Journey to the Center of the Earth
A classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne, this work is one of the most well-known subterranean fictions to this day. It inspired many similar works and adaptations. First published in 1864 in French as Voyage au centre de la Terre, it was quickly translated to English by several different publishers in the 1870s. The current edition was based on the translation by Frederick Amadeus Malleson that was published by Ward Lock & Co in 1877.
Our protagonist is Axel, whose overcautious and unadventurous spirit contrasts with that of his uncle Professor Otto Lidenbrock, an eccentric professor of geology. When Professor Lidenbrock obtains a mysterious runic-coded note in the manuscript of an Icelandic saga, he is determined to decipher it. Axel inadvertently solves the code and, much to his chagrin, discovers that it is a set of directions left by a sixteenth-century Icelandic alchemist to reach the center of the earth via the volcano Snæfelljökull. Reluctantly, Axel joins his uncle on a trip to Iceland, and with the aid of a local guide, Hans, begins an adventure towards the center of the earth, where they will encounter giant mushrooms and insects, an island with an enormous geyser, and battle pre-historic reptiles. One of Verne’s most well-known works, this novel is a testament to Verne’s love of geology, science, and cryptography.