By: Jules Verne (1828-1905)
This is the account of the perilous mission of Michael Strogoff, courier for Czar Alexander II, who is sent from Moscow to the besieged city of Irkutsk, where the governor, brother of the Czar, has taken his last stand against a Tartar rebellion led by the fearsome Feofar-Khan. When telegraph lines are cut between the Russian Far East and the mainland, Strogoff must make his way through hostile territory to warn the governor of the return of the traitor Ivan Ogareff, a disgraced former officer who seeks vengeance against the Tsar’s family by the destruction of Irkutsk.
The Blockade Runners
Writing at the end of the American Civil War, Verne weaves this story of a Scottish merchant who, in desperation at the interruption of the flow of Southern cotton due to the Union blockade, determines to build his own fast ship and run guns to the Confederates in exchange for the cotton piling up unsold on their wharves. His simple plan becomes complicated by two passengers who board his new ship under false pretenses in order to carry out a rescue mission, one which Capt. Playfair adopts as his own cause. This is going make the Rebels in Charleston rather unhappy with him.Sure, his new ship is fast - but can it escape the cannonballs of both North and South?
Off on a Comet
The story starts with a comet that touches the Earth in its flight and collects a few small chunks of it. Some forty people of various nations and ages are condemned to a two-year-long journey on the comet. They form a mini-society and cope with the hostile environment of the comet (mostly the cold). The size of the 'comet' is about 2300 kilometers in diameter - far larger than any comet or asteroid that actually exists.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The story involves a German professor (Otto Lidenbrock in the original French, Professor Von Hardwigg in the most common English translation) who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward the center of the Earth. He, his nephew Axel (Harry), and their guide Hans encounter many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy.
The Underground City or The Child of the Cavern
Covering a time span of over ten years, this novel follows the fortunes of the mining community of Aberfoyle near Stirling, Scotland. Receiving a letter from an old colleague, mining engineer James Starr sets off for the old Aberfoyle mine, thought to have been mined out ten years earlier. Starr finds mine overman Simon Ford and his family living in a cottage deep inside the mine; he is astonished to find that Ford has made a discovery of the presence of a large vein of coal. Accompanying Simon Ford are his wife, Madge, and adult son, Harry.
Doctor Ox's Experiment
An early, light-hearted short story, published in 1872 by Jules Verne. It takes place in the Flemish town of Quiquendone, where life moves at an extraordinarily tranquil pace. Doctor Ox has offered to light the town with a new gas, but actually has other plans in place.
Facing the Flag
Like The Begum's Millions, which Verne published in 1879, it has the theme of France and the entire world threatened by a super-weapon (what would now be called a weapon of mass destruction) with the threat finally overcome through the force of French patriotism.
Topsy Turvy is a translation of Sans dessus dessous (1889) . This anonymous translation was first published by J. G. Ogilvie (New York, 1890). We meet our old friends Barbicane and J.T. Maston from “Earth to the Moon” who now give us their own approach to the topic of “global warming”. Although they are searching for coal and not oil, readers will find that the auction of the Arctic energy reserves has a definite 21st century ring.
Adventures of Captain Hatteras, Part 2: The Field of Ice
The novel, set in 1861, describes adventures of British expedition led by Captain John Hatteras to the North Pole. Hatteras is convinced that the sea around the pole is not frozen and his obsession is to reach the place no matter what. Mutiny by the crew results in destruction of their ship but Hatteras, with a few men, continues on the expedition. ( Wikipedia)
By: Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Kidnapped is the story of a 16-year old young man who is searching for his true birthright and is determined to make a fortune after the death of his parents. This timeless tale by Robert Louis Stevenson follows the life of David Balfour who leaves his home in Scotland after the death of his parents. First he meets his uncle for the first time in his life. His uncle is a very mean person who, at first, tried to kill David by devious means but then got him kidnapped onto a slave ship. In the ship, David makes friends with a Scottish rebel and together they successfully defeat the ship’s crew...
The Black Arrow; a Tale of Two Roses
The Black Arrow tells the story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the Wars of the Roses: how he becomes a knight, rescues his lady Joanna Sedley, and obtains justice for the murder of his father, Sir Harry Shelton. Outlaws in Tunstall Forest organized by Ellis Duckworth, whose weapon and calling card is a black arrow, cause Dick to suspect that his guardian Sir Daniel Brackley and his retainers are responsible for his father’s murder. Dick’s suspicions are enough to turn Sir Daniel against him, so he has no recourse but to escape from Sir Daniel and join the outlaws of the Black Arrow against him...
By: L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)
Published in 1912, the fantasy novel focuses on the exciting adventures of Trot, Cap’n Bill and Button Bright, as they are accidentally transported to a mysterious island in the sky, where they encounter its eccentric residents, an unscrupulous ruler, and a strange set of laws. The story sets into motion when Trot, a little girl from the southern coast of California, and Cap’n Bill meet a peculiar young boy carrying a large umbrella. Introduced as Button Bright, the young boy reveals that...
The Enchanted Island of Yew
A fairy has become bored with her life, and convinces some young girls to transform her into a human boy so she can go on adventures. The adventures come fast and furious, as the newly-named Prince Marvel explores the surrounding kingdoms. A masochistic squire accompanies Marvel, helping him with assorted kings, knights, dragons, and other medieval menaces along the way.
American Fairy Tales
This collection of fantasy stories was originally serialized in regional newspapers, prior to being published as a complete volume. The stories, as critics have noted, lack the high-fantasy aspect of the best of Baum’s work, in Oz or out. With ironic or nonsensical morals attached to their ends, their tone is more satirical, glib, and tongue-in-cheek than is usual in children’s stories; the serialization in newspapers for adult readers was appropriate for the materials. (Introduction by Wikipedia and Matthew Reece)
Glinda of Oz
Glinda of Oz is the fourteenth Land of Oz book and is the last one written by the original author L. Frank Baum, although the series was continued after his death by several other authors. Dorothy and Ozma discover that a war is brewing in a distant and unexplored part of Oz, between two mysterious races, the Flatheads and the Skeezers. The girls set out to try to prevent the fighting, not knowing what dangers await them.
By: H. G. Wells (1866-1946)
The Island of Dr. Moreau
One of the first instances of science fiction, Wells’ classic tale published in 1986 examines various controversial philosophical issues active at the time of its publication, most notable being the implications of vivisection and degeneration. Narrated by its everyman protagonist Edward Prendick, the novel follows the events of his stay at a mysterious island, home to ghastly secrets, horrors, and incomprehensible experiences. Furthermore, the novel features innovative themes which have become iconic in the modern science fiction genre, including moral and ethical responsibility, evolution, and man’s interference with the course of nature...
The First Men in the Moon
Written nearly seven decades before Neil Armstrong's historic “Giant leap for Mankind” this book by one of the most influential sci-fi writers in English is an interesting read. The First Men in the Moon by Herbert George Wells, the English author who is today called the Father of Science Fiction, describes a strange and fantastic voyage. Businessman and budding playwright, John Bedford takes a sabbatical from his work and decides to write a play. He moves to a lonely cottage in Kent where he hopes to come up with a theatrical masterpiece...
The Sleeper Awakes
Originally serialized from 1898 to 1903, Wells later made some crucial changes to the piece to create a flawless dystopian science fiction novel published in 1910 and renamed The Sleeper Awakes. The novel focuses on an Englishman, who falls in a deep sleep lasting two centuries, and sees him wake up in an unrecognizable setting and extremely wealthy. An enthralling tale of dystopian society depicted through a colorful imagination, The Sleeper Awakes concentrates on topics including dystopia, political power, religion, plutocracy, and individual and social awakening...
By: Jack London (1876-1916)
The Sea Wolf
A maritime classic acclaimed for its exciting adventure, The Sea Wolf offers a thrilling tale of life at sea, while exploring the many difficulties that may erupt on board a ship captained by a brutally hedonistic and controlling individual. Additionally, the psychological adventure novel covers several themes including mutiny, existentialism, individualism, brutality, and the intrinsic will to survive. The novel sets into motion when its protagonist, the soft and cultivated scholar Humphrey van Weyden, is witness to a precarious collision between his ferry and another ship...
The Mutiny of the Elsinore
This is the story of a voyage of a sailing ship from Baltimore to Seattle, east-to-west around Cape Horn in the winter. It is set in 1913 and the glory days of “wooden ships and iron men” are long over. The Elsinore is a four-masted iron sailing vessel carrying a cargo of 5000 tons of coal. She has a “bughouse” crew of misfits and incompetents. This book was published in 1915 and some actions of some of the characters seem odd to us today. There is romance, but it is strangely platonic. Two important characters disappear with no real explanation...
The Jacket (or Star Rover)
This book by Jack London was published under the name of "The Jacket" in the UK and "The Star Rover" in the US. A framing story is told in the first person by Darrell Standing, a university professor serving life imprisonment in San Quentin State Prison for murder. Prison officials try to break his spirit by means of a torture device called "the jacket," a canvas jacket which can be tightly laced so as to compress the whole body, inducing angina. Standing discovers how to withstand the torture by entering a kind of trance state, in which he walks among the stars and experiences portions of past lives...
Burning Daylight, Jack London's fictional novel published in 1910, was one of the best selling books of that year and it was his best selling book in his lifetime. The novel takes place in the Yukon Territory in 1893. The main character, nicknamed Burning Daylight was the most successful entrepreneur of the Alaskan Gold Rush. The story of the main character was partially based upon the life of Oakland entrepreneur "Borax" Smith. (Wikipedia)
When God Laughs, and Other Stories
This collection of Jack London's short stories touches on a variety of topics, from his love of boxing, to relationships between criminals, to the trials of life and travel on many frontiers, to an allegory about a king who desired a nose. London is considered a master of the short story, a form much more to his liking and personality than his novels. He was active and quick of mind and the short story suited him well.
Stories of Ships and the Sea
5 Exciting short stories by one of Americas best story tellers
Daughter of the Snows
In Jack London's first novel, he tells the story of Frona Welse, a strong and interesting heroine, "a Stanford graduate and physical Valkyrie," who heads to the Yukon gold fields after creating a stir in her hometown by being strong and forthright and by befriending the town's prostitute. In the course of her adventures, she finds herself at the distaff point of a love triangle. This novel contains very overt racial and gender stereotypes and as such reflects the attitudes growing in society at the time it was written. It is the practice at Librivox to record works as they stand, without judgment.
Dutch Courage and Other Stories
Jack London was quoted as saying, "I've never written a line that I'd be ashamed for my young daughters to read, and I never shall write such a line!" After his death in 1916, his wife Charmian assembled a collection of stories, most of which he had written for young readers, but at least one of which was for more mature readers, "Whose Business is to Live." Like most of London's work, his short stories could be read by young readers and then again when they were older with mature minds. These stories draw from London's own extensive experience in the world and demonstrate the dictum that "good writing is good writing" no matter for whom it was written.
Tales of the Fish Patrol
Wildest among the fisher-folk may be accounted the Chinese shrimp-catchers. It is the habit of the shrimp to crawl along the bottom in vast armies till it reaches fresh water, when it turns about and crawls back again to the salt. And where the tide ebbs and flows, the Chinese sink great bag-nets to the bottom, with gaping mouths, into which the shrimp crawls and from which it is transferred to the boiling-pot. This in itself would not be bad, were it not for the small mesh of the nets, so small that the tiniest fishes, little new-hatched things not a quarter of an inch long, cannot pass through...
By: Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)
Tarzan of the Apes
An aristocratic English family is marooned off the coast of West Africa. They find their way into the interior of the dense jungle that lines the coast and here, Lord Greystoke is killed by a predatory ape. Lady Greystoke survives with her infant boy, but in a few months, she too succumbs to the perils of jungle life. The baby is adopted by a maternal she-ape who nurses him along with her own child. This marks the dawn of a legend – Tarzan of the Apes. Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American novelist who turned to fiction writing after an unsuccessful stint as a pencil sharpener salesman...
The Gods of Mars
Burroughs’ second book in the classic Barsoom series, The Gods of Mars is a scientific fiction novel following the adventures of John Carter as he returns to Mars after a ten year hiatus in the hope of being reunited with his wife, child and the Red Martian people. First published as a five-part serial in a pulp magazine in the course of 1913, the novel was later published as a whole in 1918. A tale of audacity, honor, optimism, and perseverance, Burroughs successfully builds on to the previous book allowing a broader view of the Red Planet...
Warlord of Mars
Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was first published in 1913. It was the third book in an eleven part series known as the Barsoom Chronicles which relate to a sequence of exciting adventure tales set on the fictional planet of Barsoom. In the Barsoom series, Mars, assumed to be older than Earth, is a dying planet. “Barsoom” is the native word for Mars in the Martian language. The stories first appeared in serialized form in various magazines like All-Story, Argosy, Amazing Stories and The Blue Book...
The Land that Time Forgot
Off the coast of Greenland, a man finds a floating thermos bottle. Wedged tightly inside is a sheaf of papers covered with minute handwriting. As he begins to read, a fantastic tale begins to unwind. The writer, on his way to a WWI battlefield was shipwrecked and his entire regiment except for a woman and his faithful dog are killed. The three are rescued by a passing British tug, but fall prey to the schemes of a German spy aboard. They are then captured by the crew of a German U-boat. After many near mishaps, they sail towards Greenland...
At the Earth's Core
This is the first book in the Pellucidar series. Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth milieu invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. The stories initially involve the adventures of mining heir David Innes and his inventor friend Abner Perry after they use an “iron mole” to burrow 500 miles into the earth’s crust. (adapted from Wikipedia)