French Novelist, playwright and poet, Jules Verne is one of the most well-known and celebrated 19th century authors of the science-fiction genre. His first great journey book, Five Weeks in a Balloon, was published in 1862 and became an instant bestseller across the globe. Around the World in Eighty Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, are a few more popular novels that followed. His work has since influenced the field of science and technology, and many of his books have been adapted for film.
This list of 10 free Jules Verne audio books are available in French or English, so Francophones and Anglophones alike can appreciate some of the best science-fiction adventures to come out of France. They are sure to spark your wanderlust and leave you ready to circumnavigate the globe in search of adventure!
Verne’s most famous book tells the story of Phileas Fogg, an Englishman who plans to go around the world in Eighty days with £20,000. Accompanied along the way by his French valet, Jean Passepartout, the pair pass through India, China and the States. The evolution of transportation during the 19th century made this book possible, with scientific developments and the emergence of new modes of travel. The opening of the Suez canal at the time reduced the time needed to complete the round trip.
This Verne adventure tells of the Hudson Bay’s Fur Company and an arctic expedition. The group of fur trappers end up stranded and have to battle the elements as they struggle to establish a new post. A book of two distinct parts, from the group’s long journey to their survival in uninhabited surroundings.
Dr. Samuel Fergusson sets out in his Hydrogen balloon to explore the still largely undiscovered African continent. Along with his servant, Joe, and hunter friend Dick Kennedy, they have a number of adventures including finding the source of the Nile. Written at a time when Africa was widely unknown to Europeans, this novel highlights the excitement around uncovered hidden secrets in the world.
Tobacco dealer Keraban is in Istanbul and does not want to pay tax for shipping to the other side of the Bosporus strait, where his home is. In his rage, he decides to walk all the way round the Black Sea with a dutch businessman man, Jan, and his employee, Bruno. A great read, especially for those who know or have an interest in the Black Sea
French version (Kéraban-le-Têtu)
Otto Lidenbrock, a German professor, travels through a volcanic tube on his quest to reach the center of the earth. Accompanied by his nephew Alex and their guide Hans, the trio head down an Icelandic volcano. This subterranean adventure contains encounters that keep the reader engrossed until end.
This story is told in he first person by Pierre Arronax. He is a biologist who is taken prisoner by Captain Nemo aboard the submarine Nautilus. This captivating adventure takes the reader on a journey around the depths of the ocean. To keep his work a secret, the Captain can never let his crew leave. They encounter real corals in the Red Sea, giant squids and the men also go hunting sharks.
To appreciate happiness does one need to experience discomfort? In this adventure, the rather wealthy Kin-Fo is unhappy with life and decides he wants to die. His friend Wang accuses him of having no discomfort in his life to truly appreciate happiness. Not one of Verne’s most popular books but a very humorous read nonetheless.
This castaway tale tells of five unionist who escape the siege of Richmond and steal a balloon to avoid capture. However, they are caught up in a hurricane and get blown off course, crashing on a mysterious island. They must pull together to rebuild their lives and overcome the challenges of their new environment.
A lesser-known book by Verne is the prequel to Mysterious Island, Captain Grant’s Children. The story surrounds a mysterious message in a bottle from the marooned Captain Grant. After discovering the message, Lord and Lady Glenarvan launch an expedition. Together with Grant’s children, Mary and Robert, they set sail on their yacht in search of the shipwrecked Captain.
The Blockade Runners (Short Story)
This short story starts in Glasgow, Scotland, where secrecy surrounds the launch of a new ship, The Dolphin, which can reach amazing speeds. The cargo and destination are all a mystery, which draws huge crowds and speculation. Once on it’s way, Captain James Playfair encounters things that make the voyage more dangerous than anyone could have imagined.
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