Review of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

This review is reprinted from the reviewer’s blog, No Wasted Ink.

Review By Wendy Van Camp

Book Name: 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Jules Verne
First Published:

Jules Verne was born the son of an French attorney in Nantes, France. As a boy, Verne developed a great love for travel and exploration, which was reflected in his science fiction writings. His interest in storytelling often cost him progress in other school subjects. It is rumored that the child Verne was so enthralled with adventure that he stowed away on a vessel going to the West Indies, but his voyage of discovery was cut short when he found his father waiting for him at the next port of call.

As Verne grew to adulthood, he began to write libretti for operettas even as he was studying in law school. When his father discovered that he was not attending to his law studies, his educational funds were cut off. Jules Verne turned to being a stockbroker to make his living, a profession that he hated. Around this time, he met and married Honorine de Viane Morel, a widow with two daughters. Honorine encouraged her husband to do what he loved, to write.

Verne’s writing career improved when he met Pierre-Jules Hetzel, an important French publisher, after being rejected by many other publishers. Verne and Hetzel formed a successful writer-publisher team until Hetzel’s death. Verne was prone to be overly scientific and melancholy in his writing, Hetzel forced the author to be more upbeat and to add in more adventure and less science. The combination proved to be gold. Verne began publishing his novels two years after the birth of his son and generally published two books a year after that point. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was one of his more famous works and one of the earlier novels that he published.

The novel begins in 1866 when a mysterious sea monster is sighted by ships of several countries. In New York City, an expedition to track down and kill the menace is formed by the US government. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a renoun french marine biologist, is invited to join the expedition at the last minute. Aronnax, his assistant Conseil and harpoon master Ned Land set sail from Brooklyn aboard the naval ship Abraham Lincoln and travel around Cape Horn and entering the Pacific Ocean.

The monster is discovered and the ship enters into battle. During the fight, the three men are thrown overboard and find themselves stranded on the “hide” of the monster. Much to their surprise, they find that the animal is a metal ship. The men are captured and brought on board the strange vessel where they meet its creator and commander, Captain Nemo. The vessel is an electrically powered submarine known as the Nautilus which roams the oceans to carry out marine biology research and to serve as an instrument of revenge for her captain. Nemo and Aronnax form a friendship as Aronnax is enthralled by the undersea views, despite the fact that Nemo has forbidden the three passengers to leave the vessel. Only Ned Land continues to plan their escape.

The title of 20,000 leagues under the sea does not refer to the depth that the electrical submarine dives, but rather the distance that the vessel travels in the ocean during the story. The passengers of the Nautilus see the coral reefs of the Red Sea, the shipwrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves and the fictional sunken nation of Atlantis. The crew does battle with sharks and other marine life and the ship itself is attacked by a giant octopus.

In the end, Nemo’s vessel is attacked by a ship from Nemo’s home nation. The battle pushes Nemo into an emotional depression and in his grief, he allows the Nautilus to enter a whirlpool off the coast of Norway. During this distraction, Aronnax, Conseil and Land manage to escape the submarine and return to land. However, the fate of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus remains a mystery.

I can’t remember a time when I did not know of and love the stories of Jules Verne. So many of his stories have been adapted into movies, his characters have been adopted into other novels, and there was once a ride in Disneyland based on the book. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was the first of his novels that I read, prompted by seeing the Disney movie by the same name starring Kirk Douglas (who sings!) produced in 1954. This movie is likely the most famous of numerous films based upon this book. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is considered one of his “Voyages Extraordinaires” novels which also include Around the World in 80 Days, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Mysterious Island, and From the Earth to the Moon. Many of the inventions that Verne wrote about are now real technology that we see everyday. Verne paid attention to the state of the art scientific information of his time and embellished upon it with his vivid imagination to create his fantastic worlds of the future. If you have not read Jules Verne, I urge you to look into his novels. You’ll see long ago dreams that now have become the shape of life as we know it.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is considered in the public domain and is available for free download at Project Gutenberg or at your local public library.

Phase 2 Magazine Issue 4 Cover Reveal

If you follow Phase 2 Magazine on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve likely already seen this. If you don’t, below you will find the cover for issue 4. Once again, it was done by Jason Miller and it continues the visual narrative which began on the cover of our first issue and has continued throughout the year.

Cover - Web FriendlyIssue 4 will release later this month. It will contain the second installment of Biomorph by Roy C. Booth, trimmed down versions of the interviews and reviews which have recently been on our site (excluding the NaNoWriMo interviews, which you can already download in PDF form here), and more to be announced.

NaNoWriMo Interviews 2015 Recap

This year, throughout the month of November and going into early December, we published 16 interviews with writers, asking them a bit about themselves and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). On some days, we published more than one interview. In case you missed any, here is a complete list with links:

Drew Avera
Jonathan Bergeron
Carol Gyzander
Axel Kohagen
Anna L. Davis
Amanda L. Baker
Dawn Chapman
JJ Shelton
Daniel Moore
Cheryce Clayton
Jeffery Cook
Vanessa Knipe
Jane Lebak
Rebekah Raymond
JL Sarchet
Christina L. Rozelle

You can download all of these interviews in one convenient PDF here.

Did you enjoy reading these interviews? Would you like us to make these interviews an annual thing? Are there any of these writers you’d like us to have back for a more personalized interview? Let us know in the comments or on social media.

Christina L. Rozelle NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a mom of four and Dallas, Texas native, and author of the bestselling Treemakers Trilogy. I love chocolate, coffee, Daryl Dixon, and yoga pants, and daydream constantly about end-of-the-world scenarios.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

My first time attempting NaNoWriMo was in 2013 when I wrote the first version of “The Treemakers.” I won that year and am still paying for it! I scrapped that story and rewrote it from scratch, publishing it a year later on Dec. 3, 2014. It’s sequel, The Soultakers, was just published Dec. 3, 2015.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

I was busy prepping The Soultakers for publication so I didn’t participate this year, though I would’ve liked to.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

When I participated in 2013 I kept a calendar in front of me and a big red sharpie. Each day I hit my word count I crossed out that day with a gigantic red X. Once you see a string of these you don’t want to “break the chain” so you keep pushing harder. It seems simple but it works. I’ve heard famous authors and celebrities mention using this method, including Jerry Seinfeld. You just write every day, no matter what. Put those headphones on to drown out the background noise if you need to. Lock yourself in an attic or cellar. Threaten those around you with wet noodle-whippings if they disturb you—things of that nature. You have to be on the verge of obsession to complete this insane challenge. You have to ask yourself this: How bad do I want it? And you have to go to any lengths it takes to hit that word count every day, word-slinging-ninja beast-mode style.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Here are all of the places you can find me and my work around the web:
“The Treemakers” on Amazon:

“The Treemakers” on Audible:

“The Soultakers” on Amazon:

Amazon Author Page:
“The Rozelle Army” Mailing List:
The Treemakers on ifList:
A Spark in the Dark Facebook Page:
The Fansite of Christina L. Rozelle:
Facebook Profile:

Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: (@CLRozelle)
Instagram: christina.l.rozelle


Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Aspiring writers might like to check out my blog for writers, A Spark in the Dark. There you’ll find tons of tidbits of insight and pearls of wisdom (and plenty of shenanigans) from my journey to becoming a self-published author, and beyond.
A Spark in the Dark Blog:

Thanks so much for having me!

Coming Soon: Writing Prompts

We at here at Dark Futures are aware than many of our followers are writers. Because of this, beginning in the near future, we will be posting regular writing prompts to the site. The prompts may take various forms but they will all be sci-fi in nature, mostly fitting our dark style.

You may use these prompts as simply something to think about, or as the basis for an entire story of your own. You are even welcome to submit stories inspired by the prompts to us through the usual route (for more information on that, check out our submissions page.)

Most of these prompts will come from the mind of our Editor-In-Chief and the rest of our staff. For more, we now reach out to you. If you would like to submit a writing prompt, you may do so here, on our Facebook page, to our Twitter, or via email at editor(at) If your prompt is chosen, you will be credited and you may provide one link to be included. You may also choose to remain anonymous. By submitting a writing prompt, you are granting Dark Futures Literature LLC permission to publish it along with the other listed information you provide us.

JL Sarchet NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the moment, I’m living in South Korea and teaching English as a Foreign Language to middle school students. During the day, I teach academic writing, but my passion is storytelling. In my spare time I write speculative fiction novels.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I have done NaNoWriMo every year since 2006 and have managed to cross that 50,000 word mark each time. Each year I start strong, get distracted by life for most of the month, and then spend a hellish weekend pounding out the rest of the novel. This is my tenth attempt and I hope it will be my tenth win.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

Although I am not new to NaNo, I am new to writing science fiction and especially cyberpunk. I’m pantsing my way through the first draft of a novel about cyborg boxers who take on a fight against the corrupt corporation that sponsors them (after they stumble across a deep, dark secret, of course!) and I’m having a great time learning more about boxing.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

My job keeps me a bit too busy during the week to hit the recommended 1667 on a daily basis. In fact, most years I would let several days go by without writing a word, but often had trouble getting back into the flow of the story. I would say that this year, my focus can be attributed to two things: I set a minimum word count of 100 words a day. That’s it. I usually tapped it out on my morning bus ride using Evernote on my phone. It kept the story fresh and moving forward AND it gave me a sense of accomplishment. And even if I didn’t write another word that day, I had reached my personal goal. I can silence my inner editor. Believe me when I say as an English teacher, it can be difficult look at a passage filled with typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mishaps, and missing quotation marks. For the pace required to finish NaNoWriMo, I have to be able to ignore it. When I write I literally mutter to myself, “You can fix it. Later.” That ‘later’ part is the key. On December 1st, I can switch into search and destroy mode. If I could offer any advice to someone attempting NaNo it would mirror the two things I mentioned above. 1) Find a way to keep your story moving forward, no matter how slowly. Chip away at it. And 2) DO. NOT. EDIT. Turn off the inner editor and just get the story on the page. You don’t have time to doubt yourself. Write.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Right now, the best way to track me down is via the Writerpunk facebook group. I’m currently working on a few submissions for the anthologies produced by Writerpunk Press, all of which are classic stories reimagined with cyberpunk elements.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. If there is anyone out there who has taken on the challenge and thinks that they can’t make a huge comeback in a short amount of time, just know that it is possible. I’m in the final weekend of NaNoWriMo. I have over 22,000 words to write but only 50 hours (at the time of this writing) to do it in. Normally this amount of work and this deadline should cause panic. And if I didn’t already know I can close the gap and cross the finish line, I would really be freaking out right now.

You’ve got to keep fighting for it. Pour another cup of coffee and keep writing. You can sleep in December. Or, if you’re as caffeinated as I am, January.


Rebekah Raymond NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I am married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two children together. I am a creative, an artist, writer, and author. I thrive on music and written word, read obsessively, and have many eclectic interests. I have my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, have worked in both professional and artists endeavours, and pride myself on always growing, always learning.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I tried NaNoWriMo for the first time November 2014. I joined late, November 10, and by the 18th I still had 30,000 words to go. But, I succeeded with the help of many late nights. I also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo since then (and completed them successfully)

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

This November I am working on starting Book Four of my Life’s Series. As well, I am continuing to work on the novella which is the backstory of one of the beloved characters from Book One. They are thrillers, bordering on horror in some ways, although based on what has been written so far I think a romance classification may need to be considered in there as well. They hint to science fiction as well, with a dystopian aspect to a world in the future.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

This year has been especially difficult to stay on track. But, I am trying to stick to a writing schedule, so that I don’t fall too far behind. For anyone wanting to try NaNoWriMo I have two different sets of advice. 1) for those wanting to attempt and be successful with a 50,000 word count: try to stick to the suggested 1667 or more words per day. This will ensure you don’t fall too far behind. 2) for those who simply want to try it and aren’t too concerned about meeting the word count goal: just have fun. Struggling to meet the 50,000 words can be daunting sometimes and it is often near the finish line that writers give up, thinking there is no way they can do it. Here’s the thing – whether you write 3,000 words or 85,000, you are winning. All because you have picked up that pen and paper, tablet, phone, laptop, and started to write. And that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

Facebook Author Page:
Twitter: @RRaymondAuthor

Life’s Defeat (Life’s Series: Book One) Purchase links
Amazon (available through all amazon stores):
In Canada – paperback purchase:
or through my website (above)

Jane Lebak NaNoWriMo Interview

First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Jane Lebak. I write books and I knit socks. Not at the same time. I’m also one of the bloggers for, a resource for writers seeking agents.

How many times have you attempted NaNoWriMo? Have you succeeded in the past?

I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo twice before this year and after both experiences I swore not to do it again. I was able to get my 50,000 words in November, but at the expense of being able to complete the book at all. I’ve learned I need to take a “literary pause” every so often to gather my emotional strength to keep writing, and if I can’t do that, I’ll hit my word count but will start to burn out. I did it in 2005 and 2006 but didn’t finish either of those books until this year. (They’re both published now.) While I have no problems doing 100K in 90 days, 50K in 30 days was just too quick for me. This year, though, something changed.

What can you tell us about your current work in progress for this year’s NaNoWriMo?

My WIP for Nano this year is a book in the Seven Archangels series. It takes place about twenty years after the events in Sacred Cups, but it stands alone if you didn’t read the previous books. The archangels have learned that the demons are developing a new weapon, so they infiltrate Hell to find out what it is. They end up accidentally setting it off, leaving two of the angels and one of the demons disabled. Now they need to figure out what that weapon was and what it did in order to reverse the process, and to prevent the enemy from setting it off again.

How are you keeping yourself focused and on track for NaNoWriMo? What advice would you offer to someone else who wanted to attempt it?

What’s different this year about Nanowrimo is that I’m now a full-time writer with all my kids in school during the daytime. I’ve given myself permission not to hit my word count on the days where I need to do that “literary pause” thing. What I’m doing now is making sure I enter at least some words every day, but on days when I need to relax, I’ll do only a couple hundred. On other days, though, I’ll go to 2500 or 3000 in order to give myself the cushion so I can take those days off when I need them. So far, it’s working. I couldn’t have done this before when I had children on top of me all day long, so that just goes to show that writing has seasons and sometimes we need to lower our expectations based on our life duties.

If you want to do NaNoWriMo, I think you need to know what your own limits are and figure out in advance how to work around them. Build them into your actual writing plan as needs rather than blithely hoping everything will just line up. Budget for your own weaknesses, whatever they are. If you’ve never written a book before, and you don’t know what your writing weaknesses might be, then just focus on putting words down. They don’t have to be good: they just have to be written. You can clean up that draft afterward.

If our readers wanted to follow you and your work, what would be the best way to do that?

I’ve got a neglected website at, but my books are available at I’m on twitter at and on Facebook at

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Be gentle on yourself and remember that NaNoWriMo is an arbitrary goal. There’s nothing magical about 50K in 30 days. If you have to slow down or back off in order to protect your story, remember that your story is more valuable than hitting a goal that doesn’t matter anyhow. Give yourself permission to fail, keeping in mind that 30,000 words or 20,000 words is hardly a failure. It’s a great start, and you just need to find your own ideal pace to finish your novel.