inside Planet Earth: Science Fiction Ideas on the Center of the Earth Part 1

About a variety of science fiction stories and novels that deal with ideas about what is inside planet Earth.

SCIENCE FICTION

Since 1742, writers have been creating their fictions around the hollow-earth theory.

Journey to the World Underground, Baron Holberg, 1742. Nicholas Klimius falls through a cavern to find a world lit by a sun surrounded by planets. For 3 days he, too, orbits, then lands on the planet Nazar which is inhabited by trees with human heads and creeping feet. The planet is technologically somewhat advanced, with ships propelled by clockwork. Later, on another planet, Klimius finds a civilization of monkeys.

Symzonia, Captain Seaborn (pseud.), 1820. After finding bones from a huge inner-world animal, Captain Seaborn steers his ship over the rim of the world into the interior of the earth. In this world there are 2 suns and 2 moons. The utopian civilization here has developed dirigibles, flamethrowers with a range of half a mile, and ships driven by compressed air. (This work is based on Symmes's theories.)

Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, Edgar Allan Poe, 1833. Pym and his companion Peters meet black islanders who are exiles from Symzonia. Though they never reach the interior of the earth, they do see a white mist and a white figure rises before them, emissaries from the interior. (This work is also based on Symmes's theories. Poe tried to write 2 other stories using an inner-earth theme, but couldn't seem to get his characters down there.)

Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne, 1864. Professor Von Hardwigg, his nephew, and a native guide enter the inner world through the crater of Sneffels, an extinct volcano located in Iceland. Using a "Ruhmkorf coil" (an electric flashlight), they make their way along a 100-mi.-deep tunnel, finally reaching a mammoth underground cavern, caused as the earth cooled and formed a vacuum. In this cavern are a sky with clouds, a sea, and animal life. During their adventures, they see evidence of the evolution of plants and animals. Once they narrowly escape a herd of mastodons, guarded by a 12'-high man; they see skeletons of early man; they witness a fight to the death between giant prehistoric reptiles. (This work is based on theories about the geologic history of the earth and the evolution of living things.)

The Coming Race, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1871. An American descends into a deep mine, at the bottom of which lies a broad road lit by gas lamps. The road leads into a world of advanced beings, manlike in appearance, who have harnessed Vril fluid, a kind of energy, which can be conducted over 500 mi. to destroy, but can also be used for peaceful purposes. The inhabitants of this land, Vril-ya, descended into the earth during the deluge and eventually developed a utopian civilization. They plan to emerge and conquer the surface world. (This book sparked the Luminous Lodge of the Vril Society, which influenced the thinking of Adolf Hitler.)

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