The Hollow Earth

What if Edgar Allan Poe journeyed to the center of the Earth with a farm boy, a slave named Otho, a dog named Arf and a mule named Dammit? What if he encountered there such wonders as mile-wide technicolor flowers, giant, floating, light tentacled brain jellyfish, pig-whales and ebon gods who speak through telepathy? This book is like the tall tales of the gold rush on some serious hallucinogens.

Don't get me wrong-- I think Rudy Rucker has some charm when it comes to his writing, but some of the things that come out of his brain swing by and slam you right out of left field. On the whole, this piece was good, impressive in its own right, and very, very weird, even if it did drag a little in places. The biggest detractor to the awesomeness of this book is probably also its most impressive attribute-- its intelligence, the way that it steeps the reader thoroughly in the Virginia of 1836 to set the tone. Too bad almost half of the book is set-up and only the second half is the actual journey through the hollow earth.

But don't let that detract you from picking up a copy. Rucker's work is interesting and definitely worth a read. Fans of Steampunk will find some interest in this piece, but don't expect any industrial-techno-retro marvels. This one is straight up 1830's.

All in all, four stars out of five.

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