dragonhelmuk's Reviews > The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras

The Voyages and Adventures of Captain Hatteras by Jules Verne
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really liked it
Read 2 times. Last read March 5, 2013.

Kindled for free. This Project Gutenberg ebook contains both of the Hatteras books in a row by Jules Verne.

At first the degrees fahrenheit threw me off a bit, but actually Verne's science of the north pole in this book seems to be showing its age. Still, this remains a really good read and all sorts of plot twists (with absolutely no foreshadowing) suggest that either Verne made up the story as he wrote it, or he planned it impeccably. I can’t help feeling, from reading this book if there’s anywhere in the world that Jules Verne couldn’t have survived if he was castaway. His stories are set everywhere, but in all the situations the characters don’t just survive, they flourish.

{Verne – the Victorian survivalist}
"Without doubt! If you were to go to the celebrated countries of the world, to Thebes, Nineveh, or Babylon, in the fertile valleys of our ancestors, it would seem impossible that men should ever have lived there; the air itself has grown bad since the disappearance of human beings. It is the general law of nature which makes those countries in which we do not live unhealthy and sterile, like those out of which life has died. In fact, man himself makes his own country by his presence, his habits, his industry, and, I might add, by his breath; he gradually modifies the exhalations of the soil and the atmospheric conditions, and he makes the air he breathes wholesome. So there are uninhabited lands, I grant, but none uninhabitable."

{climate change in the nineteenth century?}
"True, Shandon, and I notice also that Baffin's Bay seems to be returning to the state it was in before 1817." "Don't you think, Doctor, it has always been as it is now?" "No, my dear Shandon, from time to time there have been great breakings of the ice which no one can explain; so, up to 1817 this sea was continually full, when an enormous sort of inundation took place, which cast the icebergs into the ocean, most of which reached the banks of Newfoundland. From that day Baffin's Bay was nearly free, and was visited by whalers." "So," asked Shandon, "from that time voyages to the North became easier?" "Incomparably; but for some years it has been noticed that the bay seems to be resuming its old ways and threatens to become closed, possibly for a long time, to sailors. An additional reason, by the way, for pushing on as far as possible. And yet it must be said, we look like people who are pushing on in unknown ways, with the doors forever closing behind us."

{electric fuse for dynamite}
"Well," answered the doctor, smiling, "if we couldn't get out of this little affair, what would be the use of physics?" "Ah!" said Johnson, brightening up, "physics!" "Yes! Haven't we here an electric pile and wires long enough,—those, you know, which connected with the lighthouse?" "Well?" "Well, we shall explode the powder when we please, instantly, and without danger."
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