While I naturally have long admired Jules Verne for his outstanding
scientific vision and prodigious talent as a writer, I really had
no idea that he could also write in such an entertaining and
humorous fashion as revealed in this short novel. My memories of
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea consist to a large degree of stretches
of pages devoted to pure scientific language that could be hard to
get through, but this book is an easy read full of action and
laugh-out-loud commentary. Dont get me wrong, though--the science
is here, and Verne goes into a lot of details concerning the
project from conception to reality, walking us through all of the
steps involved in constructing the cannon and its projectile.
Surely, though, Verne knew that the very idea of launching men
to the moon via a superhuge cannon was not really an idea that
could work; as such, he lets the story and especially his
characterizations of the main players in the drama, take center
stage over the science. What we end up with is a study of sorts of
the American character, a tribute to the power of imagination and
dreaming, the glorification of science, and a very funny story
about some really amazing characters.
I can not begin to relate the number of truly humorous anecdotes
and observations filling the pages of this story. Barbicane, J. T.
Maston, and Michel Ardan are quite memorable characters, and their
acts and exploits will entertain you to no end. Verne introduces
subtle but hilarious remarks and observations throughout the entire
book that will make you laugh out loud.
If the idea of hard scientific theorizing has scared you away
from Verne, pick this book up and be wholly entertained.
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