Inside Planet Earth: Science Fiction Ideas on the Center of the Earth Part 3

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


The Smoky God, Willis George Emerson, 1908. Voyaging through an opening at the North Pole, explorer Olaf Jansen enters a world, the cradle of the human race, called Eden. It contains a central sun and is inhabited by 12' giants. Electricity operates flying cars and surcharges gorgeous fruits and vegetables. (The book is heavily footnoted with references to scientific writings that take up more space than the text.)

Symzonia: A Voyage of Discovery, J. Seymour, 1923. Albino humans speak a whistling musical language, wear snow-white garments, and are ruled by "The Best Man." (This is a satire of Symzonia, written over 100 years before.)

The Machine Stops, Edward M. Forster, 1928. Men living in the inner earth are ruled by a machine and can get what they want at the touch of a button.

Tarzan at the Earth's Core, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929-1930. Tarzan goes to Pellucidar, a world which lies on the inner surface of the earth, is lit by a central sun, and has no directions. It was 1st reached by David Innes, who bored through the earth with a mechanical prospector. Tarzan, however, gets inside through a polar hole. In Pellucidar, which is largely prehistoric, Tarzan has hair-raising adventures with reptilian beings, cavemen, and other creatures. (Burroughs wrote several other books about Pellucidar.)

The Shadow out of Time, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1936. A researcher's body is taken over by a member of an ancient race which dominated the earth 150 million years ago. This race was driven underground by the Great Race, a group of giant living cones which came from the transgalactic world of Yith. In the world he visits in his commandeered body, the narrator sees big airships and atomic-powered vehicles and finds out that these ancient beings have mastered time-travel and employ ESP routinely.

"Shaver Mystery," Amazing Stories, March, 1945. A race of malformed subhumans called "deros" (detrimental robots) inhabit underground cities. Once slaves of the Lemurians, they are in charge of what the Lemurians have left: namely, a wealth of technologically so-phisticated machines. These include flying machines, projection ray machines that can project images and thoughts, tractor ray beams which can derail trains, surgical ray cannons which can perform operations or make brains boil, machines that can cause nightmares, a stim machine which causes intense sensual pleasure, and death ray machines. With these machines, the deros cause trouble on the earth, ranging from broken toes to shipwrecks. Also underground are the Titans and Atlans, forced there by intense radiation that issued from the sun some 12,000 years before; they are called "abandoneros." (Some people believe in the deros and blame all kinds of happenings on them, including stolen cars, runaway girls, and various other disasters.)

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