Best 1914 Adventures (1)
April 4, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1914 adventure novels. Happy 105th anniversary!
Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Pellucidar sci-fi adventure At the Earth’s Core (1914; in book form, 1922).
Thanks to a futuristic “iron mole” device invented by an eccentric engineer friend, the intrepid David Innes is the first to discover that the Earth is hollow. At the planet’s center is Pellucidar, a land — lit by a miniature Sun — in which warring stone-age human tribes are dominated by the Mahars, flying reptiles who are intelligent and possessed of telekinetic abilities. (Gravity, we learn, is an attraction towards planetary crust, not planetary core; and time doesn’t work the way we imagine.) Can Innes battle dinosaurs and proto-humanoid Sagoths (the Mahar’s slaves), rescue the lovely Dian, lead a revolt against the Mahars, steal their Great Secret, establish a peaceful kingdom… and somehow return to the planet’s surface? An entertaining read, though seriously marred by the racist suggestion that humans of color are, above or below, less evolved than other humans.
Fun facts: The first of several Pellucidar adventures, including Pellucidar (1915), Tanar of Pellucidar (1929), and Tarzan at the Earth’s Core (1929). H.P. Lovecraft was a fan; his 1931 adventure At the Mountains of Madness includes the Shoggoths, a race of humanoids enslaved by the Elder Things.
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.