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September, 2008 : Sub-Genre Spotlight:

Hollow Earth Fiction

Journeys to the Center

The theory of a world within our world doubtless dates back to our earliest upright ancestors, extrapolating from the existence of caves and volcanoes. The latter's burning lava, suffocating pyroclastic flows, stinking sulfurous vents, and frequently deadly explosions suggested that this underworld was not so pleasant; unsurprisingly, it became the postmortem punishment place of several religions, including the Christian Hell, the Jewish Sheol, and the Greek/Roman Hades.

While "Plato is considered as the first theorist about [the] hollow earth" (Wikipedia), the modern conception of a secular hollow earth—the kind we are concerned with in this article&mdashoriginated with the English astronomer Edmund Halley (1656-1742), who is better known today for Halley's Comet. Attempting to explain compass readings and the aurora borealis, Halley proposed that the earth consisted of a series of progressively smaller, hollow, concentric shells (making earth a sort of enormous Russian nested doll), and further hypothesized that these rotating shells would have their own atmospheres and magnetic poles.

The earliest secular hollow earth (HE) fiction was, apparently, Relation d'un voyage du pole arctique au pole antarctique par le center (sic) du monde (1721 France) by Anonymous, in which a northern vortex sucks a ship into the earth, from which it eventually emerges at the other pole. Lamekis, ou les voyages extraordinaires d'un egyptien dans la terre interieure avec la de'couverte de le isle des Silphides (1734 France) by Charles de Fieux, Chevalier de Mouhy features "a roomy subterranean world beneath Egypt" (Hollow Earth, 2006). Another early example is A Voyage to the World in the Centre of the Earth (1755 UK) by Anonymous.

The first important fictional work to extrapolate from Halley's concept was Ludvig Holberg's novel Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum (1741 in Latin; English translation, A Journey to the World Under-Ground By Nicolas Klimius, UK [1742]; variant titles, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, US [1960]; A Journey to the World Underground, US [1972]), in which a Norwegian spelunker finds a smaller planet, complete with firmament, inside the earth. Taking inspiration from Holberg's novel, Jacques Casanova's five-volume (and decidedly different) Icosameron (1788; translated as Casanova's Icosameron [1986], US) sends a pair of siblings to a subterranean utopia inhabited by a race of multi hued, hermaphroditic dwarves; incest ensues.

In the early Nineteenth Century, the American soldier John Cleves Symmes, Jr. proposed an expedition to the interior world, which he believed accessible via holes in the North and South Poles—hypothetical openings now known as Symmes's Holes. His hollow earth theories not only inspired the Nineteenth Century's great wave of HE novels and stories; they remain a direct or indirect influence on all subsequent HE fiction.

The most blatant example of a Symmes-influenced novel is the one which names its inner world after him: Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery (1820) by the pseudononymous "Captain Adam Seaborn." Some modern critics believe "Seaborn" is actually Symmes (particularly persuasive is David Standish in Hollow Earth [2006]). Others maintain that Symzonia is the work of either American author Nathaniel Ames or an unidentified writer, and is, either way, a satire of Symmes's HE theories. Symzonia is America's first HE novel and also, interestingly, America's earliest known utopian novel.

The most famous American author to find inspiration in Symmes's theory of polar openings is Edgar Allan Poe. However, his HE fiction—the novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) and the stories "MS. Found in a Bottle" (Baltimore Saturday Visiter [sic], 1833) and "A Descent into the Maelstrom" (Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine, 1841)—end before they actually get inside the earth.

Venturing within the earth, Willis George Emerson's novel The Smoky God, or, A Voyage to the Inner World (1908) finds an advanced civilization, complete with a city named Eden.

Perhaps in recognition of the unlikelihood of a hollow earth, an inordinate number of Nineteenth Century HE fictions are devoted to auctorial axe-grinding and hobbyhorse-riding.

M. Louise Moore and M. Beauchamp's Al-Modad; or Life Scenes Beyond the Polar Circumflex (1892) mixes "occultism, anarchism, and Fourierist socialism" (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1993). S. Byron Welcome's From Earth's Center: A Polar Gateway Message (1894) deals with taxes. Nequa; or, The Problem of the Ages (1900) by "Jack Adams" (Alcanoan O. Grigsby and Mary P. Lowe) has themes of altruism, sexual equality, and socialism. George W. Bell's Mr. Oseba's Last Discovery (1904 NZ) is a booster for New Zealand real estate. "My Bride From Another World: A Weird Romance Recounting Many Strange Adventures in an Unknown World" (1904 Physical Culture) by "Rev. E.C. Atkins" promotes vegetarianism, nudism, and getting back to nature. William R. Bradshaw's occult novel The Goddess of Atvatabar (1892) is a utopia. Pantaletta (1882 US) by "Mrs. J. Wood" (probably a man, and certainly an anti-feminist) is a dystopia. Satires include Faddei Bulgarin's "Improbable Tall-Tale, or Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1825) and James De Mille's novel A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (1888), which is apparently also the first Canadian SF novel.

Nowadays, the best-known of these titles is undoubtedly Mizora: A Prophecy (1890), a "feminist, socialist Utopia" (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1993) by "Vera Zarovitch" (Mary E. Bradley Lane).

Symmes's inspiration is not confined to North America, as demonstrated by Le voyage au centre de la terre (1821 France) by Jacques Collin de Plancy and Isaac Laque'dem (1852-53 France), which stars the Wandering Jew and is written by Alexandre Dumas (Three Musketeers)—alas, it has never been translated into English.

Other Symmes-sparked titles include Interior World: A Romance Illustrating a New Hypothesis of Terrestrial Organization &C (1885) by Washington L. Tower; Baron Trump's Marvellous Underground Journey (1893) by Ingersoll Lockwood; The Land of the Changing Sun (1894) by Will N. Harben; Swallowed by an Earthquake (1894) by Edward Douglas Fawcett; Under the World (1894 Golden Hours as "Into the Maelstrom"; 1906) by John DeMorgan; Forty Years with the Damned; or, Life Inside the Earth (1895) by Charles Aikin; The Third World: A Tale of Love & Strange Adventure (1895) by Henry Clay Fairman; Underground Man (1896; translated into English, with a preface by H.G. Wells, 1905 UK) by Gabriel de Tarde; The Last Lemurian: A Westralian Romance (1898) by G. Firth Scott; The Sovereign Guide (1898) by William Amos Miller; Through the Earth (1898) by Clement Fezandie; Through the Earth; or, Jack Nelson's Invention (1898) by Fred Thorpe; Under Pike's Peak; or Mahalma, Child of the Fire Father (1898) by Charles McKesson; Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit (1901) by Robert Ames Bennet; Intermere (1901-02) by William Alexander Taylor; The Daughter of the Dawn (1903) by William Reginald Hodder; The Land of Nison (1906) by "C. Regnus" (Charles Sanger); and Upsidonia (1915) by Archibald Marshall.

This list also includes John Uri Lloyd's Etidorhpa; or, The End of the Earth ("Aphrodite" spelled backwards; 1895; revised and enlarged, 1901), a trippily allegorical work described as "the weirdest hollow earth novel of all" in Standish's Hollow Earth (2006). It seems Lloyd's profession as a pharmacist may have exerted a certain influence over his novel.

Instead of messages, some post-Symmes HE fiction concerns itself with adventure. These titles include Under the Auroras, A Marvelous Tale of the Interior World (1888) by William J. Shaw; "In the World Below" (1897 Golden Hours) by Fred Thorpe; The Secret of the Earth (1899) by Charles Willing Beale; The Wolf-Men (1905 UK) by Frank Powell; Five Thousand Miles Underground, or The Mystery of the Centre of the Earth (1908) by "Roy Rockwood" (Howard Garis or Edward Stratemeyer); and "The Land of the Central Sun" (1902 or 1903 Argosy) by Park Winthrop.

Even L. Frank Baum got into the HE act, sending his popular character underground in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908).

Despite his long shadow over the hollow earth, Symmes probably isn't a huge influence on Frank R. Stockton's The Great Stone of Sardis (1898), in which an "automatic shell" (drilling machine) finds a diamond, eight thousand miles in diameter, at the center of the earth.

The best-known HE fiction is Jules Verne's Voyage au centre de la terre (1863; expanded, 1867; A Journey to the Center of the Earth [1872], UK). However, some critics do not view this novel as a HE work! This is because it doesn't take place at the titular center of the earth; instead, it is set in an extremely deep and extensive cave system. In "The Conquest of the Moon Pool" (1919) by A. Merritt, Lemurians inhabit "a huge cavern world beneath Micronesia" (The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, 1997). Other examples of "partially hollow earth" fiction include Robert Paltock's The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins (1751); Sir Edward ("It was a dark and stormy night") Bulwer-Lytton's influential utopia The Coming Race (1871; variant title, Vril: The Power of the Coming Race [1972], US); Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson); and the graphic novel The World Below (2007) by Paul Chadwick, creator of Concrete, and Ron Randall.

The most famous "fully hollow earth" is Pellucidar, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Combining Stockton's drilling machine, Verne's underground dinosaurs, Symmes's theories, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World with his own vigorous imagination, Burroughs placed a profusion of prehistoric beasts and intelligent races on Earth's interior surface, which reversed the continents and seas of the outer surface and was lit by a small sun with its own tiny planet (which, unfortunately, Burroughs never explored). The Pellucidar series launched with At the Earth's Core (1914 All-Story; 1922) and expanded to several volumes, including cross-over novel Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929-30 Blue Book; 1930). Not content with all this, Burroughs created another hollow world, inside Luna, in The Moon Maid (1923-25 Argosy All-Story Weekly; 1962).

Burroughs stirred up a new wave of HE fiction, and some of these works did not confine their Burroughsian borrowing to Pellucidar. Otis Adelbert Kline's Tarzan-ish Tam, Son of the Tiger (1931; book edition, 1962) "discovers a lost underground world beneath Burma, and fights Thark-like monsters there" (Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure, 1968 edition). Tarzan-like pulp-fiction hero Morgo the Mighty has adventures in a subterranean world full of dinosaurs and troglodytes (alas, the titles featuring this character remain uncovered by my researches). Morgyn the Mighty (a British comic-book character remarkably resembling Morgo) also has underground adventures (Morgyn the Mighty: The Strongest Man in the World, From the Famous Boys' Paper "The Rover" [1951 UK]). Still another Tarzan knockoff, Jacare, visits a saurian-inhabited "subterranean lost world" (Pulpdom #45, Feb. 2006) in The Caves of Death (1951 UK) by Victor George Charles Norwood. And in Allan Gross's recursive retro-pulp hommage/parody, "Bride of the Beast Man" (1998 Titanic Tales), Zon the ape-man has adventures in the dinosaur-fraught inner world of Peldar.

Purely Pellucidarian Burroughs pastiches include Drome (1927 Weird Tales; 1952) by John Martin Leahy and The Inner World (1935 Amazing Stories) by A. Hyatt Verrill.

Stanton A. Coblenz alters the post-Burroughsian HE novel from adventure to satire with Hidden World (1935 as In Caverns Below in Wonder Stories; 1957).

John Beynon Harris (John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris), better known to modern readers under the pseudonym John Wyndham, also creates a world below, in The Secret People (The Passing Show 1935 UK; 1964 US).

It's not known whether Russian geologist Vladimir Afanasevich Obruchev drew inspiration from Burroughs, or Verne, or neither, but he created a hollow earth full of prehistoric beasts in his scientific novel Plutoniia (1924; as Plutonia, 1957 US).

You'll find less Burroughs than occult or New Age (or tabloid) in The Third Eye (1956) by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, which "mentions contact with advanced beings living in the center of the earth" (Wikipedia, and in Richard S. Shaver's infamous, paranoid, and purportedly factual "Shaver Mystery," which appeared in Amazing Stories in 1945-47 (per The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1993) or 1945-49 (per Wikipedia), and started with "I Remember Lemuria" (1945).

While much HE fiction is fantastic by modern standards, some works are more scientific. "A Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1925 Science and Invention) by Clement Fezandie and "Dreams of Earth and Sky" (1895; translated in The Call of the Cosmos, 1963) by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky consider the "gravitational peculiarities of a hollow earth" (The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1993). In The Hollow Earth (1990), Rudy Rucker gives the concept a hard-SF make-over; characters include Edgar Allan Poe!

Though shot dead several thousand times by modern science, the hollow earth remains a powerfully appealing idea, as this year's movie adaptation of Verne's A Journey to the Center of the Earth and any number of true-believer websites indicate. Modern HE fiction is uncommon (nowadays, SF writers usually sublimate this impulse into Dyson spheres). But, in addition to Rucker's novel, recent fiction titles including or alluding to a hollow earth are:

Howard Waldrop and Steven Utley's "Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole" (1977 New Dimensions 7), in which Frankenstein's monster enters a hollow earth;

Edward Packard's children's "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel The Underground Kingdom (1983);

Richard A. Lupoff's novel Circumpolar! (1984), in which famous aviators race from one polar opening to the other through earth's hollow center;

James P. Blaylock's The Digging Leviathan (1984), which never quite gets underground;

Umberto Eco's thriller Foucault's Pendulum (1988), which alludes to the possible hollow nature of the earth;

Max McCoy's tie-in novel Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth (1997), which features an advanced civilization;

David Herter's Evening's Empire (2002), which locates an ancient subterranean city under a coastal Oregon town;

Mick Farren's Underland (2002), which revisits the Nazis' fascination with the hollow earth;

Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl (2001) series, with its "population of fairies living inside the Earth" (Hollow Earth (Wikipedia also has a Hollow Moon entry);

The "Hollow Earth" entries in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1993) and The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) (but please note that the latter's entry is brief);

Subterranean Worlds: 100,000 Years of Dragons, Dwarfs, The Dead, Lost Races and UFOs from Inside the Earth (1989) by Walter Kafton-Minkel;

Hollow Earth: The Long and Curious History of Imagining Strange Lands, Fantastical Creatures, Advanced Civilizations, and Marvelous Machines Below the Earth's Surface (2006) by David Standish, a nonfiction overview of HE fiction, science, and pseudoscience that may well be the most enjoyable title in this article.

A warning: To varying degrees, the earlier titles (above and below) reflect the sexual, racial, and colonial attitudes of their era. Readers who cannot overlook the socio-cultural assumptions of earlier decades should probably avoid the older works.

Essential Novels and Stories

*In the following list of essential and other HE fiction, bylines marked by an asterick indicate an essential author. The full list includes both fully and partially hollow earths. The "Other" list includes a few works that don't quite enter the hollow earth. There isn't a "Recommended" list because many of the older titles appear to be unavailable to modern readers.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) by "Lewis Carroll" (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson). A girl falls down a rabbit hole into a strange world.

At the Earth's Core (1914 All-Story; 1922) et seq. by Edgar Rice Burroughs.* A mechanical mole gone awry delivers two Americans to a prehistoric world at the center of the earth.

"Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole" (1977 New Dimensions 7) by Howard Waldrop and Steven Utley. Frankenstein's creation travels into the earth's interior.

"Bride of the Beast Man" (1998 Titanic Tales) by Allan Gross. A man raised by apes falls in love with a time traveler at the earth's core.

The Coming Race (1871; variant title, Vril: The Power of the Coming Race [1972], US) by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The advanced humans within the earth plan to wipe out the inferior surface-dwellers.

Etidorhpa; or, The End of the Earth (1895; revised and enlarged, 1901). A gray-skinned eyeless humanoid conducts a surface-dweller on a pilgrimage through an exceedingly strange inner world.

The Goddess of Atvatabar (1892) by William R. Bradshaw. A mission to find the North Pole discovers, instead, an interior world.

The Hollow Earth (1990) by Rudy Rucker. Edgar Allan Poe discovers the hollow earth is a very strange place.

Mizora: A Prophecy (1890) by "Vera Zarovitch" (Mary E. Bradley Lane); also published as by Mary E. Bradley Lane. A race of technologically advanced superwomen inhabits the hollow earth. More recent editions appear under the byline Mary E. Bradley Lane.

Nicolai Klimii iter subterraneum (1741 in Latin; English translation, A Journey to the World Under-Ground By Nicolas Klimius, UK [1742]; variant titles, The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground, US [1960]; A Journey to the World Underground, US [1972]) by Ludvig Holberg. A Norwegian spelunker falls into the earth and encounters intelligent nonhumans.

Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery (1820) by "Captain Adam Seaborn" (identity disputed: author was either Nathaniel Ames, John Cleves Symmes, Jr., or an unknown writer). Explorers venture through a polar opening to find a new world. The first American HE novel and earliest known American utopian novel.

Voyage au centre de la terre (1863; expanded, 1867; A Journey to the Center of the Earth [1872], UK) by Jules Verne.* Entering a volcano, three men discover an immense cave system where dinosaurs survive.

Other Works

Against the Day (2006) by Thomas Pynchon.

Al-Modad; or Life Scenes Beyond the Polar Circumflex (1892) by M. Louise Moore and M. Beauchamp.

Artemis Fowl et seq. (2001) by Eoin Colfer.

The Caves of Death (1951 UK) by Victor George Charles Norwood.

Circumpolar! (1984) by Richard A. Lupoff.

"The Conquest of the Moon Pool" (1919) by A. Merritt.

The Daughter of the Dawn (1903) by William Reginald Hodder.

"A Descent into the Maelstrom" (1841 Graham's Lady's and Gentleman's Magazine) by Edgar Allan Poe.

The Digging Leviathan (1984) by James P. Blaylock.

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz (1908) by L. Frank Baum.

"Dreams of Earth and Sky" (1895; translated in The Call of the Cosmos, 1963) by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Drome (1927 Weird Tales; 1952) by John Martin Leahy.

Evening's Empire (2002) by David Herter.

Five Thousand Miles Underground, or The Mystery of the Centre of the Earth (1908) by "Roy Rockwood" (Howard Garis or Edward Stratemeyer).

Forty Years with the Damned; or, Life Inside the Earth (1895) by Charles Aikin.

Foucault's Pendulum (1988) by Umberto Eco.

From Earth's Center: A Polar Gateway Message (1894) by S. Byron Welcome.

The Great Stone of Sardis (1898) by Frank R. Stockton.

Hidden World (1935 as In Caverns Below in Wonder Stories; 1957) by Stanton A. Coblenz.

Icosameron (1788; English translation, Casanova's Icosameron [1986], US) by Jacques Casanova.

"Improbable Tall-Tale, or Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1825) by Faddei Bulgarin.

Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth (1997) by Max McCoy.

The Inner World (1935 Amazing Stories) by A. Hyatt Verrill.

Interior World: A Romance Illustrating a New Hypothesis of Terrestrial Organization &C (1885) by Washington L. Tower.

Intermere (1901-02) by William Alexander Taylor.

"In the World Below" (1897 Golden Hours) by Fred Thorpe.

"I Remember Lemuria" (1945) et seq. by Richard S. Shaver.

Isaac Laque'dem (1852-53 France) by Alexandre Dumas.

"A Journey to the Center of the Earth" (1925 Science and Invention) by Clement Fezandie.

Lamekis, ou les voyages extraordinaires d'un egyptien dans la terre interieure avec la de'couverte de le isle des Silphides (1734 France) by Charles de Fieux, Chevalier de Mouhy.

The Land of Nison (1906) by "C. Regnus" (Charles Sanger).

"The Land of the Central Sun" (1902 or 1903 Argosy) by Park Winthrop.

The Land of the Changing Sun (1894) by Will N. Harben.

The Last Lemurian: A Westralian Romance (1898) by G. Firth Scott.

The Life and Adventures of Peter Wilkins (1751) by Robert Paltock.

"MS. Found in a Bottle" (1833 Baltimore Saturday Visiter [sic]) by Edgar Allan Poe.

Mr. Oseba's Last Discovery (1904 NZ) by George W. Bell.

Morgyn the Mighty: The Strongest Man in the World, From the Famous Boys' Paper "The Rover" (1951 UK) by Unknown (graphic novel).

"My Bride From Another World: A Weird Romance Recounting Many Strange Adventures in an Unknown World" (1904 Physical Culture) by "Rev. E.C. Atkins."

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838) by Edgar Allan Poe.

Nequa; or, The Problem of the Ages (1900) by "Jack Adams" (Alcanoan O. Grigsby and Mary P. Lowe).

Pantaletta (1882 US) by "Mrs. J. Wood."

Plutoniia (1924; as Plutonia, 1957 US) by Vladimir Afanasevich Obruchev.

Relation d'un voyage du pole arctique au pole antarctique par le center du monde by Anonymous (1721 France).

The Secret of the Earth (1899) by Charles Willing Beale.

The Secret People (as The Passing Show, 1935 UK; 1964 US) by "John Beynon Harris" (John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris); also published as by "John Wyndham."

The Smoky God, or, A Voyage to the Inner World (1908) by Willis George Emerson.

The Sovereign Guide (1898) by William Amos Miller.

A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder (1888) by James De Mille.

Swallowed by an Earthquake (1894) by Edward Douglas Fawcett.

Tam, Son of the Tiger (1931; book edition, 1962) by Otis Adelbert Kline.

The Third Eye (1956) by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa.

The Third World: A Tale of Love & Strange Adventure (1895) by Henry Clay Fairman.

Through the Earth (1898) by Clement Fezandie.

Through the Earth; or, Jack Nelson's Invention (1898) by Fred Thorpe.

Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit (1901) by Robert Ames Bennet.

Underground Man (1896 France?; translated into English, with a preface by H.G. Wells, 1905 UK) by Gabriel de Tarde.

Underland (2002) by Mick Farren.

The Underground Kingdom: A "Choose Your Own Adventure" Novel (1983) by Edward Packard.

Under Pike's Peak; or Mahalma, Child of the Fire Father (1898) by Charles McKesson.

Under the Auroras, A Marvelous Tale of the Interior World (1888) by William J. Shaw.

Under the World (1894 Golden Hours as "Into the Maelstrom"; 1906) by John DeMorgan.

Upsidonia (1915) by Archibald Marshall.

Le voyage au centre de la terre (1821 France) by Jacques Collin de Plancy.

A Voyage to the World in the Centre of the Earth (1755 UK) by Anonymous.

The White Darkness (2007) by Geraldine McCaughrean

The World Below (2007) by Paul Chadwick and Ron Randall (graphic novel).

The Wolf-Men (1905 UK) by Frank Powell.


Copyright © 2008, Cynthia Ward. All Rights Reserved.

About Cynthia Ward

Cynthia Ward has published stories in Asimov's SF Magazine, Front Lines, and other anthologies and magazines, and has written articles and reviews for Amazon.com, Locus Online, and other webzines and magazines. She writes the monthly market-news e'newsletter The Market Maven (subscription: $20/year to market.maven.subscriptions[at]gmail[dot]com or address below), as well as The SFWA Bulletin's quarterly Market Report. With Nisi Shawl, she has written the nonfiction guidebook Writing the Other: A Practical Approach (Aqueduct Press), which is the companion volume to their critically acclaimed fiction workshop, Writing the Other: Bridging Cultural Differences for Successful Fiction. Cynthia is completing her first novel, The Stone Rain. Books, graphic novels, etc., for review consideration may be sent to her at: Cynthia Ward, P.O. Box 2228, Apple Valley, AZ 92307.

COMMENTS!

Sep 2, 06:25 by IROSF
This is where to post your thoughts on this sub-genre.

Article can be found here.
Sep 10, 21:35 by
Just to add to the list, though it's not an important novel, Joseph Kelleam's The Little People (Avalon Books, 1960, originally published in the Feb 1959 issue of Amazing Stories as Hunters Out of Time), deals with an alien race united with the dwarves of legend in a vast underground cavern deep below the Gulf of Mexico, complete with its own sea and artificial atomic sun. The sequel, Hunters Out of Space, published about a year later, moved everything to the very far reaches of the galaxy, and seemed to lose a lot of its charm in doing so.

In some ways I think the attraction of this sub-genre is the same one that applies to a much wider group of books, all those that imagine some new, heretofore unexplored place - such spaces can be full of amazing and wondrous things and societies where things could be very different from the drab and humdrum of the local now. And the genre is not dead even in hard sf circles - see Greg Egan's Incandescence, where his creatures can only determine the true state of what drives the weird gravitational effects of their world by making observations at its very center, or the somewhat earlier Still River by Hal Clement (1989).
Sep 11, 00:52 by Tom Marcinko
Good grief, Cindy, I hope you didn't have to read *all* those HE stories!

In a child's book about Lewis & Clark that I was reading to my son, I came across an anecdote that reminded me of the Shaver so-called mystery (the mystery being, how did anybody take him seriously?). Apparently there is (was?) a tribe that believed tiny people with big heads lived in or near ancient burial mounds.

A few of the flying saucer mags and books I read as a kid during the mid-60s alien flybys alluded to Nazi theories of a hollow earth, which might have been a base for or origin of the saucers.

And of course there's the movie classic THE MOLE PEOPLE, done to a turn on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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