This month’s issue has been all about the wonders of the ocean, and especially the wonders of the deep ocean. That’s something that has fascinated scientists, writers, and everyday people for a long, long time.
If you want to see what people imagined the deep sea was like almost 150 years ago, you should read the 1870 Jules Verne novel Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea. (It’s available for free at Project Gutenberg!) This classic sci-fi novel is the story of Captain Nemo and his crew exploring the ocean in a submarine called the Nautilus.
Here are some questions to get you thinking—answer them in the comments below!
- Captain Nemo is quite the villain, and Verne never tells the reader Nemo’s real problem with mankind. What do you think that problem is? What in the book leads you to think that?
- What current environmental concerns do you see expressed in Twenty Thousand Leagues?
- In chapter 8, electric lights are shown although they had not been invented yet. What other futuristic devices are in the book that now exist?
- Find out how oxygen is replenished on modern submarines. How does that compare with how it was replenished on the Nautilus?
- The book shows some of Verne’s concerns about the future. How do these align with or differ from the concerns you hear about today?
- The combination of art and science in Twenty Thousand Leagues has kept this book very popular. What are your favorite examples of this mix in the book?