Synopses & Reviews
Beliefs in mysterious Underworlds are as old as humanity. From the ancient Sumerians to Incas to modern Christians, nearly every culture has had its special version. However, the idea that the earth has a hollow interior where strange lands, creatures, and civilizations may exist was first proposed as a scientific theory in 1692 by Sir Edmund Halley (of Halley's comet fame). Since then, it has been used as a popular literary motif by writers as various as Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, to name a few.
Hollow Earth traces this notion through the centuries and cultures, exploring how each era's relationship to the notion of a hollow earth reflected its particular hopes, fears, and values. Lavishly illustrated (including Bosch's inspired surreal nightmares of Hell, seventeenth-century maps and diagrams of the interior, illustrations from early Jules Verne editions and other novels, pulp art from World War I through the 1940s, plus movie posters and much more) this unique book will appeal to readers of many sorts: those interested in the history of science, religion, utopian fiction, and real-life experiments; science fiction fans, film buffs, and those intrigued by the remarkable evolution of ideas over centuries.
Isis, June 2009
“[A] breezily written, well-illustrated journalistic survey…A popular history of ‘esoteric’ science…Mine it for nuggets to spice up undergraduate lectures.”
A remarkable cultural history of what might exist under the Earths surface-as reflected in mythology, religion, science, literature, and good old crackpottery
Beliefs in mysterious underworlds are as old as humanity. But the idea that the earth has a hollow interior was first proposed as a scientific theory in 1691 by Sir Edmond Halley (of comet fame), who suggested that there might be life down there as well. Hollow Earth traces the surprising, marvelous, and just plain weird permutations his ideas have taken over the centuries. From science fiction to utopian societies and even religions, Hollow Earth travels through centuries and cultures, exploring how each eras relationship to the idea of a hollow earth mirrored its hopes, fears, and values. Illustrated with everything from seventeenth-century maps to 1950s pulp art to movie posters and more, Hollow Earth is for anyone interested in the history of strange ideas that just wont go away.
About the Author
David Standish is the author of The Art of Money and has written for Smithsonian, Audubon, Esquire, Outside, Travel and Leisure, Playboy, and Chicago magazine. He lives in Chicago.