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|Author||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|No. of books||7|
The original map of Pellucidar from the first edition of Pellucidar (1915).
|At the Earth's Core location|
|Created by||Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Notable characters||David Innes
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.
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 through which a rigid airship visits in the fourth book of the series. Although the inner surface of the Earth has a smaller total 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. Innes and Perry eventually unite the tribes to overthrow the Mahars' domain and establish a human "Empire of Pellucidar" in its place.
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) to enforce their rule over the human tribes within the area which they rule. 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, and the Xexots, an indigenous Bronze Age civilization. All or most of the human inhabitants of Pellucidar share a common world-wide language.
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 – An elephant-sized 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. One antelope species resembles the common eland except that it has spiral horns curved to the back of their ears.
- 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 that is nicknamed "Tiger of the Sea." 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 as they are the fastest creatures in Pellucidar. They 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 six-foot long and are preyed upon by the Ant Bears.
- Goat – They can be domesticated by the Ape-Men
- Gomphothere –
- Hyaenodon (Jalok) – A dog-like carnivore that is not related to hyenas or wolves. They have been referred to as Wolfdogs and can be domesticated by the Ape-Men.
- 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) – It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
- 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.
- Shark – The sharks of Pellucidar are larger than normal sharks.
- Smilodon (Tarag) –
- Snakes –
- Stegosaurus (Dyrodor) – A carnivorous variety, able to manipulate its back plates to allow it to glide (unlike a real Stegosaurus).
- Tapir –
- 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 kangaroos. 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) –
- Whale – The whales of Pellucidar weigh up to four to five pounds, are purple in color, and reside in bodies of freshwater.
- Woolly mammoth (Tandor) – Some woolly mammoths are used as mounts for a tribe of natives called the Mammoth Men.
- Woolly rhinoceros (Sadok) – It first appeared in At the Earth's Core.
Races and tribes
Pellucidar also harbors enclaves of various non-human or semi-human races and tribes. Among the known races and tribes in Pellucidar are:
- Ape-Men – A race of black-skinned creatures with prehensile tails, receding foreheads, long arms, and short legs that are arboreal in nature. They are known to domesticate goats and Hyaenodons.
- Azarians – A race of 7 ft. primitive man-eating giants with ugly faces and yellow tusk-like teeth.
- Brute-Men – The Brute-Men (also called Beast-Men) are peaceful 7 ft. human/gorilla farmers. They are sometimes called "Gorilla-Sheep" for the sheep-like appearance of their faces that go with the bull-neck and fangs of a gorilla.
- Coripies – A subterranean race of 5 ft. eyeless carrion-eaters. They are also known as the Buried People.
- Ganaks – A race of squat stocky men with long brown hair, long horns, and tails with brushy tufts at the end. They are also called the Bison Men. The Ganaks sometimes capture humans for their cruel sacrificial rites.
- Gilaks – A race of Pellucidar humans with enhanced homing instincts.
- Gorbuses – A subterranean race of cannibalistic albinos with long white tusks who are apparently resurrected surface-world serial killers that were confined here as their punishments.
- Horibs – A race of ferocious Gorobor-riding reptile men with snake-like heads that have pointed ears and two sharp horns. The Horibs are known to hunt humans and Gyor.
- Jukans – An eccentric race of creatures that have short-cropped hairs and flabby and loose mouths.
- Korsars – A race of humans who are the descendants of Barbary pirates that found themselves in Pellucidar and have been unable to get back to the surface. They live in the Land of Korsar which is across the Sea of Korsar Az.
- Mahars – The master race of Pellucidar who resemble humanoid Rhamphorhynchus.
- Mammoth Men – A tribe of cave-dwelling natives that use woolly mammoths as their mounts. They reside in the Ja-Ru region of Pellucidar.
- Manats – A tribe that lives on one side of the Island of Tandar and often fights with the Tandar.
- Mezops – A race of seafaring islanders, fishermen, and hunters who are similar to the Native Americans.
- Sabertooth Men – A race of cannibalistic black-skinned man-eating creatures with prehensile tails and dagger-like tusks. The Sabretooth Men live in a volcano crater near Kali and have a monkey-like language.
- Sagoths – The brown-furred gorilla-like servants of the Mahars that are lighter in build than a gorilla.
- Tandar – A tribe that lives on the Island of Tandar and often fights with the Manats.
- Xexots - A tribe of yellow-skinned humans whose culture is based on the Bronze Age. The Xexots reside in walled cities. The male and female Xexots wear nothing on their torsos, the children and other younger Xexots don't wear clothes, and the priests are distinguished by their hideous masks and long leather jackets.
- At the Earth's Core (1914)
- Pellucidar (1915)
- Tanar of Pellucidar (1929)
- Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929)
- Back to the Stone Age (1937)
- Land of Terror (1944)
- Savage Pellucidar (1963)
Sequels by John Eric Holmes
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.
In other media
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. Dark Horse Comics will reprint this in trade paperback in 2017.
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.
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 that are able to transform into humanoid form. And in the 1996 novelisation Tarzan: The Epic Adventures by R. A. Salvatore based on the teleplay for the pilot of the series, Pellucidar is featured in the later part of the story. The story is inspired by the Return of Tarzan and Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
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. In the episode "Tarzan and the Hidden World," Tarzan leads Professor Porter to Pellucidar so Porter can become famous before his rival Professor Philander who has also arrived in Africa. Professor Porter steals an egg from a T-Rex prompting the dinosaur to chase them. Professor Philander's photographic proof of Pellucidar is ruined by a monkey that took photos with his camera. Pellucidar is mentioned again in "Tarzan and the Beast From Below". The episode revolves around some Velociraptors that escaped Pellucidar and scares Terk.
Pellucidar appears in the Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle episode "Tarzan at the Earth's Core."
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 in Pellucidar.
The Hollow Earth milieu of Skartaris in the Warlord series of comic books by Mike Grell, published from 1976 to 1989, is essentially a translation of Pellucidar into the graphic medium, with the admixture of magic and elements of the Atlantis myth.
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.
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. 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.
- At the Earth's Core (1976 movie)
- Tarzan: The Epic Adventures (1996/1997 TV series)
- Hollow Earth
- Subterranean fiction
- Pulpdom, Nos. 64, 65, 66, 67, April, June, August, October, "Pellucidar Revisited" by Mike Taylor, published by Camille Cazedessus,
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1930). Tanar of Pellucidar. New York: Metropolitan.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1930). Tarzan at the Earth's Core. New York: Metropolitan.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1922). At the Earth's Core. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., passim.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1923). Pellucidar. Chicago: A. C. McClurg & Co., passim.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1963). Savage Pellucidar. New York: Canaveral Press.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1937). Back to the Stone Age. Tarzana, CA: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
- Burroughs, Edgar Rice (1944). Land of Terror. Tarzana, CA: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.
- Martin, John. "John Eric Holmes: Mahars of Pellucidar and Red Axe of Pellucidar".
- At the Earth's Core on IMDb
- Contents listing for first edition of Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Valdron, Den. "Lin Carter's Literary Pellucidar"
- Brian Cronin, 2006, "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #54!" (archive)
- Heinlein, R. A. (1980). The Number of the Beast. New York: Fawcett Columbine.
- Official site from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. – Tarzana, California
- von Horst's Pellucidar – articles, book summaries, publishing histories, pastiches, glossary, languages, maps, hollow Earth theory, and film and TV reviews by Pellucidar scholar, David Critchfield.
- Maps of Pellucidar in ERBzine 3042
- Beasts of Pellucidar at Angelfire
- Pellucidar at Comic Vine
- At the Earth's Core at Project Gutenberg
- At the Earth's Core at Project Gutenberg (alternate edition)
- Pellucidar at Project Gutenberg