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am 29. Februar 2000
Everyone should read some Jules Vernes. A late 19th century French writer, he influenced many people with his enthusiasm for things scientific. In Voyage, the protagonists are a scientist (who discovers a message indicating a journey to the center of the earth is possible), his reluctant nephew, and the quiet-man native guide. An expedition is organized immediately, and the adventure begins. Once you get past the writing style which may be strange to the modern reader, and you suspend your disbelief on certain things (like just how many supplies they were capable of carrying), the tale can captivate. Here is a writer who relishes the scientific advances and discoveries of his age, and is writing about them. The reader can absorb the geologic understandings of the period, as well as the way in which the scientific community operated. It is the age of the gentleman scientist, the ancestor to Indiana Jones. And Verne's delight is infectious. By modern standards it's less exciting than, say, a Jurassic Park. But there's underground seas, strange animals and plants, delirious visions, and hardships of thirst and being lost in the dark to entertain you. Be aware of different translations: our book group had much hilarity discovering the differences in our editions: some seemed edited and condensed compared to the others (and as it's not copyright protected, some of our tattered paperbacks didn't even give the original date or the translator's name), some had wonderful illustrations, some had illustrations that apparently were for a different book, and some had none. Some editions had footnotes, which were interesting in their own way, apparently dating from the original French. There are even different names for the uncle and nephew. Judging from my translation (one of the uncredited ones), it's no great literary effort. But it's entertaining enough to keep one reading, and to amazed at this seminal storyteller and his influences on many who followed him.
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