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05-24-2005, 06:07 PM
This was a very long novel packed with lots of scientific and technological data as well as exciting adventure. The detailed explanations of directional bearings, metallurgy, botany, carpentry and much more were interesting though sometimes tedious but one can skim over those and move on with the story without any problem, and those interested can read all the details. <br><br>It was not meant to be very realistic of course, it was meant as escape, entertainment, and education for 19th century adults who were also curious to learn something about scientific and technical endeavors. A group of American men and their dog teamed up in what seemed like superhuman harmony to form a tiny utopia almost totally of their own making. Like his other books it has great optimism about Yankee ingenuity and science. <br><br>The characters had no particular scruples about killing a lot of animals for their various purposes. I realize that all that killing was supposed to be necessary but I wish he would have at least had some of the characters express sorrow over having to kill and talk about ethics a little.<br><br>I also don't know why he had to kill off Captain Nemo and scuttle the Nautilus with all its treasures. I would have liked the characters to take a ride on it and he could drop them off with a boat off New Zealand, then the Nautilus could disappear back into the ocean.<br><br>Jules Verne's vision of a South Seas paradise was so very different from Paul Gaugin's. Gaugin hoped for an idyllic life while painting beautiful scenery but got disease and misery in Tahiti and wound up committing suicide. Verne's characters used their technological expertise and sheer hard work to achieve their paradise, even though they had to lose it, then they returned to America to build a new one far inland. <br><br>It's too bad many people will never read this and other books of Jules Verne, who had a very wide influence on some other great literature that I love, including the stories of Sherlock Holmes and much science fiction of the 20th century, and also helped inspire the space programs and astronauts, international oceanic scientists, those who write about science and technology for a non-scientific audience, and so much more. Reading Verne's novels is so different from most other 19th century literature, other French literature, and very different from other science fiction too.