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The First and Only Weekly Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Volume 0308

Chattering From The Shoulder #7
By Nkima
March 24, 2000

"Nkima scolded and chattered from the safety of his master's shoulder ..."  (Invincible)

An Earth's Core Notebook
By Nkima

Here is the list of Earth's Core sources mentioned by Richard A. Lupoff in his "ERB Master of Adventure" and by Martin Gardner in his "Fads & Fallacies in the Name of Science."

Richard LupoffMartin Gardner

1692 - an essay by EdmundHalley (for whom the comet was named)
1742 - Nicholas Klimius (Nils Klim) by Ludvig Baron von Holberg
1786 - Baron Munchausen by R.E. Raspe
1818 - thecuriouscircularon the hollow-earth theorybyCaptain John Cleves Symmes
1820 - Symzonia by Captain Adam Seaborn
1833 - MS. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe
1835 - Hans Pfall by Edgar Allan Poe
1838 - Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym by Edgar Allan Poe
1864 - Journey to the Center of the Earth byJules Verne
1870 - The Illumination of Koresh by Cyrus Reed Teed (we are living inside the hollow earth!)
1878 - Symmes' Theory of Concentric Spheres by James McBride
1891 - The Goddess of Arvatabar by William R. Bradshaw
1895 - Etidorpha by John Uri Lloyd
1897 - The Ice Sphinx by Jules Verne

Verne wrote this story as a sequel to Edgar Allan Poe's book The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
1899 - The Secret of the Earth by Charles Willing Beale
1908 - The Smoky God by Willis George Emerson
1908 - Five Thousand Miles Underground or The Mystery of the Centre of the Earth by Edward Stratemeyer (Roy Rockwood)
1913 - At the Earth's Core by Edgar Rice Burroughs
1913 - Journey to the Earth's Interior by Marshall B. Gardner

Another source not previously mentioned is
1908 - Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by Frank L. Baum

Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz - #4

In this fourth of his Oz adventures Dorothy Gale and her new friends -- Zeb the farm boy, Jim the cab-horse, and Eureka the mischievous kitten -- tumble through a crack in the ground during an earthquake in California.  Deep beneath the earth, Dorothy is reunited with her old friend the Wizard of Oz and his troupe of nine tiny piglets.

Together, Dorothy, the Wizard, and their friends travel through many fantastic lands, where they encounter the Mangaboos, people growing like vegetables in the ground; cross the Valley of Voe, where dama-fruit has turned everyone invisible; and are captured by mysterious flying Gargoyles.

Of course the plant people and the invisible men remind us of beings in the Mars Series, while the Gargoyles are related to the Mahars of Pellucidar, or perhaps the Wieroos of Caspak.

Baum's Gargoyles are wooden flying creatures who are frightened by loud noises, whereas ERB's Mahars have no ears at all.  The Gargoyle cities are closer to those of the Wieroos, being  towers with openings underneath the roofs.  They carry the heroes there to a platform, then fall asleep, unhinging their wings during their rest period.  Baum has his characters escape by using the Gargoyle wings.

The center of Baum's earth is lighted by six great glowing balls suspended in the air.  The central and largest one is white and looks like the sun.  Around it, arranged like the five points of a star, are five colored balls; one rose colored, one violet, one yellow, one blue, and one orange.  It's like a color wheel, which gives everything a rainbow tint depending upon which rays strike the object.

Baum's heroes climb higher and higher toward the surface of the earth during the course of their adventures.


Of course, a journey underground suggests Dante'sdescentinto the inferno, which was anticipated by that of Aeneas in the Aeneid of Virgil, as well as by the journey of Orpheus.


Jules Verne
Jules Verne in his A Journey to the Center of the Earth does not project a central sun at the core.  His heroes descend through the Sneffels volcano in Iceland.  At the Central Sea the landscape is lit up like day by an electric phenomena something in the nature of the aurora borealis.  Later, by an extreme diffusion of light there is no shade whatever.  "The appearance presented was that of a tropical country at midday in summer -- in the midst of the equatorial regions and under the vertical rays of the sun."  This of course, is more like ERB's Pellucidar.  However, since there is no sun, all the plants are without color.  The explorers are also able to see great distances due to the extreme diffuseness of the light.

Hollow Earth

There are a great many believers in the hollow earth theory today, which is not surprising given the popularity of New Age culture.  One site that is a good starting place is

Apparently the earth is indeed hollow, and the kingdom of this inner society is called Agharta with the main-city of Shamballa.  Well, we're certainly not in Kansas anymore.  You can get in contact with these folks by going inside Mt. Shasta to their city called Telos.  It sounds like an ERB-Land where everyone stands 6' 5" and looks like they are 30 years old.  You can't go there unless you have a positive spirit about the whole idea, so I guess that most of us are doomed to the surface.

The other bad news is the fact that the earth is hollow in the fourth dimension, which also limits most of us from entering.  I guess Admiral Bird knew all about this stuff but he was sworn to secrecy.  I don't suppose that his surviving relatives care much about these stories.

Of course, these inner world folks are thousands of years beyond us, but for some reason or other they are keeping the secrets to themselves until we are worthy.  It wasn't that long ago that most of Christendom was more interested in going in the other direction, but now apparently true wisdom is down in the deep bowels of the earth.  Maybe Pellucidar is heaven after all.


In ERB's early fairy tale "Minidoka," the hero jumps into the mouth of the abyss and ends up at the center of the Earth where you can't fall down because you can't fall up.  This is indeed Nevaeh ("heaven" backwards) where animals get their revenge on cruel masters.  It's hell for humans, but Nevaeh for animals.


Burroughs wrote 7 novels that take place in Pellucidar -- at the center of the earth
1.  At the Earth's Core (1913)
2.  Pellucidar (1914)
3.  Tanar of Pellucidar (1928)
4.  Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1928)
5.  Back to the Stone Age (1935)
6.  Land of Terror (1938)
7.  Savage Pellucidar (1940)
In ERB's unfinished novel (finished off by Joe R. Lansdale) called Tarzan the Lost Adventure, the Ape-Man battles a creature from Pellucidar called Ebopa, who is a giant praying mantis.  At the end of the story Tarzan goes "Down, down, down, toward the center of the earth.  Toward Pellucidar, where his kind were timeless and forever."  It's not really a Pellucidar novel, but it is at least related to the series.  It is generally agreed that the quality of writing falls off with each successive story in the series.  The first 4 novels are considered to be very good.  You can tell from the listing that they were written in batches of two with the last 3 books as additions to the series.
"ERB's center of the earth is lit by a inner sun, which never moves and never sets, sitting always at noon and thereby confounding any computation of passing time.  The flora and fauna of Pellucidar are for the most part like those of the outer Earth from the Mesozoic on up, with many Ice Age-type animals and even a few dinosaurs, but also with some variant evolutionary lines, such as the Mahars."  (Brady, 258).
Pellucidar dust jacket illustration by J. Allen St. John

Pellucidar is another perfect setting for ERB's kind of adventure-romance story.  It is a strange land, but everything seems familiar to the reader of his novels because the formula story is, as always, in full force.  There is a little science and philosophical speculation, but the reason to read these novels is for the masterly story-telling, for they are full of red-blooded action and romance with noble heroes and heroines. ERB may have owed something to earlier writers for his basic inspiration, but the stories are all his own.  The New Age speculation of today would have been laughable to him because he was a writer of fantasy who could tell the difference between dreams and reality.  He was a man with his feet on solid ground even when his imagination took him to the center of the earth.

The End

Animation by Kent Steadman
Edgar Allen Poe bust by sculptor Frederic BlattJules VerneEdmund HalleyIce Sphinx - Illustration 1Ice Sphinx - Illustration 2Edmond HalleyBaron MunchausenDr. Cyrus Reed Teed
For Spectacular Japanese Pellucidar Art
ERBzine 0323:
Lord Greystoke's Asian Gallery ~ Part II - Pellucidar

David Adams
David Adams
Nkima and his friend, David Adams, would like to hear from ERB fans

Volume 0308

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