Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Five Weeks in a Balloon (Extraordinary Voyages, #1)” as Want to Read:
Five Weeks in a Balloon (Extraordinary Voyages, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

Five Weeks in a Balloon (Extraordinary Voyages, #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  19,586 ratings  ·  498 reviews
There was a large audience assembled on the 14th of January, 1862, at the session of the Royal Geographical Society, No. 3 Waterloo Place, London. The president, Sir Francis M -, made an important communication to his colleagues, in an address that was frequently interrupted by applause. This rare specimen of eloquence terminated with the following sonorous phrases bubblin ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by 1st World Library - Literary Society (first published 1863)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Five Weeks in a Balloon, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mike McDougal It was indeed an effort to finish this book. But please don't let that discourage you from exploring other science fiction by Jules Verne. "From the E…moreIt was indeed an effort to finish this book. But please don't let that discourage you from exploring other science fiction by Jules Verne. "From the Earth to the Moon" was much more interesting!
Also, the science in "From the Earth to the Moon" is surprisingly accurate. Glance at NASA's synopsis:
For example, Verne predicted 3 Americans would go to the moon, with the launch site being in Florida, and mission control in Houston.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,586 ratings  ·  498 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Five Weeks in a Balloon (Extraordinary Voyages, #1)
Ahmad Sharabiani
Cinq semaines en ballon = Five Weeks in a Balloon (Extraordinary Voyages, #1), Jules Verne
Five Weeks in a Balloon, or, Journeys and Discoveries in Africa by Three Englishmen (French: Cinq semaines en ballon) is an adventure novel by Jules Verne, published in 1863. It is the first novel in which he perfected the "ingredients" of his later work, skillfully mixing a plot full of adventure and twists that hold the reader's interest with passages of technical, geographic, and historic description. T
Jan 18, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Verne's first full-length novel, while setting the formula for many of his later books, is definitely not one of his best: the science is sketchy and the plot is basically a series of small misadventures in a row that the three main characters escape with usually not too much difficulty and a just modicum of ingenuity.

The book would still be enjoyable enough, however, if not for the blatant racism that permeates all the pages where they meet another human being: every single black person in Afr
Mary ♥
Jul 06, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5/5 stars

As for difficulties," replied Ferguson, in a serious tone, "they were made to be overcome.


Pros of reading a Victorian Era classic

♦ Complicated vocabulary, detailed descriptions and lots of facts about the time period. Now, if you didn't know, I happen to be an avid fan of everything Victorian, because it is an era that really intrigues me, something that means reading this was a big plus for me.

♦ Really progressive science facts. All of the books Jules Verne has written are cleve
Lucy Mason
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, kindle, 2015
If you like trigger-happy wild game hunters and hardcore Victorian racism, this could be the one for you.
Benjamin Stahl
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I enjoyed this story so much more than I thought I would. Having read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea a while back, I was already familiar with the writing of Jules Verne. And while that book was very good, there were also some flaws ... such as the writer's tendency to bog the narrative down with long-winded, heavily technical descriptions regarding the scientific processes and theories related to his story.
These parts I felt slowed the pace too much. But they were always compensated for, with so
Katelyn Sherman
Jun 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Ok, ok, so the book is racist but it's also just bad. So bad that after weeks of putting it aside and trying to muster up the strength to slog through to the end, I gave up, read about it online, and have no regrets.

Having never explored Jules Verne, I was inspired to read his work after adoring "All the Light We Cannot See", in which the sea-loving female protagonist reads "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "Around the World in 80 Days". I bought a gorgeous collection of 4 of his novels and st
Mar 18, 2018 marked it as series-in-progress
Listening to audiobook downloaded from Hoopla. Since it becomes overdue today, returning it to the library incomplete on 3/18/18. Completed thru chapter 6 (about 10%, I think). This is a Libravox recording with an amateur narrator. So I am struggling to enjoy the text (one of Verne's earliest) but I find the narrator's voice somewhat monotonous. This is going to be a long haul to the end (on some other day!)
Alexis Webb
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.
Sure, it had it's problems. The plot was a bit formulaic, and the characters
weren't all that deep and fleshed out.
But it was fun, and entertaining.
Don't be put of by comments of racist language, although that is certainly
scattered throughout the book. But this book was also published in 1862, and
so is a product of it's times, and you have to take that into account when reading
Czarny Pies
Aug 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents wishing to educate their children about racism.
Recommended to Czarny by: Barbara Eden and Red Buttons
Shelves: french-lit
Five Weeks in A Balloon is the first novel written by Jules Verne and unquestionably one of his best. Unfortunately it is indeed as its reputation holds highly racist which creates problems about how it should be approached.

Sir Samuel Ferguson the hero of Five Weeks in a Balloon is a member of the Royal Geographic Society who in the the 1850s decides to explore Africa by crossing it from East to West in a balloon accompanied by two endearing sidekicks. Where it works, the descriptions of the ca
Dec 07, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
A late review, because actually I've started reading this book after I've finished reading "Around the World in 80 Days" (two in one). Similar plot, one guy tries to prove that he's capable of doing something that others can only imagine (and cannot). That is why the more I read Verne's books, the more I feel that he's trying to stress human spirit and optimism. If you have the capability, funding and strength to achieve your dreams, go for it and who cares about what others may think. That's th ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: precinct-81
Not the best Verne I read. It still amazes me how modern some comments feel. At the other side: the tone sadly is very racist and only understandable if you look at the time it was written.
However there are far better works of Julles Verne worth the read.
Wally Flangers
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Tell me Jules Verne isn’t the man…. Who else can blend an abundance of science, physics, geography, and history into a story line and still make it undeniably enjoyable? Answer: NOBODY…. The dude was WAY ahead of his time. His stories do take a bit of effort and imagination on your part at times, but nobody can open the doors of your mind like Jules Verne can – followed by a couple hits of Cannabis to get the creative juices flowing.

“Five Weeks in a Balloon” (also known as “Journeys an
Greg F
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
While idly wandering through a book store for something to read recently, one book in particular caught my attention - A collection of Jules Verne books, featuring his first novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon. Verne being one of my favorite authors, I had no hesitation in purchasing the hefty book, and soon began to plow through it. The book involves three men (which seems to be a constant in Verne’s fictional universes) and their adventures travelling over the continent of Africa in a hot air ballo ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a vision that I read all Jules Verne Adventure Books. I read some of his book as a child, this one I missed. I have to say, I was really disappointed and all the reasons you will read under the 1-star and 2-star reviews apply to mine as well.
There is racism and actually "white supremacy" there - something that I think was very IN at that time. The africans are all savages and cannibals. The three idiots in the ballon have no doubt about that, they question their origins not a second, they
A fairly solid entry in the Verne catalogue. He does manage to make a balloon trip more interesting than i expected.
There's also a lot of information concerning the history of african exploration which was informative as always with verne.
I don't have enough science knowledge to support or pick apart vernes version of a balloon but its not your standard hot air type used today.
Our three main characters all well drawn and there's some humour to be had in their personalities. The first half seemed
Thomas Salerno
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Some thrilling scenes of old-fashioned adventure can't make up for the frequent dull sections, tedious dialogue, and out-of-date racial notions. This book did not age well, and frankly there are much better Jules Verne novels that you can read.
Dec 01, 2016 rated it did not like it
It's tough nowadays to enjoy a light-hearted adventure drenched in so much hardcore Victorian era racism.
Noah Goats
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cinq Semaines en Ballon is really a road trip story, except the road is the sky and the car is a balloon filled with highly flammable hydrogen. This book is typically entertaining Verne, with it's intelligent and self assured protagonist and series of exotic adventures. It's hard to believe that a balloon could ever have been the high tech, futuristic gadget in a semi-science fictiony adventure story, but balloons were cutting edge in the 1860s and the French would use them inspire the world dur ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Five Weeks in A Balloon by Jules Verne

Awe, inspiration, joy, amusement, hope, interest, pride, gratitude, serenity and most of all love... These are the elements, feelings or incentives to feel these emotions that we should look for in the stories we read, in order to obtain Positivity. For the ten mentioned components help one become positive.
Jules Verne has imagined all kinds of trips, machines and technology. From submarines, to machines that fly, float, and submerge do anything. We are taken
Ira Therebel
The first book written by Jules Verne and the first in Extraordinary Voyages series that I began reading. It isn't bad but also not a great read that one would expect from an adventures book by famous Jules Verne. I hope the next ones that I will read will be more exciting.

Three man decide to fly across Africa in a balloon. This is a science fiction for that time and I don't know much about balloons to see how close to reality it was. The descriptions made it seem very realistic which is definit
Eye of Sauron
Dr. Samuel Ferguson laid the tentatively sketched map of Africa down on the mahogany table. "Herein lies the question, my good men; how much of this fictional adventure of ours should be based on real fact? I, for one, vote for an exhaustive bucketload of information about geography, historical expeditions, and my particular brand of pseudo-science to divert attention away from the complete nonsense that will necessarily make up the rest of the novel."

"That sounds reasonable," remarked Richard K
Dion Perry
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story of three men’s journey across Africa in a balloon. The story is very dated and written in accordance with the social norms of the day. In this regard, it can be perceived as racist and, given there are no female characters, sexist. However, the story is a classic. It is full of suspense and drama which leaves the reader on the edge of the seat wondering what will happen next. Interestingly, the story has no villain characters, the landscape and the people and animals in it are th ...more
Well, certainly a very different experience reading at 10 than at 40. Which is a relief, if you think about it. If I could read about the local black people being called monkeys, and all those colonialist and racist lines without cringing, it would be a problem. What is most interesting is not being able to recall any of that from my first reading as a child, as if one’s brain is so innocent at that point that it cannot conceive those concepts or their expression. I just remembered the science, ...more
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
The adventures of Samuel Ferguson and his trusty servant Joe are thrilling. Jules Vernes' attitude towards tribes in Africa, calling negroes for savages, would now a days be seen as very racist, but this just makes the book even more likable because it shows how the general perception of races was different. My favorite character of the book has to be Joe, which through the whole book shows immense loyalty, companionship and does everything in his power to make sure they succeed in their attempt ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I know of Jules Verne’s stories, the major ones anyway, but I’ve never read any of his books. So I thought I’d start with one I knew very little about. And Wow! It was so good! This is a classic example of why he is one of the world’s greatest authors. At no time did I feel like I wasn’t right there with the three adventurers, exploring the wild lands of Africa. The characters felt so real and alive. A great Victorian adventure that I didn’t want to end!
Laurel Hicks
I'm practicing my French with the help of this Jules Verne novel and a French-to-English dictionary. Both are on my Kindle, and they are connected to each other to make it easy to learn new vocabulary. I began reading on Dec. 20, 2009.
Roger Burk
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
In 1862 three British adventurers fly a hydrogen balloon across Africa from Zanzibar to Senegal, generally mooring to a tree at night and sleeping on the ground. (One wonders why a French author chose British heroes.) Obliging winds carry them over every interesting site in between, Lake Victoria and the source of the Nile and Lake Chad and Timbuktu--even a bloody tribal battle in progress and the martyrdom of a saintly missionary. They find not Wakanda but another less benign fantasy, one a pro ...more
3 Stars

Five Weeks in a Balloon is the first in Verne's "Extraordinary Voyages" series. And if I'm not mistaken, the first of his books to be published. It very much sets the example of how the rest of that series would go. Although it is evident that he was still finding his style, and I did not enjoy this book as much as some of his later works. But I like to read author's debuts and see how their style and techniques change over time.

This is a classic adventure story wherein three men attempt
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a good ... not a great ... action story. It was a very clever futuristic story when written. It has good twists and turns with clever technical solutions to problems. I now recognize the difficulties in controlled balloon travel ... weight vs lift.

It contained a bit too much history of African exploration ... perhaps interesting when the book was written but not today.

This was my first Verne novel. I enjoyed it and look forward to additional books to read.
Emma R.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Struggled to finish it.
The plot was clear and direct but so repetitive and mind-numbing. The characters would face an issue and overcome it without much struggle, never failing to mention how blacks were savages, brutes, barbarians, etc.
I probably shouldn’t bother pointing this out, though, since it seems to be fairly common in 19th century novels about Africa.
All in all, I can’t say I enjoyed but it’s not the worst classic I’ve read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Around the World in 80 Days (Great Illustrated Classics)
  • Veinte mil leguas de viaje submarino
  • Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe #1)
  • Jerry of the Islands: A True Dog Story
  • The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe #2)
  • Miguel Strogoff - Julio Verne
  • Пикник на обочине. Отель «У погибшего альпиниста». Улитка на склоне
  • Haritada Kaybolmak
  • Le Mysterieux Manuscrit de Nostraratus (Geronimo Stilton, N4)
  • Kaşağı
  • Τα ψηλά βουνά
  • The Wonderful Adventures of Nils
  • Gladyatör Kararını Arenada Verir
  • Burning Daylight
  • La isla misteriosa (Julio Verne #10)
  • Στα μυστικά του βάλτου
  • Le Docteur Pascal (Les Rougon-Macquart, #20)
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth (Great Illustrated Classics)
See similar books…
Jules Gabriel Verne was a French author who pioneered the genre of science-fiction. He is best known for his novels Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873).

Verne wrote about space, air, and underwater travel before navigable aircraft and practical submarines were invented, and before any means

Related Articles

Science fiction is endless fun for those who appreciate thoughtful conjecture. As a genre, sci-fi encourages rule breaking...
78 likes · 18 comments
“As for difficulties," replied Ferguson, in a serious tone, "they were made to be overcome.” 26 likes
“Besides," said Kennedy, "the time when industry gets a grip of everything and uses it to its own advantage may not be particularly amusing. If men go on inventing machinery they'll end up by being swallowed by their own machines. I've always thought that the last day will be brought about by some colossal boiler heated to three thousand atmospheres blowing up the world."
"And I bet the Yankees will have had a hand in it," said Joe.”
More quotes…