Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne

Well that didn’t take long!

This is one of twenty books in a SF collection that I bought for the Kindle: The Ultimate Science Fiction Collection: Volume Three.  These are older books – Verne, H. G. Wells, Burroughs.

I’ve always liked Verne for the affection he shows for his characters, even in the worst situations.  There is quite a bit of humor in the different ways each of them get through life, but they get along despite their differences.

Axel is the nephew and assistant of the eccentric Professor Lindenbrock, a ‘mad geologist’.  He purchases an Icelandic book but finds inside a coded manuscript by the famed alchemist Arne Saknussemm.  After some difficulty, the message is decoded and Saknussemm claims to have reached the center of the earth via a volcano in Iceland.  There is nothing to do in the Professor’s eyes but to go the same way himself – with Axel as his assistant.

Axel is not as keen, since by prevailing theory the interior is molten lava.  There is a funny moment where he attempts to get sympathy from his lady friend but she is more keen on the expedition than he is.

They travel to Iceland, find a guide who will go anywhere as long as his pay comes at the end of the week on time, and find the entrance.  They have many adventures before being ejected in their raft of petrified wood out of the volcano on the island of Stromboli during an eruption – after which the guide Hans is dutifully paid his back wages.  Axel marries his girl and the Professor is famous.

Kids at Home – don’t try descending volcanoes yourself!  Leave it to the experts!

You can’t take this kind of book too seriously, but like any adventure story if accept the premise, and the rest makes sense, and you like the characters enough to want to see them through the adventure in one piece it has done its job.  Deservedly a classic.  After reading it you will be looking for Arne Saknussemm runes in your neighborhood.


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