He heard the slap of waves against barnacle-encrusted wood and the rush of the ship's keel through choppy seas. Around the vessel smaller hollow casings floated, logboats dropped like calves....
--Michael D. Winkle, "Leviathan".
One-hundred-and-fifty years after the publication of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Pole-to-Pole publishing has produced this collection of sixteen stories riffing on the world of Captain Nemo, the Nautilus, and the year 1866, which was marked by a remarkable incident, a mysterious and puzzling phenomenon, which doubtless no one has yet forgotten.
The anthology contains a diverse range of stories. Michael D. Winkle's "Leviathan" looks at the Nautilus and humanity from the perspective of a Moby-sized whale. Eric Choi's "Raise the Nautilus" examines the historical implications of someone acquiring Nemo's weapons during the Great War. Nikoline Kaiser's "Last Year's Water" employs a premise that, in the hands of another writer, might have produced predictable results. She gives us something else. "The Silent Agenda" take an amusing look at the influences affecting the first English translation of the novel, which significantly affected the English-language public's perception of Verne's work. "A Strange Depth" brings us the obligatory Verne/Lovecraft crossover.
Other stories are fairly straightforward accounts of some previously unexplored or side aspect of the source material. The premise works well once or twice. Gudgel's "Recruiter", for example, proves a page-turner. I found too many of these stories for my taste, however. The audience, the diehard fans of the novel, may have a different response.
As in most anthologies, if one story does not appeal to you, the next one probably will. If you like Jules Verne or fancy steampunk, you will enjoy 20,000 Leagues Remembered.
Editors: Stephen R. Southard and Kelly A. Harmond
Authors: Mike Adamson, Alfred D. Byrd, Demetri Capetanopoulos, J. Woolston Carr, Maya Chhabra, Eric Choi, Corrie Garrett, Andrew Gudgel, Nikoline Kaiser, James J.C. Kelly, M.W. Kelly, Jason J. McCuiston, Gregory L. Norris, Allison Tebo, Stephen R. Wilk, Michael D. Winkle
First published in July, 2020