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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea cover art

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Written by: Jules Verne
Narrated by: David Case,Frederick Davidson
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Publisher's Summary

The year 1866 was marked by a unique incident, a mysterious and inexplicable phenomenon, and rumors agitated the maritime population and excited the public mind, especially seafaring men. Merchants, common sailors, captains of vessels, skippers, both of Europe and America, naval officers of all countries, and the governments of several states on the two continents, were deeply interested in the matter.

For some time past, vessels had been threatened by "an enormous thing": a long object, spindle-shaped, occasionally phosphorescent, and infinitely larger and more rapid in its movements than a whale. Then, Captain Nemo decided to allow his submarine, the Nautilus, to be drafted into service on a hunt ahead of its time.

(P)1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Tad Davis
  • 02-09-08

Lousy translation

(It should be noted, to begin with, that the narrator of this version is Frederick Davidson, NOT Alfred Molina.) It's not Frederick Davidson's fault, but the translation chosen here is the worst of many Victorian hatchet jobs that were done on Verne's prose. For example, in the second chapter, the narrator speaks of returning "from the disagreeable territory of Nebraska." What Verne really said was "from the Badlands of Nebraska." About 25% of the original novel is missing in this translation, sometimes suppressing Verne's politics; Verne's careful calculations are recalculated in slapdash fashion; and mistranslations abound. (In one chapter Captain Nemo refers to a small island which he "would have jumped over" if he could. In Verne's original, he says which he "would have blown up" if he could.) You will get a LITTLE something of Verne in this, and it may remain an entertaining story, but it's not the real thing. Unfortunately, all other unabridged recordings I'm aware of use the same translation.

98 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Ron
  • 02-12-05

It's not Disney...

Great book but it can drag at times as Verne would go on for pages about the scientific classification of seaweed. Be prepared to fast forward at times.

I originally got the book to read with my nine-year-old son, but it really wasn't fun for him.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Captain Wafer
  • 03-07-15

A superb performance of this classic story

What did you like best about 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? What did you like least?

This is a visionary science fiction story - Verne's ability to imagine what could be done with an up-and-coming technology like electricity is brilliant. And I really like how he weaves that ultra-modern (at the time) technology into the old classic tale of the sea.
As for what I liked least, read on to the next question...

What was most disappointing about Jules Verne’s story?

The most disappointing part of this story is...the story. The vast majority of the story - excepting the first few chapters and the last few chapters - is completely bereft of a plot. It is one endless travelogue, listing the sights and wonders they see around the world. And that frequently descends into such tediously pedantic lists of plants and animals that I just want to yell "get on with it!"
Oh...and the other disappointing part is the characters. All of the characters in the story are cardboard cut-outs with no depth or humanity. Captain Nemo is the inscrutable loner. Arronax is the man of science. Conseil is his devoted servant. But none of them are anything more...interesting.
With no interesting characters, and little plot, to drive the story, I frequently found it dragging.

Which scene was your favorite?

My favorite part of the book is the beginning chapters, as Prof. Arronax speculates as to the nature of the creature that has been sighted, and then the chase aboard the Abraham Lincoln.

Do you think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Certainly not. This book is a work of its time; it would not make sense to try to follow it up.

Any additional comments?

I purchased this audiobook because of the narrator, David Chase. He did not disappoint. His reading brought life to this book - even to some of the tedious lists of the types of fish and plants they saw on their journey. It is an excellent narration.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Leonard
  • 17-08-08

Not what I expected

I know the story, and had certain expectations. The heavy English was distracting, even though I know it is an English story. I was disappointed.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Judy Stone
  • 22-09-12

An oldie but not a goodie.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story is extremely tedious. I guess I remembered some action in it, but no. If you are an oceanographer, plant or animal biologist it may be interesting.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-03-20

Fantastic! If You Like Lists

The narrator was fantastic, but this version is unabridged. I thought I could hack it since I'd read Moby Dick unabridged, but with audiobooks it's harder to glance over the unimportant parts.

Most chapters include incredibly long lists of fish in each ocean they visit with probably one sentence about the characters. (A reminder that authors back then were paid by the chapter.)

I still think it's worth a listen. Especially for people who like lists of fish.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • hillarie
  • 30-05-16

The best book ever

this was one of my favorite books of all time it was amazing I loved it.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Happy2b
  • 22-05-15

Good story, well worth it.

Finished it in just three days fantastic book. The voices are interesting and of course it's an incredible story

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Grumpy S. Monkey
  • 26-09-12

A Classic Story But Maybe a Tad Outdated

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wanted to listen to this book because it was something I always wanted to read. I think the concept is great, but the execution seems a little outdated now. There are long, long descriptive passages of sea flora and fauna that are hard to keep straight, and the entire tale is a little affected. So I'm glad I listened to it but not sure if it is for everyone.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most interesting aspect is the Nautilus itself. The workings of the ship, it's layout, and the idea of spending so much time traveling undersea. Verne does a great job of creating a tangible world beneath the waves.

Have you listened to any of David Case and Frederick Davidson ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. Were there two narrators? It was hard to tell them apart if so.

Do you think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I think it does, though it's probably a century too late for that now. There are a lot of unanswered questions at the end.

Any additional comments?

It's an interesting book and an easy listen, but it is interesting to see how the reality of the text stacks up to the impressions of "20,000 Leagues" that I had from movies and pop culture in general.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kathryn Lamb
  • 06-02-23

Listen to this narration vs any other!

Narration perfection! In order to clearly appreciate the more technical and scientific details, I recommend this version as told by the excellent David Case, known for many Inspector Morse books. Such a beautifully written tale. I did not fully grasp it in high school and am very happy to have found this version on Audible. Bravo!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 11-08-15

A classic

A wonderful story beautifully narrated. The un-abridge version is, however, not for the faint hearted as Jules Verne seems to list every fish plant or mollusc in the sea. If, however, you love biology you will love this book otherwise the abridged version may better suit!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 29-11-21

It's a classic

all ways good to visit the Classics but this is a bit out dated