Cyberpunk fiction pioneer and old-school bOING bOING pal Rudy Rucker has just finished "Return to the Hollow Earth," the sequel to his fantastic 1990 novel The Hollow Earth, a wonderful and rollicking adventure story filled with weird science, curious creatures, and Edgar Allan Poe. Rudy is publishing the new novel himself along with a revised third edition of the original book and the book-length Notes for Return to the Hollow Earth. Get in on the freaky scene by supporting Return To The Hollow Earth on Kickstarter!
In The Hollow Earth, we meet our narrator Mason Reynolds, a seventeen-year-old youth from 1850. He leaves his father's Virginia farm with the black Otha, befriends the dissolute Edgar Allan Poe, and falls through a thousand-mile-deep hole in Antarctica. Within the Hollow Earth Mason woos and wins Seela, who lives upon a giant flower.
At the core of the Hollow Earth they find the sky-surfing tribe known as the black gods. Nearby are a cluster of great sea cucumbers, who are known as the woomo. Otha stays at the core. Mason, Seela, and Poe make their way out through the crust and back to Earth. Due to their time in the strong light of the woomo, their skins are now black. At the end it seems as if Poe dies. This third edition of The Hollow Earth is lightly revised so as to fit with the sequel.
Return to the Hollow Earth is once again in the steampunk mode, with young Mason as our narrator. In 1850, Mason and Seela embark upon a perilous trip around Cape Horn to San Francisco. Their ship sinks, but they're saved by a tentacled, flying nautilus—and now they learn that Poe's not dead after all. Poe leads them on a return voyage to the Hollow Earth, passing through the throat of a thousand-mile-deep maelstrom at the North Pole. In the Hollow Earth, they learn that the woomo sea cucumbers mean to send them them on a epic mission across space and time. And the initial stage of this mission brings them to Santa Cruz, California—in the year 2018!
(Book jackets by Georgia Rucker; Paintings by Rudy Rucker)