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The Mysterious Island

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Classic Book for the Kindle: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne ********************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. ************** Classic Book for the Kindle: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne ********************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. **********************************


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Classic Book for the Kindle: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne ********************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. ************** Classic Book for the Kindle: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne ********************************** We are pleased to offer thousands of books for the Kindle, including thousands of hard-to-find literature and classic fiction books. Click on our Editor Name (eBook-Ventures) next to the book title above to view all of the titles that are currently available. **********************************

30 review for The Mysterious Island

  1. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    I can't remember the number of times I have re-read this Verne masterpiece and discovered something new every time I had. In fact, my book has become so frayed around the edges over the years that I fear I won't be able to open it anymore without being afraid of ruining the pages or the cover for good. Trying to recollect my feelings when I read the book for the first time ever seems a bit of a humongous task. But I can't possibly forget the rush of adrenaline and intense emotions, joy and thril I can't remember the number of times I have re-read this Verne masterpiece and discovered something new every time I had. In fact, my book has become so frayed around the edges over the years that I fear I won't be able to open it anymore without being afraid of ruining the pages or the cover for good. Trying to recollect my feelings when I read the book for the first time ever seems a bit of a humongous task. But I can't possibly forget the rush of adrenaline and intense emotions, joy and thrill that inhabitants of Lincoln Island and their numerous adventures gave me - be it while hunting game in the forests, or rescuing Captain Harding, building a boat for a voyage to an island close by, fending off an attack by pirates, making priceless discoveries like finding a hint of sulphur in a nearby spring or even a massive block of granite (which was to become their home later on). Every time I have started reading it, I have been sucked right into the core of the tale, the predicament of the castaways and their struggle against the forces of nature and their quest for survival and felt like I was one of them. This book would've been my most favorite Verne novel without any competition whatsoever if I had not read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. But being torn between these two books, wondering which one edges past the other in terms of adventure or plot or characters or backdrop or scientific information is a sweet dilemma to have. Will read it again and again and again and again....

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Valdez

    If The Mysterious Island isn't the biggest novel undertaken by someone conditioned with what we today diagnose as Aspberger's Syndrome, it comes close. Published in 1875, Jules Verne's epic castaway tale is loaded with geography, meteorology, astronomy, hydrography, orography, chemistry, geology and by virtue of appearing first in serialized form (as "The Secret of the Island"), the saga runs 193,266 words. Verne doesn't so much stop as he runs out of natural sciences to explore. The fanciful adv If The Mysterious Island isn't the biggest novel undertaken by someone conditioned with what we today diagnose as Aspberger's Syndrome, it comes close. Published in 1875, Jules Verne's epic castaway tale is loaded with geography, meteorology, astronomy, hydrography, orography, chemistry, geology and by virtue of appearing first in serialized form (as "The Secret of the Island"), the saga runs 193,266 words. Verne doesn't so much stop as he runs out of natural sciences to explore. The fanciful adventure begins above the Pacific Ocean on March 23, 1865 as a balloon is ripped apart by a cyclone. Five Americans and one dog are aboard. The men are railroad engineer Cyrus Smith, journalist Gideon Spilett, freed slave Neb (short for Nebuchadnezzar), sailor Bonadventure Pencroff and 15-year-old Harbert Brown, Pencroff's protege and the son of his former captain. The dog is named Top and they are all prisoners of war, having escaped Confederate controlled Richmond by stealing the balloon. The escapees stay aloft long enough to crash onto the shoreline of a deserted island. After searching for one of their missing mates, the men immediately begin to fortify themselves against the elements. Verne seems positively giddy at the prospect of leaving civilization and using his knowledge of the natural world to build a new one where the footprint of man has never been left. The castaways master the procurement of shelter, fuel, fire, food and tools before exploring their new habitat. Verne builds his dream ecology on the island, which includes a dormant volcano, thick forests, lakes and streams and abundant plant and animal life, with everything from rabbits and foxes to sheep and jaguars. The men note and name all of the island's geographic features, arriving on Lincoln Island as a name for their new home. Led by Smith's engineering ingenuity, the castaways begin to improvise construction and manufacturing projects immediately. Strange things are afoot on Lincoln Island. The missing castaway is found with no recollection of how he came to be deposited on the island. When Top is dragged underwater by a manatee, the creature is slain by an unseen predator. After four months marooned, Pencroff discovers a lead pellet in a bird no more than three months old. The castaways later discover a watertight crate washed ashore with rifles, lead, gunpowder, tools, utensils and books, with no wreckage from a ship found. The Mysterious Island settles between Around the World In Eighty Days and Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, not quite science fiction until the final chapters, but a real attempt by Verne to try his hand at something different: a mystery. The 1961 film adaptation took wild liberties with the material, inserting giant creatures (designed by visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen) and lady castaways to sell concessions to 20th century boys like myself. One of the antiquated qualities of Verne's writing here is that in three years of being marooned, the men never wear on each other's nerves or even disagree how to tackle a problem. The closest they come to Island Drama is when Pencroff lobbies Smith to let him build a skiff and sail to an island 120 miles away to see what's there. Not only are these men the most stoic, resourceful and stout of heart men in fiction, but they're apparently the friendliest as well! By virtue of Verne publishing this a chapter at a time as a serial, when read in one volume, the novel is a long one. A damn long one. There are far too many chapters devoted to habitat building, exploring, plant cataloging, etc. without any development in the characters or the plot. It's just interesting stuff to Verne. The lead pellet isn't discovered until page 214. It was around that time that I began skimming the book or else I'd still be reading it. Still, Verne's imagination is never in question. If I ever get marooned on a desert island, I hope that Eva Green is with me, but aside from that, I hope I have a copy of this book with me. While the characters are monochromatic and the plot very slow to develop, Verne is clearly a geek for the ages when it comes to the natural sciences and he communicates that ardor clearly, and across many different fields of study. This edition of The Mysterious Island features a 2001 translation by Jordan Stump, associate professor of French at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and 1875 illustrations by Jules-Descartes Ferat. These are the work of A-class artisans and add tremendously to the pleasure of the book. I recommended it for anyone fascinated by tests of man versus nature. Fans of Verne are in for a treat in the final chapters, while those too young to have read Verne's work should have a good time as well.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    As with many of my pre-Goodreads books, the date read for this one is a best guess, but probably roughly accurate. Although I liked it overall, I didn't rate it as highly as my Goodreads friend Bruce recently did. Simply put, the premise here is that in March 1865, five Unionists (one the black former slave of one of the white escapees, and another a 15-year-old boy) escape from Richmond by stealing a balloon that's been prepared and provisioned for a Confederate mission; but are quickly blown WA As with many of my pre-Goodreads books, the date read for this one is a best guess, but probably roughly accurate. Although I liked it overall, I didn't rate it as highly as my Goodreads friend Bruce recently did. Simply put, the premise here is that in March 1865, five Unionists (one the black former slave of one of the white escapees, and another a 15-year-old boy) escape from Richmond by stealing a balloon that's been prepared and provisioned for a Confederate mission; but are quickly blown WAY off course by a massive hurricane, and five days later wind up on an uncharted island. By the time of the Civil War, of course, balloon flights were not science-fictional. This novel's science fiction element is actually a tie-in with Verne's earlier novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea; but I would say that much of the plot is a descriptive fiction tale of adventure and survival under adverse conditions. (In that respect, it has a lot in common with Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, and readers who like the one might like the other.) That's not out of character for Verne; he didn't think of himself as a writer of "science fiction" (the concept as such didn't exist then), but as a writer of "Extraordinary Voyages," of which this is one, and he was as interested in describing the extraordinary wonders of the actual world as in speculating about the extraordinary marvels he believed science could achieve. Verne was a practicing Roman Catholic. To a greater extent than in his other works (at least the ones I've read), he speaks here in his third-person narration about the providential care of God; and our castaways here several times both pray to God for help and acknowledge and thank Him for blessings received. Bruce, in his review, discerns a deliberate symbolism here in which the island stands for the world, whose inhabitants are watched over and supplied by a beneficent Deity. As an intentional symbolism, I wouldn't rule it out, though it's subtle enough that it didn't suggest itself to me when I read the book. In any case, it could certainly be a legitimate reader-response criticism. (And given the geological instability of the island, one could extend this symbolism to include Christian eschatology --but no spoilers here!) But this doesn't imply that the castaways are or can be passive; on the contrary, for them as for the inhabitants of this terrestrial island in space, benefiting from the resources they're blessed with takes cooperation, hard work, courage, and technological know-how and ingenuity. Fortunately, they have these in abundance! Despite the Goodreads reference to their needing to build a "society," this isn't really sociologically-oriented science fiction. Our characters have to work together, pull their weight and share; but you don't develop much of a "society" with five people in it. Their conflicts and challenges are basically with nature and with physical processes, rather than interpersonal. Verne is part of a literary tradition that tends to be more gadget-oriented than people-oriented; and this shows here. My literary preferences are more drawn to the human element, rather than the physical-technological. That accounts for my lower rating for this than for other SF works that focus more on character. For me, this was often a less than riveting read, though readers more fascinated by learning about survival techniques and do-it-yourself technology might react differently. The prose style per se wasn't problematical; I found this more readable than some of the author's other works in that respect. Of course, this requires a caveat: international copyright didn't exist in Verne's day, so many English-language editions of his work were pirated, and he was very poorly served by most of the unauthorized translators, who took vast liberties. So with most 19th-century translations, you're never 100% sure that you're actually reading anything very similar to Verne's original. :-( (The Airmont edition I read provides no information about what translation was used.) As a History major, I was put off by the inaccuracies in the way the Richmond setting of March 1865 was depicted. Verne was writing about nine years after the war; but he obviously either didn't follow the contemporary accounts of it very closely, didn't remember them well, or both. (And he didn't take time to research the subject, either!) Richmond was never "besieged" by Grant or anybody else; and a Union prisoner would not have been free to walk around the city. (Union officers were held in Richmond; but they were confined to Libby Prison.) Also, the tie-in with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea which I mentioned above has some chronological inconsistencies with the earlier book that I noted at the time I read this one, but which are hard to explain without a spoiler. But on the positive side, I don't recall anything invidious or derogatory in the portrayal of the black character, Neb; and that's a plus not always found in the literature of that era!

  4. 5 out of 5

    ScottK

    Last year I participated with a group of friends in doing a Secret Santa. This was the book that my Santa gave me (as well as Gulliver's Travels). I think it was because of the fact I was moaning about the lack of any Verne on Maui. I am SOOOOO glad my santa chose this book for me. It was amazing. Yes there were some dry parts, unless you like painstaking detail about how to make Iron or Bricks, but even they were quickly dispatched, and could be skimmed without really mising anything. Verne's Ch Last year I participated with a group of friends in doing a Secret Santa. This was the book that my Santa gave me (as well as Gulliver's Travels). I think it was because of the fact I was moaning about the lack of any Verne on Maui. I am SOOOOO glad my santa chose this book for me. It was amazing. Yes there were some dry parts, unless you like painstaking detail about how to make Iron or Bricks, but even they were quickly dispatched, and could be skimmed without really mising anything. Verne's Characters rank in loveability with Characters such as Jim Hawkins,Rhett Butler,Huck Fynn and Tom Sawyer, as a matter of fact there were not many characters I did not like,other than the ones you were supposed to dislike. For me,IMHO, This Classic ranks right up there with The Count of Monte Christo, Great Expectations ETC. I have already read Journey to the Centre of the Earth and again in my humble opinion this outranks it by miles! If you are not familiar with Verne I think this qwould be a great one to start with. And no matter how knowledgeable you are, the end will leave you saying WTF. However, all the Mysteries of said Mysterious Island are dealt with and you are not left with the feeling of ok now what happens.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Field

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a story about the artist – not his art. The plot is practically nonexistent, contrived purely so Jules Verne can demonstrate his extensive scientific knowledge. Four men are air-balloon wrecked on an uncharted, uninhabited island in the pacific ocean. The island has every vegetable, animal, and mineral resource to be found anywhere else in the world. The four castaways, who never once disagree with each other or say a cross word, colonize the island with nothing more than their knowledge, This is a story about the artist – not his art. The plot is practically nonexistent, contrived purely so Jules Verne can demonstrate his extensive scientific knowledge. Four men are air-balloon wrecked on an uncharted, uninhabited island in the pacific ocean. The island has every vegetable, animal, and mineral resource to be found anywhere else in the world. The four castaways, who never once disagree with each other or say a cross word, colonize the island with nothing more than their knowledge, intelligence, empty pockets, and bare hands. Within a couple of years they manufacture metal, glass, bricks, animal farms, windmills, boats, a telegraph, batteries; gun powder, you name it – they got it! And by the time you reach the end of this long tedious book, after having learnt the names of all the hills, rivers, lakes, bays, forests; botanical names for all the trees, animals and insects; mineral and chemical names for every lump of rock they trip over – the whole island blows up and vanishes into the ocean. A waste of time…

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rob Kennedy

    Finished it a few days ago. This book has restored my faith in reading. It's the second best book I've ever read. I've rarely read anything that has kept me spellbound from start to finish. I think I'd like to start reading it again. For what is seen as an adventure book, it's mind blowingly in-depth, overly interesting and so well written, it has taught me many lessons in writing. I never new Jules Verne was so good. I already miss each character and even the animals. Poor Jup. Wow wow wow.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Algernon (Darth Anyan)

    my favorite among 40+ books I've read by Jules Verne. read count = 4 (although not recently) . An example of how scientific knowledge dramatically increases the chances of survival on a deserted island. Probably one of the reasons I've chosen a career as an engineer, I like to take things apart to see how they work, and i also love the satisfaction of fixing something that is broken. The four stranded technology wizards recreate the industrial revolution from scatch among the pristine tropical p my favorite among 40+ books I've read by Jules Verne. read count = 4 (although not recently) . An example of how scientific knowledge dramatically increases the chances of survival on a deserted island. Probably one of the reasons I've chosen a career as an engineer, I like to take things apart to see how they work, and i also love the satisfaction of fixing something that is broken. The four stranded technology wizards recreate the industrial revolution from scatch among the pristine tropical paradise. At the time I first read it (I was 9 or 10) I didn't miss so much the lack of a feminine character to spice up the plot.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Leo .

    Jules Verne fuels the imagination! Verne had a vision of a Hollow Earth. Fascinating topic. Lots of esoteric knowledge out there in the public domain, if one knows where to look. Great books. Tolkien also had Middle Earth in his books and of course Alice went down the rabbit hole. Maybe that is where the elves and dwarves live! Lol!🐯👍

  9. 4 out of 5

    ANDY

    I first read this book as a young boy and loved it! The adventure, the science, the making something out of practically nothing, the surviving the elements - as a young boy with a real desire for adventure and an interest in science I was hooked. I thought that Jules Verne was the greatest dude to have ever drawn breath. I quickly started a campaign to convince others how great this book was. My attempts to sway others was to no avail... no one else was interested. I think this book was a Christ I first read this book as a young boy and loved it! The adventure, the science, the making something out of practically nothing, the surviving the elements - as a young boy with a real desire for adventure and an interest in science I was hooked. I thought that Jules Verne was the greatest dude to have ever drawn breath. I quickly started a campaign to convince others how great this book was. My attempts to sway others was to no avail... no one else was interested. I think this book was a Christmas present. Heck, I may have just seen the cover and thought the picture was cool. (My copy of the book has an island and a hot air ballon on it). I really don't remember how I came to own it but I am glad that I found it. Funny sidenote: I once had a girlfriend and we had the crazy notion of reading the others favorite book of all time. I ended up struggling through The Hobbit (out of love of course) and she started but just couldn't make it through Mysterious Island. I guess I should read this book and see if I still like it 20+ years later...

  10. 4 out of 5

    B. Zedan

    Oh my God. Some dudes are castaway on this island and I cannot put real words together to explain why I wanted to kill this book. So here are some select Twitters from when I was reading it: * I find it a little horrifying that the castaways in Verne's 'Mysterious Island' never use bone for anything. Too savage? [though they end up using some whale bone, but that's pretty white so it's okay] * They didn't use bone to tip arrows! They waited until the dog found a porcupine! How are clothes mended?! Oh my God. Some dudes are castaway on this island and I cannot put real words together to explain why I wanted to kill this book. So here are some select Twitters from when I was reading it: * I find it a little horrifying that the castaways in Verne's 'Mysterious Island' never use bone for anything. Too savage? [though they end up using some whale bone, but that's pretty white so it's okay] * They didn't use bone to tip arrows! They waited until the dog found a porcupine! How are clothes mended?! * Nor have they tanned hide yet—and left several seals to rot on a beach, taking the fat (for 'splosions & candles, no soap) ['splosions being nitro-glycerine, the better for shaping the world to human desires] * My God, they're doing everything backwards. The Mysterious Island castaways finally tan some leather, but not the rabbits. No. Koalas. * Yeah, I don't see how reading the "prequels" of Mysterious Island would help any. Pretty vaguely interwoven, there. * Mysterious Island, has not made me want to expand my Verne reading. I mean, thanks for summarising '20,000 Leagues' and all so now I don't have to read it—but still. This book is on my shit list. My book shit list also names 'Little House on the Prairie', which I couldn't even finish at the age of nine. Good company for it, I think. * The Terror and Unpredictability of Nature overwhelms Industry, okay. Whatever, Verne.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    This book was recommended by the 2012 Book Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar. Entry was for January 2, 2012. Wow. Let me start by saying that I'm already pretty familiar with the work of Jules Verne, having gotten pretty well addicted to an abridged children's version of Around The World in 80 Days back when I was eight or nine years old. Since then, I've read the actual unabridged version and have read both 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and A Journey To The Center of The Earth more times than I can coun This book was recommended by the 2012 Book Lover's Page-A-Day Calendar. Entry was for January 2, 2012. Wow. Let me start by saying that I'm already pretty familiar with the work of Jules Verne, having gotten pretty well addicted to an abridged children's version of Around The World in 80 Days back when I was eight or nine years old. Since then, I've read the actual unabridged version and have read both 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and A Journey To The Center of The Earth more times than I can count. I am, without question, a tremendous fan of the novels of that era and can rank Jules Verne up there with my favorites. With that said, I was not expecting to be so utterly blown away by The Mysterious Island. More than a couple of reviewers on this site have given this book bad reviews, citing it as unrealistic, laughable, or wordy. Well, those people are haters. It’s a novel from the 1800’s—of course it’s wordy! It’s a novel about desert island survival—of course it’s unrealistic! Stop hating, folks! The Mysterious Island is a masterwork by a master writer. I guarantee I will be reading this one again.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    A little while ago, I picked up The Mysterious Island mainly because it was one of the only books by Jules Verne that I knew almost nothing about. I took great care not to learn in advance what made the island so mysterious or really, anything about the plot at all. This book is at its heart a standard "shipwrecked" adventure. The main characters are not really shipwrecked per se, but may as well be. The majority of the story deals with their trials and tribulations surviving on the island. Where A little while ago, I picked up The Mysterious Island mainly because it was one of the only books by Jules Verne that I knew almost nothing about. I took great care not to learn in advance what made the island so mysterious or really, anything about the plot at all. This book is at its heart a standard "shipwrecked" adventure. The main characters are not really shipwrecked per se, but may as well be. The majority of the story deals with their trials and tribulations surviving on the island. Where I was intrigued by, say, The Swiss Family Robinson's trials to survive, The Mysterious Island felt rather absurd. These castaways not only were able to survive very comfortably with almost nothing (they did not have a ship of supplies to start with, as the Swiss Family did), but were able to manufacture nicely advanced pieces of technology in short periods. When they started a fire with a couple of lenses from watches, I thought them clever. When they created a forge and manufactured crude steel, I was a bit skeptical. When they created nitroglycerine safely using only natural materials found on the island, I openly scoffed. And when they created a working telegraph (starting by building batteries from scratch), I just laughed. This was not the sort of book you could read and fantasize yourself doing the same in their position. Instead you find yourself wondering if people have somehow degenerated that much intellectually since Verne's time. I felt comfortably reassured to find Isaac Asimov scoffing over the same points in the afterword. Despite the absurdity of it, and the lack of any character conflict (all of the castaways are almost insipidly cheerful throughout), Verne does a good job in putting together a mystery that is intriguing, and kept me turning pages despite the rather dense writing style. Unfortunately, without giving any spoilers, I felt the payoff to the mystery to be unfulfilling and ultimately distracting from the plot of the book. The ending of the book was the most disappointing part. It wrapped up reasonably, but it was extremely abrupt and felt very rushed after the previous pace of the book. Overall I did enjoy reading this. But I would not recommend it to others without noting its flaws, as some are likely to be disappointed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    the gift

    260913: i had to take a break on page 346, as the extensive description of application, recapitulation, celebration, of all industrial engineering resulting in 19th century European technology, by five men, from nothing, on an island which just happens to contain all desired resources, began to make me wonder if this is satire- really have to clarify this: i was not beginning to sense this in his writing, i was beginning to read it myself too much like satire, not taking it seriously- but no, th 260913: i had to take a break on page 346, as the extensive description of application, recapitulation, celebration, of all industrial engineering resulting in 19th century European technology, by five men, from nothing, on an island which just happens to contain all desired resources, began to make me wonder if this is satire- really have to clarify this: i was not beginning to sense this in his writing, i was beginning to read it myself too much like satire, not taking it seriously- but no, this is sincere, scientific, humanistic, and obviously result of much research and imagination... this break was a good, because once you leave behind or just ignore all this survival Science, possibility but not plausibility, this is a fun book, even if it is so long, it zips by, and it becomes clear that the protagonist is not any or all of the castaways or even their mysterious benefactor- the protagonist is Science, of all sorts, as presented most forcefully as Engineering. is it possible to have such innocent, unquestioning, all encompassing, faith in the wonder and moral value of Science, of Engineering, well perhaps in 1875, when this was published... there are no women, no natives, no Others of any sort. there are not even any conflicts between the men, no doubts, but that the sincere application of so much, so applicable, so fortunately known Science, that if you are not willing to enter this mindset... you cannot help but be overwhelmed by absurdity of their technological progress throughout the years, their development of everything from iron to glass to an elevator, their construction of a boat, their rescue of yet another, who has not been so fortunate in his exile. unfortunately, i already knew who is their benefactor, but this knowledge does not diminish the narrative of Science, and the ultimate appeal to the providence of god seems only kind of tacked on at the end... this book made me think of several others, particularly other Verne, but the one that surprises me most comes out of nowhere: i think of Samuel Beckett's Trilogy. and no, i have not decided to reappraise those books, but made me wonder why this, which is about as long as those three, is so much easier to read even when i know what/who will be revealed as their mysterious djinni. there must be something, some pleasure, in this deliberate escape to an era, a world, that pre-dates the great horrors our protagonist Science can generate, that makes me think of those who read this in that time, those who could only foresee the wonders and not the terrors, something i do not even recall from childhood when everything from Vietnam on the TV to the unspoken, ever-present, idea of nuclear Armageddon, were only too strong an idea of Science... but what this has to do with Beckett, i am unsure. have to think about it... i think about it and recall one of the signal moments early on the island, when they measure the location of this place on something of latitude and longitude- this made me think of the philosophy of the 'life-world' (husserl) and the difference between lived space and the objective space (Cartesian) as measured on the more 'scientific' way, as defined by some arbitrary other scale which has no immediate, present, value. this makes me on reflection think of heidegger's contention we have 'levelled' all the world as 'resource' rather than 'being'. how tall is that cliff, how can we measure it, how can we discover our place relative to the 'real' world, how can we use our clocks to place us. well, all of this is possible by Science. and how this place has rocks, sand, trees, grass, only in their utility as resources, only in how we humans or rather our avatars the five castaways, may use them... this understanding of the world according to Science, as resources, instead of facing difficulty of climbing that cliff, rather our five relating on some Science 'stance'- instead of engaging the world as the World- this will be how the book seems to be a parody, a satire, but no, in fact, these educated castaways can be thought of as intelligent men of the industrial world, the island as our entire planet, and this is the romance of Science, that we should enact without doubt or uncertainty that this may be less than entirety of the world. that cliff is measured by calculating angles of trigonometry, whereas the ordinary man would say, Can i climb it? of the beach sand, We can fashion glass, rather than, Damn sand gets in everything! the island, as the World, seems an inexhaustible fount of resources, even as we are given argument about What will we humans do when the coal runs out? by that time we will use hydrogen, of course, simple sea water, and will not face that moment for what, two hundred years!... Beckett has no arguments of that sort, no Science in fact or dream, only that complex reality each human must face bravely or not, of the absurdity of the World, and, in an almost religious way of thinking, we humans are our own greatest absurdity... ah, but then, is it possible that humans are both scientific masters and existential clowns, in this world? news at ten...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    I loved this book...I can't wait to read the rest of his work. He was a great author.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Denisse

    3.5 Verne's style is a bit stoic and geek but I fully enjoyed the novel. It has all the elements to be a sci-fi classic, the characters are a monument to human rectitude and inteligence, it makes the reader passively navigate with the plot and has that beautiful plot twist and ending. This author is the description of if you like a topic, you can't stop talking about it. Damn that man loved nature. ¡Vaya! Que creativo era este hombre y que habilidad para atrapar al lector con una aventura sencill 3.5 Verne's style is a bit stoic and geek but I fully enjoyed the novel. It has all the elements to be a sci-fi classic, the characters are a monument to human rectitude and inteligence, it makes the reader passively navigate with the plot and has that beautiful plot twist and ending. This author is the description of if you like a topic, you can't stop talking about it. Damn that man loved nature. ¡Vaya! Que creativo era este hombre y que habilidad para atrapar al lector con una aventura sencilla y descabellada. Mi segundo libro de Verne, y aunque 20,000 leguas de viaje submarino se me hace mil veces mejor, La Isla Misteriosa no se queda atrás. Las descripciones tan detalladas solo pueden venir de la cabeza de un autor que adoraba lo que escribía, ya que hasta el párrafo más inverosímil trasciende. Los personajes están tan perfectamente parados pero no puedes conectar con ellos pero si apreciarlos por ser la representación de todo lo bueno del ser humano. Una característica básica de la sci-fi clásica, personajes perfectos. No molesta, solo sorprende lo increíbles que llegan a ser. El final me encanto, la resolución fue perfecta y algo fan service pero, quien no podría emocionarse con el? La imaginación que salía de la cabeza de este hombre era algo de otro mundo, y su forma de plasmarla en una novela al tope de cariño. Es raro encontrarse un autor actual con un nivel creativo de ese tamaño.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    It seems strange that I've never read a Jules Verne book before this one. I'm not sure why I waited so long. I guess I thought that knowing the main ideas of his books were enough? It's not. 5 men and a dog escape from the enemy during the U.S. Civil war in a hot air balloon. They land on a volcanic island about 1600 miles from New Zealand, and they make quite a life for themselves. The island, which they name Lincoln Island in honor of Abraham Lincoln, provides everything they could possibly ne It seems strange that I've never read a Jules Verne book before this one. I'm not sure why I waited so long. I guess I thought that knowing the main ideas of his books were enough? It's not. 5 men and a dog escape from the enemy during the U.S. Civil war in a hot air balloon. They land on a volcanic island about 1600 miles from New Zealand, and they make quite a life for themselves. The island, which they name Lincoln Island in honor of Abraham Lincoln, provides everything they could possibly need to live a fairly good life. In fact, if they were ever to be rescued from the island, they all plan to come back to the island to live. The castaways build their home in a cave high inside a rock-faced wall, making holes for windows with a view of the sea. I like to think their multi-roomed cave home looked like this cave in Crimea or this caveman-esque home in Malibu . One of the castaways is an engineer who seems to know how to build anything and make everything from the raw materials of the island ... everything from gunpowder to iron tools. Life seems almost too easy except for a brief run-in with some pesky priates. The animals and plants of the island are a bit strange because they seem to be from various continents. There are even kangaroos. There are not, however, gigantic versions of common animals on the island as suggested by the 1960s movie version of the book. The most mysterious thing on the island is that they seem not to be alone. Their mysterious benefactor seems to rescue them time and again, and they vacillate between wondering if they're being saved by a god or a man. The revelation of the mystery of the island was surprising. I'm glad that I didn't read any spoilers so that I was surprised by the island's secrets as much as the castaways are. And, unlike the mysteries of the island in the television series "Lost", this island's mysteries finally (mostly) make sense in the end. I like that Verne places this book in the "same universe" as some of his earlier works. The Mysterious Island has tie-ins to two of Verne's previous novels: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways by Jules Verne. Now I feel that I need to read them to fully appreciate and more deeply understand the back story of some parts of the novel. Other than a few places that seem to bog down in the encyclopedic technicalities of how the engineer makes this or that modern convenience item, the book moved a a nice pace. I read the last half of this 723-paged book much more quickly than the first half, very excited to get back to it each time. In fact, I'm a little sad that it's come to an end, so I'll certainly be picking up some of the tie-in books soon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Jules Verne is a writing god! I had previously read some of his more popular works like "Around the World in 80 Days," and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and I loved them. I read those at my local library, and I had recently saved enough money for a nice copy of my own, so I went to the bookstore, but they didn't have any of the books I was looking for. All they had was, "The Mysterious Island," which I had never heard of before, but hey, it was Jules Verne, so I bought it where it laid on my b Jules Verne is a writing god! I had previously read some of his more popular works like "Around the World in 80 Days," and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and I loved them. I read those at my local library, and I had recently saved enough money for a nice copy of my own, so I went to the bookstore, but they didn't have any of the books I was looking for. All they had was, "The Mysterious Island," which I had never heard of before, but hey, it was Jules Verne, so I bought it where it laid on my bookshelf for a while until I had nothing else to read. I was house-sitting at the time when I started to read it, so no parents or siblings around to bother me to do stuff, I could just sit and read. It couldn't have been a better situation because I found myself finishing the book in only two sittings. The only reason it was two was because I needed sleep, but otherwise it would've been just one sitting. This book starts off bleak, with the company feverishly throwing possessions off a hot air balloon. They crash on a seemingly uninhabited island where they slowly but surely make a life for themselves. The company consisted of a sea captain, his young ward, a railroad engineer, his servant, his dog, and a journalist who all add in their own unique talents to make their group prosper on the island. This sort of Robinson Crusoe/Swiss Family Robinson story involves mysterious animals, a repentant criminal, terrorizing pirates, and a secret occupant of the island who ultimately turns savior when one of the company's life hangs in the balance. This isn't a super action packed story that is constantly keeping you on your toes. It's not meant to be that type of story. It's a story of friendship and survival told in the patient but detailed description of Mr. Verne's genius. Enjoy!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Robin Hobb

    If you love steampunk, you owe it to yourself to read Jules Verne. A very resourceful group of men escape in a hot air balloon, only to be swept off course and land on a mysterious island, where they must supply all their own needs using only what they have on them. Excellent read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    An interesting exploration of colonialism 12 May 2012 While this is a book written by the man who has earned himself the title of 'the Father of Science-fiction' many of his stories are more like adventure stories than pure science-fiction. I have written elsewhere about how it is actually difficult to describe a book as being science-fiction simply because the genre seems to overlap with a lot of other styles meaning that science-fiction is more of a setting than a genre (in a very lose sense si An interesting exploration of colonialism 12 May 2012 While this is a book written by the man who has earned himself the title of 'the Father of Science-fiction' many of his stories are more like adventure stories than pure science-fiction. I have written elsewhere about how it is actually difficult to describe a book as being science-fiction simply because the genre seems to overlap with a lot of other styles meaning that science-fiction is more of a setting than a genre (in a very lose sense since genre is really only composed of prose, drama, and poetry). The story starts in the United States during the Civil War when a group of prisoners in the South steal a hot air balloon and escape. This initially I found a little odd because the balloon itself would have had to cross the entire continent and then half of the Pacific Ocean to reach its end destination, and in a way it is probably the less believable of Verne's writings but, as I have previously indicated, this story is more of an adventure than anything attempting to be realistic. However, realism is one of Verne's styles, and even though a number of his stories deal with ideas that had not been fully developed at the time (submarines, airplanes, interplanetary travel) Verne did tend to lean towards the possible as opposed to the fantastic (which came to the fore with H.G. Wells). It is not the balloon trip that is the focus of the story but rather how the castaways managed to survive and thrive on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific. What originally drew me to this story was how this group managed to turn the island into an industrial paradise with little more than the resources that they have available. However, as it turned out, this island was actually a wealth of resources, and with a little ingenuity and know-how, the characters were able to marshal these resources to their benefit. Jules Verne actually prided himself on the accuracy of his research. We are told that he used to pour over travelogues and encyclopaedias to try and create the most realistic stories as possible, and even then it was not just these books that he would read but also scientific theories such as the railgun that was designed to launch the capsule to the moon. I noticed that H.G. Wells also borrowed the same concept when he wrote his story 'The War of the Worlds'. In that story the Martians used railguns to launch their invasion against Earth. It is difficult to determine how realistic Verne's little society would actually be. Remember that Verne had socialistic tendencies, however his stories never seemed to come out as utopian ideas. The Mysterious Island is far from being a utopia, and its characters are more interested in creating a means of escape than they are in creating a paradise for themselves. I won't go too far into the ending of the story as I do not want to give away the little plot twists therein. However, I feel that the thing that attracted me to this story was the characters ingenuity, their ability to not so much turn a bad situation around, but rather the resourcefulness of creating a modern world on a deserted island. I guess this is an idea that had been floating around for a while as we saw the expansion of the British Empire as well as the industrialisation of the American continent. As the Anglo-American Empire expanded, with its expansion came its technology, though we must remember that this expansion of technology was not necessarily for the native populations but rather the imperial overlords. In Australia, and in America, many of the native populations to relegated to reserves where they could attempt to return to their traditional lifestyles, and that was where integration was not working. In many cases, while integration was preferred, it was resisted by the native populations. Even then, where they could integrate, there was still quite a lot of discrimination against them. It is the idea of 'White Man's Burden' where the imperial masters attempt to civilise the barbaric races of the world. However, there is none of that on this island. All I could effectively remember was a monkey that they had captured and was trained to be a servant. In a way this is a typical colonialist attitude of the times. The native inhabitants, particularly in Australia, were considered to be sub-human and treated as such. Since the aboriginal peoples were not considered human, killing them was not murder, and enslaving them was not slavery. Murder only counted against humans, as did slavery, therefore if they were not human, they could be bought, sold, and killed. Moreso, if they were not classified as human, then the continent would not be classified as being inhabited. I guess the use of the ape in this novel is the key to the idea of colonialism, as well as the industrialisation of the island. Building a smelter and a power station is seen in a sense as a key to civilisation, as is clothing the natives and teaching them the English language. I do suspect that Verne did not necessarily agree with many of the attitudes of the time, particularly since he was a socialist, however I am not entirely clear on his political views since most of the books that I have read of his tend to be more in the line of adventure stories. I guess the closest that I have read that is of a political nature would be Paris in the 20th Century (which, I must admit, I read while I was in Paris).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Wonderful. I really enjoyed reading this. It is such a nice story, and even though it is about an exciting topic, the telling is very calm and easy but never boring. Some people might be annoyed that everything falls in place so easily, like yeah nobody could be this lucky, but for me this was really relaxing. I was always wondering and hoping with the main characters, but never really worried. Most of all I liked the ending.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ro

    I am now discouraged to read anymore Verne. I enjoy a hefty tome, however, this was about 500 pages too long. I fell asleep several times whilst reading this because it was so boring. I felt like it was a highly technical survival manual. As a story, it just seemed too ridiculous to be believed. Yes, it's a work of fantasy, but still. Some guys try to escape Richmond via balloon and end up somewhere in the South Pacific. Ridiculous, but I'll still buy it. One guy is so learned, that he knows how I am now discouraged to read anymore Verne. I enjoy a hefty tome, however, this was about 500 pages too long. I fell asleep several times whilst reading this because it was so boring. I felt like it was a highly technical survival manual. As a story, it just seemed too ridiculous to be believed. Yes, it's a work of fantasy, but still. Some guys try to escape Richmond via balloon and end up somewhere in the South Pacific. Ridiculous, but I'll still buy it. One guy is so learned, that he knows how to do EVERYTHING, and when I say everything, I do mean everything. He was able to tell what sort of minerals were on the island. He knew how to make advanced weaponry. He understood all things geological. Every animal they came across he knew immediately what it was. The other guys seemed to worship him, and that was also annoying. There was Mr. Know-It-All, a writer, a sailor and a "Negro" (I guess that was his only occupation). These four guys got along famously. No arguments, nothing. Because Mr. Know-It-All told them not to despair being trapped on an island with a very slim possibility they would ever return home, NO ONE ever complained about anything. Okay, never mind, the sailor was disappointed there was no tobacco, but everyone else was completely fine all the time. I guess I look for a little conflict; it helps drive the action. That was the main problem with this story; there was very little action. Pages and pages of them hunting, smelting, or mining. I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that four random guys could get stranded on an island and eventually create a society similar to the one they'd left behind. When they tamed an orangutan and turned it into a house servant, I was no more good. It was only in the last couple hundred pages that anything even remotely interesting happened. By then I was too tired to care. I wish Verne would have introduced the convicts a little earlier, or at least foreshadowed some interesting events. I was not vested in the characters. I did not care what happened to them because Verne had already assured me that everyone was going to make it out safely thanks to the god-like Harding. I found myself wishing that just once he would be wrong, or maybe someone would get a life-threatening injury and provide a little suspense, but that did not happen. I am not sure if I will read anything else by Verne. Sorry, Jules, you just didn't do it for me.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Well, this was my first exploration of Jules Verne. He seemed right up my alley, I mean honestly: Journey to the Center of the Earth? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? One of the first science fiction writers. I felt I had to make homage to the greats. But yet do not ask me why I decided to pick up the "obscure" Jules Verne book. The one that apparently everyone doesn't like. And thus the mistake. Although...interesting...Verne apparently forgot an important (nay I say critical?) aspect of writing i Well, this was my first exploration of Jules Verne. He seemed right up my alley, I mean honestly: Journey to the Center of the Earth? 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea? One of the first science fiction writers. I felt I had to make homage to the greats. But yet do not ask me why I decided to pick up the "obscure" Jules Verne book. The one that apparently everyone doesn't like. And thus the mistake. Although...interesting...Verne apparently forgot an important (nay I say critical?) aspect of writing in "The Mysterious Island". The plot. Yup. I think this qualifies as one of my first encounters with a novel that suffers from lack of...purpose? And an over-developed "can do" attitude. I mean, crash land 5 men on an island and the plot possibilities seem endless. Look at Lord of the Flies. Swiss Family Robinson. Etc. at nauseum. But what makes these books great? Is the fact that you put "civilized" people in an inhospitable environment where they have to depend on themselves and each other to survive. And it's hard. Very very hard. In this book? The oh-so-helpful engineer comes up with a solution to everything. And I mean everything. They develop nitro-glycerine for pete's sake. They raise wheat and tobacco crops. They build a freaking galleon to get off the island. But, lo, what do they decide? Not to leave. That's right. Take a "stranded on a desert island" book and what is the point? To get off the island. Or at least to learn something significant while you're there. What do these folk do? Turn the place into a freaking resort and decide to stay permanently. Well done them. Honestly, I applaud the effort and the creativity involved in making a windmill on a deserted island. But is it something I want to spend 400 pages reading about? Not really. So thus, fair attempt Jules Verne. But sadly it may be a significantly long period of time before I attempt another of your books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nils Jeppe

    Don't get me wrong, I liked The Mysterious Island. However, it objectively did not age well. First of all, it was one of Verne's "educational" novels, and that shows with lots and lots of exposition that doesn't add anything to the actual story - and much of it isn't even relevant anymore (the theories for the formation of continents, or the nature of the moon are beyond dated). The second problem is that the story is just choke full of "coincidences", which do not even all make sense if you consi Don't get me wrong, I liked The Mysterious Island. However, it objectively did not age well. First of all, it was one of Verne's "educational" novels, and that shows with lots and lots of exposition that doesn't add anything to the actual story - and much of it isn't even relevant anymore (the theories for the formation of continents, or the nature of the moon are beyond dated). The second problem is that the story is just choke full of "coincidences", which do not even all make sense if you consider the explanation at the end. There is really no plot except for the characters' progress in making the island more habitable, and said "coincidences" and the titular mystery. To modern sensibilities, this is just not good enough for a high rating. Also as importantly, there is pretty much no character growth or progression either. There are a few more minor problems, such as the "revelation" at the end itself, but let's not nitpick too much. If you can ignore these issues, and/or just want to read the classic for its own sake, you'll do fine. The Mysterious Island also works acceptably as a "shipwreck" story. It is still worthwhile reading, but it's not spectacular.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Silvana

    Jules Verne is a god! If I can be a writer, I want to be like him. No one else. I've read five of his books and they all blew me away. The Mysterious Island is the ultimate Jules Verne's masterpiece. It tells about five castaways in an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, driven by a storm after they fled from the then raging Civil War in the US (1860s). For survival, they learn to be farmers, hunters, masons, sailors, potters, chemists, physicists, and various of professions you could ima Jules Verne is a god! If I can be a writer, I want to be like him. No one else. I've read five of his books and they all blew me away. The Mysterious Island is the ultimate Jules Verne's masterpiece. It tells about five castaways in an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, driven by a storm after they fled from the then raging Civil War in the US (1860s). For survival, they learn to be farmers, hunters, masons, sailors, potters, chemists, physicists, and various of professions you could imagine. Yes, this might sounds like Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Doyle's The Lost World and other similar stories, but Verne's description is more....complete, adventurous, imaginative, rich with interesting details (hell, he can even make the process of making pottery and iron tools sounds rather fascinating). Plus, Verne's books are classic science fictions with amazing grand visions. Yeah yeah, there's that HG Wells guy, but he's nothing compared with Verne, believe me. The ending (which explains why the island is mysterious) is superb and kinda shocking to me. If you're an avid Jules Verne's reader, you'll know what I mean. Hint: character cross-over.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rozonda

    I re-read this book thanks to my Amazon Kindle, and I found it as fascinating and charming as I did when I first read it, in an almost full version, at the age of eight (I was surprised to find how little the editors of that children's version had suppressed- the book was almost exactly the same). I'm more conscious now of some details of this book, as the lack of female characters (a "sin" often commited by authors of Verne's time) or the idealization of characters, which are all strong and goo I re-read this book thanks to my Amazon Kindle, and I found it as fascinating and charming as I did when I first read it, in an almost full version, at the age of eight (I was surprised to find how little the editors of that children's version had suppressed- the book was almost exactly the same). I'm more conscious now of some details of this book, as the lack of female characters (a "sin" often commited by authors of Verne's time) or the idealization of characters, which are all strong and good(even Ayrton, the marooned bad guy, becomes a model of repentance)- curiously, the most "human" of them in this aspect is Captain Nemo, who admits having led a life with good and bad choices and abides by them. All the same, the richness and interest of the plot, the elegance of the language and the noble ideals defended by Verne make it a book I would like my children to read, if I had children. Verne was one of the authors who taught me to love reading and I think he has done the same for many people.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cyril Anderson

    While I was reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, I noticed the small footnote in one of the last pages. It said, "If you want to find out what happened to Captain Nemo and his ship, read: The Mysterious Island." Immeditatly, I dashed towards Chapters to find this mysterious enigma of a book. I asked my father about it and he shrugged and said: "I read 20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea, but I never read the sequel. I never even KNEW there was a sequel." So therefore, I found the book in the Adult Fi While I was reading 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, I noticed the small footnote in one of the last pages. It said, "If you want to find out what happened to Captain Nemo and his ship, read: The Mysterious Island." Immeditatly, I dashed towards Chapters to find this mysterious enigma of a book. I asked my father about it and he shrugged and said: "I read 20, 000 Leagues Under The Sea, but I never read the sequel. I never even KNEW there was a sequel." So therefore, I found the book in the Adult Fiction section, bought it, and began to read. It was insane, how much I read of that book during the summer, page after page. It took me a long time to finish this book and I was still obsessing over the main characters misadventures. Is there a PREQUEL? REALLY? Where? I want more. It's like children with chocolate, never stopped to ask for more. Jules Verne's books were my chocolate, I never stopped asking for more. Read it. You won't be disaponted. PS Its VERY long. You must have the time to finish it. A PERFECT summer reading book, as I do say so myself!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    This is the first Jules Verne book I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He has a lovely writing style and a wonderfully wide vocabulary. The characters are likeable and work well together to help make the best of each new situation they encounter. It is essentially a tale about a group of men who are stranded on an island. It's a great read and I'll definitely be reading more of his books.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Efka

    Re-read it for some 4th or 5th time, only this time it was in English. Well, what could I say.. Immortal Classics are Immortal Classics. As brilliant, as it had been when I read it the first time. And the second. And the third. Quite sure, that there will be more re-reads in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charity

    Jules Verne weaves a masterful, thrilling tale that keeps you guessing until the end. The perfect example of getting lost in a book and quite an adventure ride that I won't soon forget!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    "The Mysterious Island" is a novel by Jules Verne first published by Hetzel in 1874. The original edition contained quite a few illustrations done by Jules Férat. My edition has quite a few of the illustrations but originally there were even more. The novel is linked by certain characters to two other novels by Verne, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "In Search of the Castaways". I haven't read "In Search of the Castaways", but as for "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"and "The My "The Mysterious Island" is a novel by Jules Verne first published by Hetzel in 1874. The original edition contained quite a few illustrations done by Jules Férat. My edition has quite a few of the illustrations but originally there were even more. The novel is linked by certain characters to two other novels by Verne, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "In Search of the Castaways". I haven't read "In Search of the Castaways", but as for "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea"and "The Mysterious Island" other than one character, they don't seem to have much in common. An early draft of the novel which was rejected by Verne's publisher was titled "Shipwrecked Family: Marooned With Uncle Robinson", I can't imagine why, the men stuck on this island aren't related in any way and there isn't an uncle anybody there. Verne was not only a novelist but also a poet and playwright, so I'm going to have to go on a search for a Verne poem when I'm done here. Unfortunately for now having typed the word playwright I am now distracted by the fact that the word is spelled with "wright" and not "write". That doesn't make sense to me. Another puzzling thing to me at this moment is that in 1886, Verne's favorite nephew, Gaston, attempted to murder him. He fired two shots from a pistol, hitting Verne's leg and giving him a limp for the rest of his life. Gaston turned out to be suffering from mental illness, and spent his life in a mental institution. What puzzles me is, yes I know he was suffering from mental illness, but why did he try to kill Verne? Was there a reason? It seems like there should have been. Anyway, I can't find one and I'm moving on to the story. The novel begins with the rather strange story of our five main characters escaping from Richmond Virginia during the Civil War. One of the first things I find strange is even though these men are being held as prisoners, they are free to walk about the city. Really? Captured Union soldiers were allowed to walk about the streets? That was nice of the south to let them do so, but brings up my second puzzling event. These five men - and a dog - decide to "escape" from Richmond, and they decide to do it in a hot air balloon. To me this seems like they just chose the most difficult way to escape from anywhere, especially since they can walk about freely. Why don't they just wait until dark and walk out? But I guess it wouldn't be much of a story if they just walked away, and we need to get them on a deserted island, and I suppose it wouldn't have been easy to steal a boat, although I don't see how it could have been harder than steal a balloon, but none of this matters because they did steal a balloon and they stole it during the worst storm ever or some such thing. While it doesn't make a lot of sense to go flying about in a balloon during the terrible storm of 1865, it did make sense in that no one was around to watch over the balloon. As for the storm: "Without doubt no one can forget the terrible northeast storm that burst forth during the equinox of that year when the barometer fell to seven hundred ten millimeters. It was a storm that lasted from the 18th to the 26th of March without letup. It ravaged America, Europe and Asia over a broad zone of eighteen hundred miles around a line oblique to the equator, from the thirty fifth north parallel to the fortieth south parallel. Towns overthrown, forests uprooted, shores devastated by the mountains of water which fell upon them as tidal waves, record bureaus counting hundreds of vessels thrown on the coast, entire territories leveled by the waterspouts which pulverized everything in their path, several thousand people crushed on land or swallowed by the sea, these were the marks of fury left behind by this formidable storm." So they fly away in a storm, and get caught in this storm, "displaced and turned round and round without sensing any of this rotation nor their horizontal movement", and finally they crash in the middle of nowhere in the storm. The middle of nowhere being a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. I would have had absolutely no idea what ocean but our main character Cyrus Smith (or Cyrus Harding depending on which translation you have), who knows just about everything says it's the Pacific so I'll take his word for it. Now that we're on the island I have a big problem with what happens next, not only does Cyrus know everything, but the rest of them can do just about anything, and rather quickly. Just on the first day they; crossed the channel from the islet to the island, found a place to live - in a pile of huge rocks they name "The Chimneys", found fresh water, found their first food - mussels; followed the river (that's their fresh water) inland looking for food and fuel; built a raft; loaded it with wood; hunted in the woods; collected bird eggs for food, and made rope out of dried creepers; and that was all before 2pm. It also wasn't five of them working it was only two of them. One was washed away, the other two were looking for him. So that left two of them to accomplished all this in about eight hours. Sure they did. Wait until you see what they manage to do later once they find their missing member, that's Cyrus. One of the things I found just plain mean is the love of some of the castaways to kill things, a lot of things. I wouldn't mind if they killed animals to eat them, but they kill lots and lots at a time and I can't imagine how five men (yes, and a dog) could eat it all before it spoiled. It was strange: "At this moment a flock of small birds with a pretty plumage, with a long and sparkling tail, scattered themselves among the branches, spreading their weakly attached feathers which covered the ground with a fine down. Herbert picked up a few of these feathers and after having examined them: “These are ‘couroucous’,” he said. “I would prefer a guinea fowl or a grouse cock,” replied Pencroff, “but are they good to eat?” “They are good to eat and their flesh is even tender,” replied Herbert. “Besides, if I am not mistaken, it is easy to approach them and kill them with a stick.” The sailor and the lad glided among the grass arriving at the foot of a tree whose lower branches were covered with small birds. The couroucous were waiting for the passage of insects, which served as their nourishment. One could see their feathered feet strongly clenching the sprouts which served to support them. The hunters then straightened themselves up and moving their sticks like a scythe, they grazed entire rows of these couroucous who did not think of flying away and stupidly allowed themselves to be beaten. A hundred littered the ground when the others decided to fly." Why in the world did they kill a hundred of them? Who is going to eat them all? It's not like they have a refrigerator or freezer to keep them in, although Cyrus could probably have one built in a few hours if there was such a thing back then. They don't stop there with the killing spree that day either. Although for the next batch they use traps instead of clubs, but I'm moving on. The story stays interesting for awhile, even with the bird killings, then Cyrus finds a cave or cavern whatever, for them to live in that will be safer than the rocks on the beach, which would be fine until he enters the world of what looks like math which means I have no idea what he's talking about: "You remember what are the properties of two similar triangles?" "Yes," replied Herbert; "their homologous sides are proportional." "Well, my boy, I have just constructed two similar right-angled triangles; the first, the smallest, has for its sides the perpendicular pole, the distance which separates the little stick from the foot of the pole and my visual ray for hypothenuse; the second has for its sides the perpendicular cliff, the height of which we wish to measure, the distance which separates the little stick from the bottom of the cliff, and my visual ray also forms its hypothenuse, which proves to be prolongation of that of the first triangle." The engineer then took a flat stone which he had brought back from one of his previous excursions, a sort of slate, on which it was easy to trace figures with a sharp shell. He then proved the following proportions:— 15:500::10:x 500 x 10 = 5000 5000 / 15 = 333.3 From which it was proved that the granite cliff measured 333 feet in height." Now not only are we using words like homologous, hypothenuse, and prolongation (no I don't know what they mean) but then we have this paragraph that could be in another language for all I can tell: "Cyrus Smith then took the instrument which he had made the evening before, the space between its two legs giving the angular distance between the star Alpha and the horizon. He measured, very exactly, the opening of this angle on a circumference which he divided into 360 equal parts. Now, this angle by adding to it the twenty-seven degrees which separated Alpha from the Antarctic pole, and by reducing to the level of the sea the height of the cliff on which the observation had been made, was found to be fifty-three degrees. These fifty-three degrees being subtracted from ninety degrees—the distance from the pole to the equator—there remained thirty-seven degrees. Cyrus Smith concluded, therefore, that Lincoln Island was situated on the thirty-seventh degree of the southern latitude, or taking into consideration through the imperfection of the performance, an error of five degrees, that it must be situated between the thirty-fifth and the fortieth parallel." I absolutely agree with everything Cyrus said in the above paragraph, since I will never make sense out of it I may as well agree. As I already said Cyrus can do just about anything and one of the first things he does is built a kiln, or tell the others how to. It involved water and sand and clay, and forming it all into brick shapes, then letting it dry for days and days until they had, well - bricks. Then they just built a kiln. After that they made every kind of pottery you could ever think of, then they built a forge. Cyrus had found iron ore, along with just about every other animal, vegetable or mineral on earth, and they turn it into iron, steel and pig iron. I never understood how, but here it is: "Iron ore is usually found in combination with oxygen or sulphur. And it was so in this instance, as of the two specimens brought back by Cyrus Smith one was magnetic iron, and the other pyrites or sulphuret of iron. Of these, it was the first kind, the magnetic ore, or oxide of iron, which must be reduced by coal, that is to say, freed from the oxygen, in order to obtain the pure metal. This reduction is performed by submitting the ore to a great heat, either by the Catalonian method, which has the advantage of producing the metal at one operation, or by means of blast furnaces which first smelt the ore, and then the iron, carrying off the 3 or 4 per cent of coal combined with it." "But in order to be in its most serviceable state, iron must be turned into steel. Now steel, which is a combination of iron and carbon, is made in two ways: first from cast iron, by decarburetting the molten metal, which gives natural or puddled steel; and, second, by the method of cementation, which consists in carburetting malleable iron." Now if we ever want to make steel or iron we know how. And we learn how to make much more than this, thanks to Cyrus we now have a boat, another boat, a raft, gunpowder, a compass, dynamite, glass, bellows, an elevator, sulfuric acid, a windmill, a telegraph, and I'm probably something. And there was this part where Cyrus tells us that thanks to Harbert finding a grain of wheat in his pocket we will have eight hundred grains in the first harvest, which they will replant and at second harvest we will have 640,000 grains, by third harvest we will have 5 hundred twelve million and so on. How he knows this I can't imagine and I am not trying to find out. But eventually they can make bread, lots of bread. The novel is certainly interesting, even fun to read if you can get past the descriptions of how to build kilns and such things. There are monkey invasions, and boat launchings, treks through the jungle, a volcano, trained apes, lots of adventuring things. Oh, it has it share of mysteries too, I guess it should or Verne would have given it a different name. Go ahead and read it, anyone better at math and science than I am should enjoy it more than I did, and like I said, I had fun. After the beatings that is. I'll still give it three stars.

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