20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a classic science fiction novel by French writer Jules Verne published in 1870.

The novel was originally serialized from March 1869 through June 1870 in Pierre-Jules Hetzel's periodical, the Magasin d'Éducation et de Récréation. The deluxe illustrated edition, published by Hetzel in November 1871, included 111 illustrations by Alphonse de Neuville and Édouard Riou. The book was highly acclaimed when released and still is now; it is regarded as one of the premiere adventure novels and one of Verne's greatest works, along with Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Center of the Earth. The description of Nemo's ship, called the Nautilus, was considered ahead of its time, as it accurately describes features on submarines, which at the time were very primitive vessels.

Jules Verne's wrote a sequel to this book: L'Île mystérieuse (The Mysterious Island, 1874), which concludes the stories begun by Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and In Search of the Castaways. While The Mysterious Island seems to give more information about Nemo (or Prince Dakkar), it is muddied by the presence of several irreconcilable chronological contradictions between the two books and even within The Mysterious Island.

Verne returned to the theme of an outlaw submarine captain in his much later Facing the Flag. That book's main villain, Ker Karraje, is a completely unscrupulous pirate acting purely and simply for gain, completely devoid of all the saving graces which gave Nemo--for all that he, too, was capable of ruthless killings--some nobility of character.

Like Nemo, Ker Karraje plays "host" to unwilling French guests--but unlike Nemo, who manages to elude all pursuers, Karraje's career of outlawry is decisively ended by the combination of an international task force and the rebellion of his French captives. Though also widely published and translated, it never attained the lasting popularity of Twenty Thousand Leagues.

More similar to the original Nemo, though with a less finely worked-out character, is Robur in Robur the Conqueror--a dark and flamboyant outlaw rebel using an aircraft instead of a submarine--later used as a basis for the movie Master of the World.

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