I love fantasy, I always have. It brings more possibilities than any other type of fiction and has been the way we as a people have told stories our entire existence But for all the amazing things in fantasy, so many authors seem to draw from European history and myth, as well as other familiar tropes. While that’s all and good, with these posts I will explore the other realms of fantasy, the lore we don’t see too much, and the potential they have for the fantasy of the future.
The Hollow Earth is one of the world’s oldest legends. There are countless civilizations, tribes, and cultures who believe their people ascended from the earth or who traveled underground to come to their current homeland. It is a perfect example of the amazing stories people were coming up with long before science fiction and fantasy were considered genres.
There are actually a few ways this is usually proposed. The first makes the Earth look a lot like Swiss cheese, riddled with holes, tunnels, and caverns. The second proposes the earth is truly hollow, a shell with its own world on the interior of the earth, often times portrayed with an interior sun. It has also been proposed that the Earth is actually a few different shells, each separated by its own atmosphere.
This sounds ridiculous, but at one time or another, these were all legitimate theories proposed by scientists and scholars. Their have been essays and books written, all trying to explain the physics of how it would work, or why it is in fact true. To this day, there are still little groups out there who claim this is the way the world (and universe even) is built.
Journey to the Center of the Earth is the most well known example of this in fiction. They run into a lot down there, and it’s really cool to see the way Verne has to explain the way a world like that would work. It all culminates with the explorers finding a vast subterranean ocean, complete with a lightning storm that fills the cavern, and an island inhabited by proto-humans and mastodons.
That sentence alone should endear you to the possibilities of the concept alone.
But if you need more…
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote of the world Pullucidar, which was ruled over by a race of sentient, telepathic pterodactyls. Telepathic pterodactyls! What more do you need??? Well, it also has ape men, giants, and lizard men who ride dinosaurs. The world of Pullucidar is this concave earth style, with its own sun and moon. Due to the nature of a contained sun, there is no night except where a single moon holds a portion of the world in permanent eclipse. This also effects the passage of time, and different spots within he sphere pass time differently.
There are other uses, but these are the themes they usually revolve around, a prehistoric world where the rules aren’t always the same. I knew a lot of this, but the time thing is what interested me the most. That would be complicated to keep up with, but possibly very fascinating for a story.
What’s so great about the Hollow Earth is the ability to create an entirely alien vista right there in the backyard. It doesn’t have to be prehistory or lizardmen, it could be whatever you wanted it to be. Fill our planet with aliens, with alternate dimensions, mole people, Other or Eldritch Things.
The world of Virgil McDane is a complicated place, ripe with magic of every possible inkling. Basically, as I learn of new things or something sparks my interest, I incorporate them into his world in one form or another. While the Hollow Earth doesn’t feature too much in Sorcerer Rising (it does kinda, but you have to read it to find out how), it was one of my favorite things to incorporate into his world.
It’s just another of those places ripe with potential. I hope this gives someone an idea for their own story.