Indie, Loved-it, Nerdy and proud, Non-fiction, Scifi, Trivia

What If Jules Verne’s Nautilus Was Actually Built? Well, Someone Looked Into This The Design and Construction of the Nautilus by Demetri Capetanopoulos, ★★★★✬ 4.5 stars

It’s hard to even start reviewing The Design and Construction of the Nautilus, because its so unique and just so stunning. Have you ever wondered what would happen if the machines from your favorite scifi could be brought to life, at least in the form of blueprints and calculations? Of course, some of those might be well off limits – we’re obviously not going to be able to draw up viable blueprints for the Stargate or a hyperdrive-capable space ship, because obviously, that’s not quite what our science permits (yet..?)

But what if it were something more feasible? For example, what if we could build Jules Verne’s Nautilus? How many levels of epic would that be?

I say, very many. And this is why it’s hard to review this book – as I’m sure it’s the only one of its kind. It’s so unique I’m pretty sure no one has ever thought of anything similar (and if you know someone who has, please let me know in the comments!)

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus by Demetri Capetanopoulos

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★★★★✬ 4.5 stars

What if The Nautilus had actually been built in the days it was written into? Would it have been possible? If so, how? What technologies could have been used? Would they have been sustainable, achievable? Would it be able to go as fast as Jules Verne wrote it to be able to? And would it have been able to house all the artwork, technology and accomodate all the crew? What would it all look like? These are just a couple of questions that are answered in The Design and Construction of the Nautilus by Demetri Capetanopoulos, along with a lot of blueprints, charts and tables to accompany the information. It’s certainly a Jules Verne geek’s dream, if not the dream of almost any scifi fan, especially if they have a background in engineering.

It’s A Truly Unique, Very Detailed Book

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus is definitely a very unique book that will appeal to fans of Jules Verne, and especially so if they are also engineers. The book is full of high quality illustrations and blueprints of possible design solutions available at the time when the book was written, and these solutions can be very creative and are almost always compared with either existing designs of the time, or current designs, especially taking the care to explain why such a design works better, or why the previous design solution would have been abandoned or ineffective. More than that, the original Jules Verne text is quoted quite a lot and comparisons are made, ascertaining that the suggested designs fit into what’s described in the original story. You can find all sorts of interesting facts – for example, stuff like that the Nautilus would have had quadruple the amount of accomodation space than the present day submarines (and it’s no wonder, considering the amount of people Captain Nemo always seemed to have on hand!), or that the shape of Nautilus isn’t the shape adopted by most designs these days (we don’t many have pointy-ended submarines), and it is explained why it is this way. All of these facts really make you marvel!

comparison of the Nautilus to current typical vessels

A table that compares the weight and space for payload, structures, machinery, accomodation, stores and ballast in typical ships and the Nautilus

Truly, The Design and Construction of the Nautilus is a love song to Jules Verne’s masterpiece, and I’m sure he would be overjoyed to know that someone has taken so much effort after such a long time of Jules Verne’s book being out in the world to give Nautilus’s designs a chance to be reborn in the 21st century.

A blueprint of the various levels of the Nautilus

A two-page spread with blueprints of the nautilus levels, along with all the machinery and even furnishings displayed as they were in the story

I have to say though, The Design and Construction of The Nautilus is obviously a very hobbyist book. I will admit I couldn’t always follow all the explanations and facts, because my knowledge of submarines is basically non-existent. And what’s more, it’s been years since I did physics in university, so I’ve forgotten a lot of basic mechanics as well. However, it didn’t affect my reading experience, as the book is full of interesting pictures, blueprints and schematics,and it isn’t written in a dry manner either.

So what else can you expect to find in The Design and Construction of the Nautilus?

This is definitely not an exhaustive list, but it has most of the things I thought were worthy of note and truly interesting:

  • the materials it may have been built of, including the hull, the view ports, even the paint coating of the ship itself
  • the history of similar ships that started out at similar times
  • which living person (or persons) might have inspired the character of Captain Nemo
  • what the Nautilus might have cost and how it may have been assembled, where it could have been built
  • comparisons of its core parameters with such vessels of today
  • the various Nautilus instruments
  • what power sources might have been used
  • the inner layout of the rooms and technical odds and ends, layouts of the compartments (“floors”)
  • even the artwork list on the walls of Nautilus!
  • …and many more things

the artwork of the Nautilus

A two-page spread layout of all the artwork in Nautilus, illustrated


The Design and Construction of the Nautilus has to be one of the most extensive sources of any sort of fanmade scifi lore that I have ever seen! It is truly breathtaking to see that the author poured so much love into this book. I am in awe of this work, and I have never seen anything of the like in any fandom, but I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to hold this book in my hands. It is truly special!

I thank the publisher for sending me a hardcover copy for free in exchange to my honest review. This has not affected my opinion.

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus is a love song to Jules Verne's masterpiece, and he would surely be overjoyed to know that someone has taken so much effort to bring the Nautilus to life. Click To Tweet

Have you ever read any published fanmade lore for any book or series you’ve ever loved? Or any other books that bring fiction to life like The Design and Construction of the Nautilus?