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This article is about a fictional landmass. For the novel of the same name, see Pellucidar (novel). For the album by John Zorn, see Pellucidar: A Dreamers Fantabula.
The original map of Pellucidar from the first edition of Pellucidar (1915).
At the Earth's Core location
Creator Edgar Rice Burroughs
Genre Adventure novel
Type Hollow Earth
Notable characters David Innes, Abner Perry, Tanar, Tarzan

Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth invented by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. In a crossover event between Burroughs' series, there is a Tarzan story in which the Ape Man travels into Pellucidar.

The stories initially involve the adventures of mining heir David Innes and his inventor friend Abner Perry after they use an "iron mole" to burrow 500 miles into the Earth's crust. Later protagonists include indigenous caveman Tanar and additional visitors from the surface world, notably Tarzan, Jason Gridley, and Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und von Horst.[1]


In Burroughs' concept, the Earth is a hollow shell with Pellucidar as the internal surface of that shell. Pellucidar is accessible to the surface world via a polar opening allowing passage between the inner and outer worlds[2] through which a rigid airship visits in the fourth book of the series.[3] Although the inner surface of the Earth has an absolute smaller area than the outer, Pellucidar actually has a greater land area, as its continents mirror the surface world's oceans and its oceans mirror the surface continents.

A peculiarity of Pellucidar's geography is that due to the concave curvature of its surface there is no horizon; the further distant something is, the higher it appears to be, until it is finally lost in the atmospheric haze.

Pellucidar is lit by a miniature Sun suspended at the center of the hollow sphere, so it is perpetually overhead giving a time sensation of eternal noon wherever one is in Pellucidar. The sole exception is the region directly under a tiny geostationary Moon of the internal sun; that region as a result is under a perpetual eclipse and is known as the Land of Awful Shadow. This moon has its own plant life and (presumably) animal life, and hence either has its own atmosphere or shares that of Pellucidar. The miniature sun never changes in brightness, and never sets; so with no night or seasonal progression, the natives have little concept of time. The events of the series suggest that time is elastic, passing at different rates in different areas of Pellucidar and varying even in single locales. Also, several characters from the outer world who have lived a long time in Pellucidar seem to age slowly and exhibit considerable longevity. This is known through their interactions with people of the outer world where time remains fixed.


Pellucidar is populated by primitive people and prehistoric creatures, notably dinosaurs. The region in which Innes and Perry initially find themselves is ruled by the cities of the Mahars, intelligent flying reptiles resembling Rhamphorhynchus with dangerous psychic powers, who keep the local tribelets of Stone Age human beings in subjugation.[4] Innes and Perry eventually unite the tribes to overthrow the Mahars' domain and establish a human "Empire of Pellucidar" in its place.[5]

While the Mahars are the dominant species in the Pellucidar novels, they seem confined to their handful of cities. Before their overthrow they use the Sagoths (a race of gorilla-men who speak the same language as Tarzan's apes)[3] to enforce their rule over the human tribes within the area which they rule.[4][5] Though Burrough's novels suggest that the Mahar realm is limited to one relatively small area of the inner world, John Eric Holmes' authorized sequel Mahars of Pellucidar indicates there are other areas of Mahar domination.

Within and outside the Mahars' domain are scattered independent human cultures, most of them at the stone age level of development. Technically more advanced exceptions include the Korsars (corsairs), a maritime raiding society descended from surface-world pirates,[2] and the Xexots, an indigenous Bronze Age civilization.[6] All or most of the human inhabitants of Pellucidar share a common world-wide language.

Pellucidar wildlife[edit]

Various animals reside in Pellucidar. Some of them are primarily prehistoric creatures that are extinct on the outer world while others were created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. They are listed below by outer world name (if known), Pellucidarian name (if known), and the book in which they first appear, along with any relevant comments.

  • Ant Bear - A huge edentate mammal that preys on the Giant Ants. It has no outer world equivalent and its Pellucidarian name is unknown.
  • Antelope - Pellucidarian name unknown. It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Apatosaurus -
  • Archaeopteryx - Pellucidarian name unknown. It appeared in Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
  • Archelon (Tola) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Aurochs (Thag) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Aztarag - A sea creature. Pellucidarian name for an unidentified outer world equivalent.
  • Brontotherium -
  • Cave Bear (Ryth) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Cave Hyena - Pellucidarian name unknown.
  • Cave Lion (Ta-ho) -
  • Cotylosaurus (Gorobor) - Giant lizards that serve as the Horibs' mode of transportation; first appeared in Tarzan at the Earth's Core
  • Deinotherium - Pellucidarian name unknown. It first appeared in Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
  • Dimetrodon -
  • Dimorphodon - Pellucidarian name unknown.
  • Diplodocus (Lidi) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Dire Wolf (Codon) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Giant Ants - No outer world equivalent. Pellucidarian name unknown. They are preyed upon by the Ant Bears.
  • Gomphothere -
  • Hyaenodon (Jalok) - A dog-like carnivore that is not related to hyenas or wolves.
  • Hydrophidian - A giant sea snake that is designated by Burroughs. Neither the actual outer world or Pellucidarian equivalent are known.
  • Hyracotherium (Orthopi) -
  • Ichthyosaurus (Azdyryth) -
  • Labyrinthodontia (Sithic) - A giant amphibian carnivore.
  • Mastodon (Maj) -
  • Megatherium (Dyryth) -
  • Phorusrhacos (Dyal) - It first appeared in Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
  • Plesiosaurus - (Tandoraz, Ta-ho-az) - The two Pellucidarian names refer to larger and smaller varieties.
  • Pterodactyl (Thipdar) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core
  • Pteranodon - (Thipdar) -
  • Rhamphorhynchus (Mahar) - An oversized, intelligent Pterosaur. It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
  • Smilodon (Tarag) -
  • Snakes -
  • Stegosaurus (Dyrodor) - A carnivorous variety, able to manipulate its back plates to allow it to glide.
  • Trachodon - Pellucidarian name unknown.
  • Triceratops (Gyor) -
  • Trodon - Pellucidarian name for a creature with no outer world equivalent. The Trodon are dragon-like flying reptiles with pouches similar to those of marsupials. Not to be confused with the Troodon, an actual outer world extinct dinosaur. It first appeared in Back to the Stone Age.
  • Troodon - Pellucidarian name unknown.
  • Tylosaurus - Pellucidarian name unknown.
  • Tyrannosaurus (Zarith) -
  • Woolly Mammoth (Tandor) - Some woolly mammoths are used as mounts for a tribe of natives called the Mammoth Men.[7]
  • Woolly Rhinoceros (Sadok) - It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.


Pellucidar also harbors enclaves of various non-human or semi-human races. Among the known races in Pellucidar are:

  • The Ape Men - A race of black ape-like creatures with prehensile tails; arboreal in nature.[4]
  • The Azarians - A race of primitive man-eating giants.[8]
  • The Beast-Men - The Beast-Men (also called Brute-Men) are peaceful gorilla-like farmers. They are sometimes called "Gorilla-Sheep" for the sheep-like appearance of their faces.
  • The Coripies - A subterranean race that are also known as the Buried People. The Coripies are a race of short eyeless carrion-eaters.[2]
  • The Ganaks - A race of horned bison men. They sometimes capture humans for their cruel sacrificial rites.[7]
  • The Gorbuses - A subterranean race of cannibalistic albinos who are apparently resurrected surface-world serial killers that were confined here as their punishments.[7]
  • The Horibs - A race of ferocious dinosaur-riding reptile men.[3]
  • The Korsars - A race of humans who are the descendants of Barbary pirates.
  • The Mahars - The master race of Pellucidar, who resemble humanoid Rhamphorhynchus.[2][4][5]
  • The Mammoth Men - A tribe of natives that use woolly mammoths as their mounts.[7]
  • The Sabertooth Men - A race of cannibalistic black ape-like creatures with prehensile tails and dagger-like tusks.
  • The Sagoths - The gorilla-like servants of the Mahars.[3][4][5]

The novels[edit]

  1. At the Earth's Core (1914)
  2. Pellucidar (1915)
  3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929)
  4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)
  5. Back to the Stone Age (1937)
  6. Land of Terror (1944)
  7. Savage Pellucidar (1963)

Sequels by John Eric Holmes[edit]

John Eric Holmes's Mahars of Pellucidar was a sequel to Burroughs' Pellucidar novels authorized by the Burroughs estate. Publication of Holmes' follow-up novel, Red Axe of Pellucidar, reportedly ready for print in 1980, was reportedly blocked by the estate, and only saw print much later in a limited private edition.[9]

  1. Mahars of Pellucidar (1976)
  2. Red Axe of Pellucidar (1993)

Tarzan: The Epic Adventures[edit]

In the 1996 novel Tarzan: The Epic Adventures by R. A. Salvatore, Pellucidar is featured in the later part of the story. The book is based on the teleplay for the TV pilot of the series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures by Burt Armus. The story is inspired by the Return of Tarzan and Tarzan at the Earth's Core.[10]

In other media[edit]

When DC Comics had the rights to the Burroughs properties in the early 70s, they did a comic book adaptation of At the Earth's Core that ran in Korak, Son of Tarzan #46, then moved to Weird Worlds #1-5, then continued with an adaptation of Pellucidar in #6-7. Another Pellucidar story appeared in Tarzan Family #66.

Pellucidar has appeared in one movie adaptation. The first novel was filmed as At the Earth's Core (1976), directed by Kevin Connor and starring Doug McClure as David Innes and Peter Cushing as Abner Perry.[11]

Pellucidar appears in the Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle episode "Tarzan at the Earth's Core."

The 1996 pilot to the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures also features Pellucidar, as well as the character Jana from the book Tarzan at the Earth's Core. This story also features a race of Mahars able to transform into humanoid form.[citation needed]

Pellucidar appears in a few episodes of the Disney cartoon series The Legend of Tarzan, loosely inspired by Tarzan at the Earth's Core. In the show, however, Pellucidar is merely described as being a region below Africa where dinosaurs still live. None of the characteristics of it described in the novels are seen.[citation needed]

Pellucidar is revisited by Tarzan and is the central location of the Dark Horse Comics crossover Tarzan vs. Predator at the Earth's Core, where Tarzan faces off against the alien Predator species.


A tribute story, Maureen Birnbaum at the Earth's Core, appeared in Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson.[12]

Pellucidar was the major inspiration for Lin Carter's Zanthodon novels of the late 1970s and early 1980s, set in the vast cavern of Zanthodon beneath the Sahara Desert.[13]

The Hollow Earth milieu of Skartaris in the Warlord series of comic books by Mike Grell, published from 1976–1989, is essentially a translation of Pellucidar into the graphic medium, with the admixture of magic and elements of the Atlantis myth.[14]

The hollow interior of the Earth seen in the 2008 Asylum film Journey to Middle Earth bears some similarity to Pellucidar, although the film was intended as a film adaptation of a novel by Jules Verne.[citation needed]

The Hollow World of the fictional Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara shares many concepts taken from Pellucidar, such as the polar opening(s), the central sun, the floating moon(s) and the primitive cultures living in the internal surface.

In James P. Blaylock's The Digging Leviathan (1984), a pair of rival scientific teams compete to reach Pellucidar; the story concludes before the goal is attained.[citation needed] Blaylock's Zeuglodon revisits the Pellucidar theme, when a group of children attempt to rescue Giles Peach, one of the characters traveling to Pellucidar in The Digging Leviathan.

In John Crowley's Little, Big (1981), a drug named Pellucidar is mentioned and appears to have an exhilarating and even aphrodisiac effect.[citation needed]

During the initial explorations of Lechuguilla Cave in the late 1980s, a chamber was named "Pellucidar" in honor of these stories.[citation needed]

In Philip Jose Farmer's "Riders of the Purple Wage", there is a concept known as "the Pellucidar Breakthrough"[citation needed]

In the Tunnels Series, the Garden of the Second Sun is strongly based on Pellucidar.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pulpdom, Nos. 64, 65, 66, 67, April, June, August, October, "Pellucidar Revisited" by Mike Taylor, published by Camille Cazedessus,
  2. ^ a b c d Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1930). Tanar of Pellucidar. New York: Metropolitan.
  3. ^ a b c d Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1930). Tarzan at the Earth's Core. New York: Metropolitan.
  4. ^ a b c d e Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1922). At the Earth's Core. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., passim.
  5. ^ a b c d Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1923). Pellucidar. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., passim.
  6. ^ Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1963). Savage Pellucidar. New York: Canaveral Press.
  7. ^ a b c d Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1937). Back to the Stone Age. Tarzana, CA: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
  8. ^ Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1944). Land of Terror. Tarzana, CA: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
  9. ^ Martin, John. "John Eric Holmes: Mahars of Pellucidar and Red Axe of Pellucidar".
  10. ^ Salvatore, R.A. " Tarzan: The Epic Adventures".
  11. ^ At the Earth's Core at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Contents listing for first edition of Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  13. ^ Valdron, Den. "Lin Carter's Literary Pellucidar"
  14. ^ Brian Cronin, 2006, "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #54!" (archive)

External links[edit]