"Why Read a Book About a Mid-19th Century Sea Expedition?"
Oh the possibilities! The Civil War in the US had employed two submarines, the 1861 Confederate Merrimac was the first iron-clad ship, and was followed by the Monitor for the North, which was built in an amazing 100 days.
Can it be that the telling of the story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea writen in 1873 be anything more than genius?
The story itself is set in 1866, and the Nautilus, built to resemble a whale, but much more intended for one man's war on crime. Captain Nemo, and unbeknownest to the world at large, is the commander of this mystery animal-or-mineral... but dare one suggest that such a colossal ship could be built in secret without the knowledge of any navy, any country, any of the world's richest men or kings for folly?
The book is written as the journal of an American. This in itself is interesting, when one considers that Jules Verne was French!
Another interesting bit of trivia is that when the Abraham Lincoln, the ship which Aronnax has boarded at the last minute because he agreed to join the expedition at the last minute, leaves its dock, the American flag is raised three times, waving proudly its 39 stars!
In case the first time you saw the name Nemo was in a Pixar animae, look again!
Forget the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction at Disneyland, based on the loosely adapted Disney Movie of Jules Verne's masterpiece. Get this book and read it for yourself - it's a real trip :o)
War of the Worlds is a masterpiece! My husband just came home last week with the newest Tom Cruise version, and he also went through the old movies and for fun bought the older one, too. Strangely enough, when it came time to watch them, he put in the older one - and and he, never having read the book, remarked... how this was the "real" War of the Worlds...
He loved the sense of fear, horror and suspense. Being children of the 50's we can relate to "Duck and Cover", and other atomic bomb drills we had in elementary school.
"But", I commented... "imagine this is happening before the turn of the century? Most of the rural population had never even seen a flying machine!".
And that's just the point. In Wells' original writing, we discover how he brings in a sense of curiosity, amazement and genuine innocence as the first few characters actually see the visitors become invaders. As we put ourselves into his story, we can feel surprise and terror of the most wonderful thing we've ever seen!
I first read War of the Worlds as a child, after hearing my dad tell me about his hearing Orson Well's Mercury Theater broadcast as a child. At the time, I thought it was a just a scary story, or a play made up for radio. So he bought me a paper-back at the drugstore. I'm not sure if he himself had ever read it - just that he wanted to share the thrill with me.
I read it again as teenager, and as a young mother - and most recently again as a semi-retired-reading-grandma. But lately, I'm listening to a recording of the original manuscript on my iPod.
What keeps bringing me back? I believe an active mind is healthy mind, and War of the Worlds is packed with action and stimulation. I consider H. G. Wells to be the father of science fiction.
I only wish a movie would be made without adaptation. Let it be London... and for contrast, set among farms, cottages and tin lizzies or horse draw wagons... let the real words of H.G. Wells pull us into Shock and Awe, just as he intended :o)