Jules Verne is a pioneer of science fiction, he created many of the tropes that we see as common in science fiction today, and many of his books predicted technology we think of as commonplace now. That’s why we had a Journey to the Center of the Earth book club a few years ago. It also gave us an excuse to watch a silly take on the classic book for a modern book and a movie.
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Journey to the Center of the Earth
Journey to the Center of the Earth follows the adventures of Professor Lidenbrock, a geologist, as he travels to Iceland to investigate a pet theory of his. While investigating he descends into an extinct volcano and discovers the earth is actually hollow.
He starts to investigate and quickly discovers he must find a way out of this new world when his experiments reveal the hollow earth is super-heating.
Journey to the Center of the Earth book club
We read this as part of our reading of lots of science fiction books last year, and the discussion centered around predictions.
We talked about the technology Jules Verne predicted in this book, and the theories he predicted. An interesting feature of Jules Verne’s books was his attempt to ground his speculative fiction in reality. This is probably why so many of his predictions have since come true. We talked about the many different tools the scientist used and the details given on how he observed them.
Then we started talking about what Jules Verne got wrong. There were some ideas he came up with that were just flat wrong. The most obvious being a hollow earth, but how things would work with a hollow earth, or what would happen in certain circumstances.
Finally, we talked about the ideas he started with his book. Ideas like a found journal that is published, or a hollow earth (I’ll admit this one is really on my mind because Batman and I are listening to Omnitopia Dawn together, and it features a video game player trying to create a hollow earth).
I find often with Jules Verne’s books it’s the idea I enjoy, and not so much the execution of the idea. Journey to the Center of the Earth seems to be the exception because I like it so much better than 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Journey to the Center of the Earth snacks
Of course after our Journey to the Center of the Earth book club, we watched the movie and had snacks. We watched the “new” movie which worked under the theory Jules Verne’s books are actually true, and there really was an underground world.
It’s a fun take on the book, and led to further discussion on how that might work.
- briefcase– the book makes a point of emphasizing how the Professor kept his briefcase carefully near him, so I made some brownies and added a broken pretzel handle
- rock samples– of course, a geologist is going to gather lots of rock samples to display, so we made rolo, pretzel, and M&M creations to display our rock samples
- mushroom forest– was a cake covered in marshmallows dipped in chocolate on pretzel stick stems, I was rather proud of the idea even if it didn’t look anywhere near as cool as I had hoped
- sea monsters– goldfish, I could have picked up a random collection of gummy creatures, but we like goldfish
- hollow earth– donut holes
- professor– this was in the midst of their great sour patch kids obsession, and I let them get away with it
- giant leaves– maple leaf cookies, since the trees grew to such an unusual size because of the hyper oxygenated state below the earth
- biscuits– because they brought large numbers of biscuits as rations
- lava– Big Red
- Rocks– Rice Krispie treats with melted chocolate chips added
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