Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
One of the pioneers of sci-fi, Jules Verne blended the state of scientific research in the mid-19th century along with what then seemed like plausible leaps in order to extrapolate dizzying tales of daring and exploration.
A visionary who was far ahead of his time, Verne's powers are at their peak in "Journey to the Center of the Earth." It helps that the core protagonists generate a strong emotional core. A flighty, duty-before-reason professor leads his skeptical nephew and a hired hand to do the grunt work. Using a hidden volcanic passageway, they hurl themselves headlong into parts unknown, discovering hidden oceans and continents beneath the surface, and tangle with prehistoric beasts sheltered within.
Verne keeps the pace forging ahead with the urgency of the journey itself, while always taking care to keep the flights of fancy grounded with in the realm of feasibility. The trio's struggles with nourishment and exhaustion makes up much of the tension, and their sense of possible doom always looms over the voyage.
An excellent read for all ages, the Verne classic has lost nothing over the past century and change.
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