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January 3, 2012 / Wythe

Inspiration: Hollow Earths

One big inspiration for my post-future setting is the notion of a “hollow earth” (or really any secret, wormed-out, ungrounded earth).  Here are a few links to particulars re this inspirational vector:

  • Of course there’s the classic Mystara setting, which I grew up with, the one with such sweeeeet maps (with five Es, yes)!
  • This awesome, awesome, definitive book by David Standish about various hollow-earth theories, including the O.G. one (courtesy Sir Edmond “Hella Comets” Halley), Poe’s, Symmes’s, and of course that of the Koreshans
  • Agharta – a classic philosophical fiction (theory fiction?) about the hollow earth. Sadly kind of a terrible read. But its map is a classic for a reason, with its vulval side-view of the earth’s crust (so similar to the universal symbol for power)…
  • This, uh, sincere-seeming website I just found – yes, let’s go on a journey through our hollow earth together!
  • My own doodlings/ramblings re the Hollow Earth, one of which is now exhibited in an artistic setting (and shown below). I have a half-started (= ~25 page down) novel about the hollow earth. One day…
  • Metamorphosis Alpha! Yes! It’s an earth-ship, a hollow, broken, inside-out space simulating earth…
  • Hell >> [amazing maps…]
  • Aaaand of course: Cyclonopedia – a book of exhumations, excavations, wars fought in tunneled-out cities, feyadeen hidden in caves…

There are problems with this notion, of course—mainly that it tends to attract proponents of a sort of ultra-Manifest Destiny, people who want to leave what we have (which is often difficult, which is necessarily various) for some imaginary “pure” “inner” place, the “original” Eden, the land of the ancient astronauts, etc.

Because of this problematizing tendency with all “hollow earths,” I make sure to complicate my own interpretations, to add more/contrasting/unconventional elements. Meaning, you go down there in my DnD game, you ain’t gon’ find no super nice “pure” aliens… You’re gonna find some scary fucking cave dinosaurs.

So now, Dear Reader, how can I have my hollow cake and eat that cake too? [Meaning, how can I use the hollow earth more in 100 Million Years.] These aren’t mutually exclusive strategies:

  • Either Luna or Tsune [earth’s second, smaller moon] is hollow
  • Earth is wormed-out (NEMAT…)
  • Earth is layered, stochastically: Working down reveals more “Underdarks,” more and more levels of weird (a la Verne—all the way down to the Magma Men and albino cave dinosaurs)
  • Earth is layered, synchronously: Working down reveals more living states from previous eras—some splinter-satrapy of Old Tephnia alive, two hundred miles beneath the desert—Paratephnia, perhaps…
  • Earth is pregnant with a smaller earth!
  • Earth is surrounded by a Dyson sphere or other cocooning ultrastructure
  • Or… I can always scrap my work so far and start again based on this righteously weird map I drew:

And no, I have no idea why I haven’t bought Hollow Earth Expedition yet. (Note for upcoming Giftgiving Holidays, friends/fam.)

Anyone else running a game inspired by/within a hollow/concave setting?

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