In lighthearted countries, people made jokes about it, but in serious practical-minded countries, such as England, America and Germany, it was a matter of grave concern.

In every big city the monster became the fashion: it was sung in cafés, derided in newspapers and discussed on the stage. Scandal sheets had a marvelous opportunity to print all kinds of wild stories. Even ordinary newspapers--always short of copy--printed articles about every huge, imaginary monster one could think of, from the white whale, the terrible “Moby Dick” of the far north, to the legendary Norse kraken whose tentacles could entwine a five-hundred-ton ship and drag it to the bottom. Reports of ancient times were mentioned, the opinions of Aristotle and Pliny who admitted to the existence of such monsters, along with those of the Norwegian bishop, Pontoppidan, Paul Heggede and finally Mr. Harrington, whose good faith no one can question when he claims to have seen, while on board the Castillan in 1857, that enormous serpent which until then had been seen in no waters but those of the old Paris newspaper, the Constitutionnel.

It was then that in scientific societies and journals an interminable argument broke out between those who believed in the monster and those who did not. The “question of the monster” had everyone aroused. Newspapermen, who always pretend to be on the side of scientists and against those who live by their imagination, spilled gallons of ink during this memorable campaign; and some even spilled two or three drops of blood, after arguments that had started over sea serpents and ended in the most violent personal insults.

For six months this war was waged with varying fortune. Serious, weighty articles were published by the Brazilian Geographical Institute, the Royal Scientific Academy of Berlin, the British Association and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington; others appeared in the Indian Archipelago, in Abbé Moigno's Cosmos, in Petermann's Mittheilungen and in the science sections of all the important newspapers of France and other countries.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Copyright © by Jules Verne. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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