A Short History - Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
A few years ago, I worked through a self-driven reading challenge that outlined different book categories to complete throughout the year. At the time, I was using it to work my way through my TBR (To Be Read) books that had been sitting on my shelves for far too long - or so my husband told me.
One of the categories was a book written over 100 years ago. As a fan of Jules Verne, and have already completed Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth seemed like a no-brainer.
Journey to the Center of the Earth was originally published in 1864 and was first translated into English in 1871. While I was investigating the story to find the original publishing date, I came across a few interesting bits of history. Supposedly, Verne was inspired to pen Journey by geologist Charles Lyell and his works arguing the history of man and evolution. It might seem an odd place of inspiration for a story about traversing into the middle of the Earth until it is remembered that at that time, geology, archeology, and paleontology were all still relatively new sciences. Put together, they were creating all-new ideologies, flipping known science on its head and opening the flood gates of imagination for what was most probable in our history, including the Ice Age and the existence of man as a species long before the Bible states we were created. To take those advancements of thought and adapt them to an exploration of the Earth's Center is actually not that far of a reach and one that paid off for Verne. He furthered his just begun writing career, and went on to create the need for an entirely new genre for literature - Science Fiction.
Verne went on to write 4 additional novels in this new genre, before changing course and turning to more dystopian style stories.
For Journey to the Center of the Earth, admittedly, the language is hard to follow at times; not surprising as it has been over one hundred years since it was first written, as well as being translated from French. However, that in no way detracts from the adventure-ness of the story. There is a reason why Journey has been adapted into four movies and used as inspiration for countless books and TV specials. It still carries the essence of the beginning of the "Adventure Era" - of which anything, even the highly unprobeable, could be possible.
The story itself is worth a read for the adventure alone, although the technical language could be a detractor for some. If you can find a way to navigate that, however, you are in for an awesome peek at the beginning of the Father of Science Fiction's writing career.