At the Earth’s Core is a 1914 fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in his series about the fictional “hollow earth” land of Pellucidar.
The author relates how, traveling in the Sahara desert, he has encountered a remarkable vehicle and its pilot, David Innes, a man with a remarkable story to tell.
David Innes is a mining heir who finances the experimental “iron mole,” an excavating vehicle designed by his elderly inventor friend Abner Perry. In a test run, they discover the vehicle cannot be turned, and it burrows 500 miles into the Earth’s crust, emerging into the unknown interior world of Pellucidar. In Burroughs’ concept, the Earth is a hollow shell with Pellucidar as the internal surface of that shell.
Pellucidar is inhabited by prehistoric creatures of all geological eras, and dominated by the Mahars, a species of flying reptile both intelligent and civilized, but which enslaves and preys on the local stone-age humans. Innes and Perry are captured by the Mahars’ ape-like Sagoth servants and taken with other human captives to the chief Mahar city of Phutra. Among their fellow captives are the brave Ghak, the Hairy One, from the country of Sari, the shifty Hooja the Sly One and the lovely Dian the Beautiful of Amoz.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
By 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs was already a popular and regular contributor to the pulp periodicals of the day. Though a late starter–his first work, the John Carter story “Under the Moons of Mars,” was serialized in “All-Story Magazine” in 1912, when Burroughs was 36–his output increased rapidly, to the point that by 1916, he had already seen the first three Carter works including The Gods of Mars, the first two Tarzan titles, the first Pellucidar entry (“At the Earth’s Core”), plus such various works as “The Eternal Savage,” “The Monster Men” and “The Cave Girl,” all printed in that same magazine. But despite his reputation at “All-Story,” he still managed to get his manuscript for “Beyond Thirty” rejected there. This short novel was written between July and August 1915, and ultimately appeared in the February 1916 issue of “All-Around Magazine.”