A Trip to the Center of the Earth
By Jules Verne
I read on the eastern side of the huge block of stone, the same characters, half eaten away by the corrosive action of time, the name, to me thousand times accursed—Arne Saknussem "Now unbeliever, do you begin to have faith?" cried my uncle. It was impossible for me to answer a single word. The evidence was unanswerable, overwhelming!
Introduction to the Story
HAVING won the attention of the public with "Five Weeks in a Balloon," Jules Verne wrote in rapid succession several truly masterly tales. Of these remarkable inventions of the human mind, "A Trip to the Center of the Earth" was the first to be completed in its present form. It was published in 1864, in a series of books by Verne, denominated "Voyages Extraordinaires." This series, started in that year by the publisher Hetzel, has been continued to recent times.
This particular "Voyage" has sometimes been declared our author's masterpiece. In it he for the first time gives free rein to that bold yet scientifically exact imagination, whereby he has constructed for us in fancy the entire universe. There is nothing in all the daring visions of this tale which, even today our scientists would declare impossible. The interior of the earth is still unknown; and there may well be rifts, passages, descending from extinct volcanoes and penetrating far within. There may well be huge cavities, bubbles left in the cooling mass, vast enough to harbor inland, seas, and shelter many of the ancient forms of life now extinct upon earth's surface.
The main scientific objection to this, as indeed to most of the more fanciful of Verne's tales, lies in the extravagant means he employs to bring his explorers home again from their reckless ventures. But, as romance obviously demands their return somehow, science discreetly accents in silence the astonishing accidents and coincidences they escape the doom they have invited.