This review will contain spoilers!
In many sentences:
I began reading the version of A Journey to the Centre of the Earth that is available for free on Amazon for the Kindle. After the first three chapters, however, I was utterly apathetic about the book. The writing felt rather pedestrian, especially for what is considered a classic, and in my boredom, I flipped to the beginning of the text to see how many chapters there were. Instead, I read the following:
""¦this edition is not a translation at all but a complete re-write of the novel, with portions added and omitted, and names changed. The most reprinted version, it is entered into Project Gutenberg for reference purposes only. A better translation is A Journey into the Interior of the Earth translated by Rev. F. A. Malleson, also available on Project Gutenberg."
Annoyed both by the fact that I was reading an (evidently) sub-standard version of the book, and that this version was the most reprinted version, I decided to head to project Gutenberg and grab this other version. I'm glad I did - after re-reading the same section, it was clear this version, with the slightly altered title A Journey to the Interior of the Earth was far better.
The superior version does not attempt to obfuscate the science or pander to the reader, but presents the details as the scientific men who are relaying this adventure to us most certainly would. On the whole the book is clever, and while not as exciting as some readers might prefer, a really enjoyable book.
The very fact that Verne considered such a logical explanation, and presented it with the excitement and humor that he did, is pretty impressive. Most of the science is probably bad (I'm not geologist, but I can say that the idea that dinosaurs would have remained unchanged in the underground ocean does not make sense from an evolution perspective) but it it's at least logical enough to even be used as a jumping off point for learning the real science behind it. He doesn't make up science, per se, he simply takes the assumptions of certain theories, and draws them out to interesting possible scenarios.
This is a great book for those who don't love hard core, futuristic science fiction, but like the "speculative fiction" that is a little more grounded in reality. It's funny and smart, and I definitely recommend it.
"What is the need of adding that the illustrious Otto Liedenbrock, corresponding member of all the scientific, geographical, and mineralogical societies of all the civilised world, was now her uncle and mine?"Jules Verne the Last Line of in A Journey to the Interior of the Earth