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Literature / Pellucidar

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Pellucidar is a series of seven novels written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, written and taking place in the 1910s, 1920s and 1930s. In this verse, the Earth is hollow and there is another world on the inside, called Pellucidar, inhabited by dinosaurs and other monsters as well as primitive humans.

The complete series is composed of the following novels:

  • At the Earth's Core. Published in serial form in April, 1914. Book form published in July, 1922.
  • Pellucidar. Published in serial form in May, 1915. Book form published in September, 1923.
  • Tanar of Pellucidar. Published in serial form from March to August, 1929. Book form published in May, 1930.
  • Tarzan at the Earth's Core. Published in serial form from September, 1929 to March, 1930. Book form published in November, 1930.
  • Back to the Stone Age. Published in serial form from January to February, 1937. Book form published in September, 1937.
  • Land of Terror. First published in 1944. Unusually the book was its original form.
  • Savage Pellucidar. Collects four Pellucidar short stories. Three from 1941 and 1942, and one previously unpublished story. The collection was first published in 1962.

Several pastiche novels followed.

A loose film adaptation of At the Earth's Core was made in 1976 by Amicus Productions, which was riffed in the season 11 finale of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Pellucidar also appeared in the pilot for Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, which was based partly on Tarzan at the Earth's Core.

For the MST3000 episode, go here.

Tropes present in this work:

  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Mahars aren't evil; they simply lack any concept of sound, and so they don't understand the other creatures they treat as slaves are intelligent, communicating beings in their own right.
  • Canon Welding: The fourth book, Tarzan at the Earth's Core, quite clearly defines the Tarzan and Pellucidar novels as part of the same continuity, with the usual heroes teaming up with Tarzan and his allies for a Crossover.
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  • Cluster F-Bomb: Thanks to the time period Burroughs couldn't actually write it, but he still manages to make very clear that Perry's reaction to his drill refusing to turn at the start of the adventure would make a sailor blush.
  • Deadpan Snarker: David Innes.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Film-only. Dian decides there's No Place for Me There on the surface, and David leaves her behind.
  • Direct Line to the Author: In the first novel, Burroughs claims to have had the story of David Innes' adventure in Pellucidar direct from Innes, having met him during a safari in the Sahara desert some time afterward. Each of the sequels mentions that they've stayed in touch and Innes has been keeping him informed of subsequent events.
  • Drill Tank: The "iron mole".
  • Duel to the Death: David Innes versus Jubal the Ugly One in At The Earth's Core.
  • Dumb Dinos: Most of the dinosaurs come off this way, with the exception of the Mahars, who are sapient pterosaurs.
  • Made a Slave: David Innes is enslaved (briefly) by the Sagoths, joining Dian the Beautiful and others who are already in a slave train in At The Earth's Core.
  • The Magnificent:
    • Dian the Beautiful.
    • Dacor the Strong One, Ghak the Hairy One, Hooja the Sly One, Jubal the Ugly One... etc.
  • Mighty Whitey: The people from the surface who come to Pellucidar. Something of a variant, as there are other white people in Pellucidar; the surface dwellers are (generally) mighty because of their more technologically advanced culture.
    • Except for Tarzan. The Jungle Lord needs no technology to show the cavemen who's boss.
  • Nubile Savage: Dian the Beautiful. All of her people, too, the Tribe of Amoz. Also their neighbors, the people of Sari.
  • Pirate: The Korsars (corsairs) of Pellucidar.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Mahars, a race of sentient psychic pterosaurs, appear as the first major villainous race in the series.
  • Spiritual Successor: It's long been speculated that this series was an indirect inspiration for At the Mountains of Madness.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: Some of the stories played with the notion of time as highly variable in a situation where there's no day-night sequence to measure it by. David Innes was once accidentally separated from his comrade and went through several weeks worth of adventures. When they were reunited, he discovered that since his friend hadn't needed to exert himself to anywhere near the extent David did, for him less than an hour had passed.

Alternative Title(s): At The Earths Core


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