Jules Verne wrote this book in 1870. It has startling technological references (even in the concept of the submarine) but even more stunning was the Nuclear Reactor on board.
I feel that some episodes of Star Trek (the original series) are models on Jules Verne, because behind the backdrop of the technology and adventure, there exists the social evils of slavery, colonialism and nihilism as well as genocide.
The story is about Captain Nemo who is epic, driven and something good that is so strongly polar he is actually lead into a path of destruction - and his crew. The story is told through the eyes of Professor Aronnax. The usage of an observant intellectual to explain the dark pathos of a main character was rather popular in that era (think Watson and Holmes).
In this instance it is important because Nemo destroys a vessel with all hands and then bows before a picture of his wife and children. The implication is that his family where kidnapped (or killed) as slaves.
At anyrate, if you love steampunk culture, Star Trek social complexity, and classical literature you will love 20000 Leagues Under the Sea.