Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth

This month’s online book club pick was Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. Well, this club consists of screenwriters so it makes sense that we, I mean Jack - he does the choosing, sometimes choose books that have film adaptations in the theaters.

I was not at all excited about this book. I was sure it would be a dull read. However, in the early chapters I was pleasantly surprised as the narrator, a scientist’s nephew, has an engaging personality. While his uncle is gung ho for even the most ridiculous and risky adventures, the nephew is reasonable and practical. Throughout the journey as the uncle enthuses over the preposterous and impossible, the narrator worries about their lack of water and food and questions his uncle’s sanity (well, almost).

Yet as I got more into the book my interest waned. Even when it was written, people knew how hot it was as you neared the earth’s core and no one would have believed that there were huge caverns or lakes as deep into the earth as this expedition gets. It was just preposterous. Also, I need more of a theme. What does this journey tell us about our lives? Good science fiction, I think, should really have something to say indi-rectly about our own situations. I need the characters to change, to discover something about life or themselves. Verne doesn’t bother with that.

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