Friday, January 09, 2009

Hollow Earth

I'm happy to report that I'm back working on my novel, after the two-week mental and physical implosion known as the holidays. Well, sort of back. I'm doing some research (aka procrastinating) by reading Hollow Earth by David Standish. I bought it for Trev a couple of years ago, and he just cracked it open for the first time, looking for a reference to City of Ember, a book that's been turned into a movie with Bill Murray--who knew?--and which he watched on the plane back from Cleveland. That reference does not exist. However, it dawned on me that my novel includes some hollow earth--what do you call it, theory? imagery?--so I picked it up. It's fascinating. One of many things I didn't know: ground zero for nineteenth-century hollow-earth thinking is...Ohio! John Cleves Symmes, he of the critically important Symmes's Holes (oh! there's a Museum of Hoaxes!), is buried in Hamilton, and his sidekick / rival Jeremiah Reynolds was born in southwestern Ohio. It was Reynolds's name that issued repeatedly from Edgar Allan Poe's dying lips--why, evidently no one knows. But his and Symmes's ideas of polar exploration leading to voyages into the earth's interior inspired Poe's Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. Which is one hell of a narrative. Also ape men are big in underground narratives; there's a Bigfoot figure, in the form of a large, hairy shepherd, in Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth.

It also occurs to me that on our flight to Cleveland for Thanksgiving, they showed Journey to the Center of the Earth. Twice. (SFO-Houston, Houston-CLE). What is with Continental Airlines and the hollow earth? Will they be adding Symzonia to their route map?

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