Our list of the Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time continues this week with a novel that helped usher in the age of science fiction. Before we get to this week’s entry, let’s take a look back at our list so far.
The Greatest Science Fiction Novels of All Time
- Rendezvous on Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1974, Nebula 1973, Locus 1974, Campbell 1974, British Science Fiction Association 1973, Jupiter 1974, Seiun 1980)
- Gateway by Frederik Pohl (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1978, Nebula 1977, Locus 1978, Campbell 1978)
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1975, Nebula 1975, Locus 1975, Jupiter 1975; Nominations: Campbell 1975)
- Dune by Frank Herbert (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1966, Nebula 1966; Nominations: Hugo 1964 for Dune World)
- Neuromancer by William Gibson (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1985, Nebula 1985, Philip K. Dick 1984; Nominations: Campbell 1985, British Science Fiction 1984)
- Startide Rising by David Brin (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1984, Nebula 1984, Locus 1984)
- Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 2014, Nebula 2014, British Science Fiction 2013, Arthur C. Clarke 2014; Best First Novel Awards: Locus 2014, Kitschies Golden Tentacle 2013; Nominations: Philip K. Dick 2013, James Tiptree, Jr. 2013, Compton Crook 2014, Campbell 2014)
- The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (Best Novel Awards: Hugo 1976, Nebula 1975, Locus 1976)
- Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
Title: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Author: Jules Verne
First Year Published: 1870
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne is one of the most iconic of all science fiction novels. It represents a blend of speculative science and adventure while commenting on society and the human condition. Most importantly, the novel sparked the imaginations of countless fans and authors and expanded the horizon of science fiction.
Verne’s novel was inspired by a combination of the epic poem The Odyssey by Homer, Victor Hugo’s The Toilers of the Sea, famous explorers, and scientific breakthroughs of his day.
The 1800s were an age of discovery for humanity. Many mysteries still lay within the boundaries of Earth. The oceans and its hidden secrets stirred imagination much as grand expanses beyond Earth inspire so many today.
Many of the heroes, when Verne wrote his novel, were famous explorers. Men and women seeking out the final frontiers Earth still had to offer.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea adapted the invention of the submarine into an amazing adventure. He even named his submarine the Nautilus after one of the earliest submarines.
While Jules Verne wrote his novel in the days before science fiction was science fiction, it still remains one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time. Evidence of its greatness cannot be found in the awards it won, but rather through its impact on so many.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea has been adapted into countless movies, books, musicals, plays, games, comics, and amusement park rides. The character Captain Nemo has inspired many other Nemos.
Many scientists and explorers point to Verne’s novel as their source of inspiration. Simon Lake claims to have been inspired to design submarines by the novel. William Beebe, Sir Earnest Shackleton, Robert Ballard, Edwin Hubble, and Jacques Cousteau all credit Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea as a significant influence on their life’s work.
Many author’s point to the novel as helping to spark their imagination, including Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
Jules Verne inspired generations of scientists, authors, and fans. Many of humanities greatest inventions came from minds that were first sparked by Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The novel’s impact on society may never be truly measured.
Jules Verne was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 1999. His status as one of the greats came from perhaps his most famous novel. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time.