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October 11 , 2007

At the Earth's Core



At the Earth's Core is a 1914 fantasy novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in his series about the fictional "hollow earth" land of Pellucidar. It first appeared as a four-part serial in All-Story Weekly from April 4–25, 1914. It was first published in book form in hardcover by A. C. McClurg in July, 1922. The author relates how, traveling in the Sahara desert, he has encountered a remarkable vehicle and its pilot, David Innes, a man with a remarkable story to tell. Back in the world we know David meets the author, who after hearing his tale and seeing his prehistoric captive, helps him resupply and prepare the mole for the return to Pellucidar. PROLOG: IN THE FIRST PLACE PLEASE BEAR IN MIND THAT I do not expect you to believe this story. Nor could you wonder had you witnessed a recent experience of mine when, in the armor of blissful and stupendous ignorance, I gaily narrated the gist of it to a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society on the occasion of my last trip to London. You would surely have thought that I had been detected in no less a heinous crime than the purloining of the Crown Jewels from the Tower, or putting poison in the coffee of His Majesty the King. The erudite gentleman in whom I confided congealed before I was half through!—it is all that saved him from exploding—and my dreams of an Honorary Fellowship, gold medals, and a niche in the Hall of Fame faded into the thin, cold air of his arctic atmosphere. But I believe the story, and so would you, and so would the learned Fellow of the Royal Geological Society, had you and he heard it from the lips of the man who told it to me. Had you seen, as I did, the fire of truth in those gray eyes; had you felt the ring of sincerity in that quiet voice; had you realized the pathos of it all—you, too, would believe. You would not have needed the final ocular proof that I had—the weird rhamphorhynchus-like creature which he had brought back with him from the inner world. I came upon him quite suddenly, and no less unexpectedly, upon the rim of the great Sahara Desert. He was standing before a goat-skin tent amidst a clump of date palms within a tiny oasis. Close by was an Arab douar of some eight or ten tents.
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