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Hollow Earth

This is a fascinating and beautifully illustrated cultural history of ideas about what might exist under the Earth's surface. 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 varied 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 throughout, it features a wide collection of artwork 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 plus film posters and much more. Unique and fascinating, "Hollow Earth" will appeal to readers of many sorts: those interested in the history of science, religion, utopian fiction and real-life experiments, sci-fi fans, film buffs and those intrigued by the remarkable evolution of ideas over the centuries.
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About the Author

David Standish is the author of The Art of Money and has written for Smithsonian, Audubon, Esquire, Outside, Travel & Leisure, Playboy, and Chicago magazine. He lives in Chicago.


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."

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