Hollow Earth by Rudy Rucker

I bought this book used from Powell’s Book Store in Portland, it is a bit beat up but I think that is fitting condition for this story.

I was lucky enough to meet Rudy Rucker at a DragonCon years ago. At the time I did not know who he was but he was on a panel with William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, and Anton Wilson talking about the future of the future. Out of all the panelist what he had to say the most interesting. Shortly after that panel I made my way through his Software, Wetware, Hardware books, along with a horror story that gave me a week of nightmares.

A couple of years later I found a book named “Gnarl!” which is full of short stories that combine fiction, science, and. Several of the stories I had to reread over and over again to feel like I understood them, a few I eventual gave up on ever understanding. I really enjoyed being challenged by those stories; it may have been the first time my mind was stretched in that way by a book of fiction. Good stuff.

The easiest way I can describe Hollow Earth is Tom Sawyer meets Edgar Allen Poe in a story written by Jules Vern. At its heart this is an adventure book about a boy in 1800’s America traveling with his boyhood companion who happens to be a family slave beginning in rural Virginia, making their way to Richmond, and then into the center of the Earth and back out the other side.

I enjoyed reading this book, but it did not draw me in the way other Rudy Rucker books have. The pacing was slow, the dialog did not always flow, it just didn’t work for me.

From the publisher:

In 1836, Mason Algiers Reynolds leaves his family’s Virginia farm with his father’s slave, a dog, and a mule. Branded a murderer, he finds sanctuary with his hero, Edgar Allan Poe, and together they embark on an extraordinary expedition to the South Pole, and the entrance to the Hollow Earth. It is there, at the center of the world, where strange physics, strange people, and stranger creatures abound, that their bizarre adventures truly begin.

I rate this book a 5 out of 10 and recommend it to any fans of Rudy Rocker, for those unfamiliar with him I recommend reading Gnarl!

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