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3/5 (70 ratings)
220 pages
3 hours
Apr 7, 2015


Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth milieu invented by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. In a notable 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 cave man 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 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 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.

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.

Pellucidar also harbors enclaves of various nonhuman or semi-human races. There are:
• The Ape Men - A race of ape-like black creatures with prehensile tail and are arboreal.
• The Azarians - A race of primitive man-eating giants.
• The Brute-Men - The 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, also known as the Buried People, the Coripies are a race of short eyeless carrion-eaters.
• The Ganaks - A race of horned bison men.
• The Gorbuses - A subterranean race of cannibalistic albinos who are apparently resurrected surface-world murderers.
• The Horibs - A

Apr 7, 2015

About the author

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) is the creator of Tarzan, one of the most popular fictional characters of all time, and John Carter, hero of the Barsoom science fiction series. Burroughs was a prolific author, writing almost 70 books before his death in 1950, and was one of the first authors to popularize a character across multiple media, as he did with Tarzan’s appearance in comic strips, movies, and merchandise. Residing in Hawaii at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Burroughs was drawn into the Second World War and became one of the oldest war correspondents at the time. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s popularity continues to be memorialized through the community of Tarzana, California, which is named after the ranch he owned in the area, and through the Burrough crater on Mars, which was named in his honour.

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What people think about Pellucidar

70 ratings / 5 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    This is the first of Burroughs' stories that take place inside the hollow earth. Basically it has the same elements of adventure that make his other stories fun to read--primarily for male readers, probably.
  • (4/5)
    Not quite as good as the first in the series but still a highly enjoyable hollow earth romp. Great fun.
  • (3/5)
    This is the sequel to the author's better known At the Earth's Core. This tells of the narrator's further adventures in the land inside the hollow Earth, battling against various races of hostile people, allying with others and forging his own subterranean empire along with his wife Dian the Beautiful whom he had rescued in the previous novel. Obviously of its time, but I wouldn't mind as long as there was a better plot, but this lacks the freshness of its predecessor. I did, though, download to my phone a map of Pellucidar from Wikipedia, which helped in following his perambulations.
  • (5/5)
    One of the marks of a great writer is that he can take an unbelievable situation and make it sound true and accurate and believable. “Pellucidar”is book two of the seven-volume Pellucidar series by Burroughs, which tells the story of the adventures in a hollow-earth world where intelligent reptiles were the dominant species and humans were stuck in stone age civilization. One of the remarkable things Burroughs created in this hollow-world are the fact that, without sunrise or sunset, there is simply an eternal mid-day sun and thus no real conception of time. Although he was not the first one to ever postulate the existence of an inner-earth world, no one either before or since has done it half as well. Above all, this book, like the others in this terrific series, is a wonderful adventure story of fighting and chivalry.

    In the first book in the series (“At the Earth’s Core”), Innes and Perry tunneled into this inner-world in a mighty metal prospector, not having any idea that it ever existed. At the end of the first book, Innes returns to the outer crust to gather arms, tools, and books so that he and Perry can advance human civilization in the inner world and take on the Mahar (reptile) empire. This second book of the series details Innes return to the inner world and his adventures there and how with his tools, weapons, and technological know-how brought back from the outer world, he leads a federation of stone age kingdoms in battle against the Mahars, bringing to bear weapons that no one in the inner world could ever have dreamed of.

    It is truly a great story and, once you expect the conceit that there is an inner world with an inner sun and intelligent creatures there of many kinds, you will enjoy this book immensely. It is simply a great adventure story and quite enjoyable to read.
  • (4/5)
    In this second of ERB's Pellucidar series, David Innes regains his hold as Emperor of Pellucidar, conquering the opposing armies of Hoojah the Sly and the Mahars. The Mahars fly away to the north at the end of the novel, but we expect they will be back someday. Meanwhile, Emperor David has his lovely Queen, the Lovely Dian, and his friend Perry, now Admiral of the Pellucidar Navy, his health, and plenty to smile about.