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The Hollow Earth Ebook

My novel The Hollow Earth is now available as an ebook in Kindle format, with other formats to come.

I made up a new cover for the book, based on a painting of mine. The text is drawn from the excellent Monkeybrain Books edition of 2006, which had a great cover by John Picacio. The book has sold well, but some paperbacks are still available. You can also find links for that on my new page for The Hollow Earth .

I had some fun figuring out how to make an ebook edition I can read on my iPhone (using the free Kindle app). Lots of crashing through the web’s thickets.

Why an ebook release?

This weekend I was talking to my friend Rick Kleffel about my motivation for getting my books all online as e-books. And I had the insight that I do this to make my work more lasting. It requires steady vigilance and effort to keep one’s books in print. Only a tiny fraction of books remain in print for more than a year or two after the author’s death.

If your book is online, you’ve got a much better shot at reading readers twenty or a hundred years from now. If your online book is into the ebook stream, then publishers can continue distributing it and porting it to new platforms and file formats across the world for many years to come. Like Peter Bruegel’s “The Beekeepers,” shown above. And here is Mason Algiers Reynolds’s sketch of the Hollow Earth, allegedly discovered in the UC Berkeley library.

In an earlier post, “Writing the Hollow Earth,” I describe how I came to write the novel. And Mike Perschon has posted a 2009 interview with me about The Hollow Earth on his blog, Steampunk Scholar.

Enjoy! And leave your comments below.

9 Responses to “The Hollow Earth Ebook”

  1. Steve H Says:

    Rudy, that’s great. I’ve got HOLLOW EARTH in hardcopy but I’ll add the ebook to my collection just in case my hard drive is the only thing that survives mankind’s extermination . . .

  2. Rudy Says:

    Thanks, Steve. I reread HUCKLEBERRY FINN this month, which was what got me to thinking about THE HOLLOW EARTH again. I hadn’t read HUCK FINN since I read it in school, maybe in the 7th grade, and heard it again at boarding school Germany in the 8th grade when our counsellor read it to us boys in German. There really are some strong similarities between HUCK FINN and the HOLLOW EARTH, in both the main character is a boy who runs away from his home, going down a river with a runaway slave. I didn’t actually look at HUCK FINN when I was composing THE HOLLOW EARTH though. That “anxiety of influence” thing.

    Having seen the vexed reception of HUCK over the years, I knew enough to hold back on the casual use of the n-word, and not to overdo the dialect. And I pushed the race thing further by having Otha turn out to be Mason’s brother…and then having Mason himself turn into a black person as a result of his passage through the core of the Hollow Earth.

    This month, going back to HUCK, it’s been fun to see how Twain lets it rip. The dialect really is kind of great, he has four or five different accents in there, all quite convincing. And the two charlatans, the king and the duke, are classic. Wonderful nature descriptions—of course Huck’s description of the Mississippi at dawn is known as a classic, but there are great images of storms as well. Huck and Jim are both so warm and kind. The book is also very funny in spots even now.

    Like so many other readers, I find the Tom Sawyer character a little insufferable, but this time I realized Twain uses him to set up a contrast between the truly lived adventures of grungy Huck and the imagined adventures of the cossetted Tom. Twain used to say that he himself was the model for Tom. Tom Sawyer as worldbuilding author?

    Another thing I was realizing about HUCKLEBERRY FINN is that the book is a satire, in the sense of FLATLAND or GULLIVER’S TRAVELS. None of the characters actually speaks for Twain, none of them is really “right” about everything, each of them has an imperfect view of the world.

  3. Brendan Says:

    I have no doubt you’ll disagree with this, but an old professor of mine, H. Mark Roelofs, claimed that HUCK FINN was the greatest American novel because it was the most all-consuming satire, and that, until some kind of perfect state was achieved, greatness in fiction was only possible through anger. I tend to agree with him, and I hold HUCK FINN above the other obvious, and the nonobvious.

  4. Rudy Says:

    Brendan, I’ve often heard that line about HUCK FINN being the greatest American novel, which is one reason I wanted to reread it. It’s not so much that it’s good, but also that it treats a big theme, and that its use of dialect and a lowly viewpoint was an innovation.

    I think Hemingway said all American lit comes out of Huck, which gives the line a kind of imprimatur. But keep in mind that English profs don’t necessarily read that many books once they’re out of school!

    I’d put NAKED LUNCH, ON THE ROAD, and GRAVITY’S RAINBOW up for the best American novels, myself. But such judgements are totally time-bound and personal

    For that matter, re. HUCK FINN and HOLLOW EARTH, you can guess which of the two I’d vote for! 🙂

  5. Steve H Says:

    My wife used to teach HUCK FINN and SIDDHARTHA together; one goes down the river for adventure while the other waits for the river to bring life to him. Got some interesting responses out of the students.

  6. Gabriel McCann Says:

    I can still remember after finishing this book when it was first published with this cover:
    writing to the Special Collections Section at the University of Virginia Library in Charlottesville as from one person who worked in a library
    to another explaining about your book and asking them what manuscript
    *PS2964.S88S8 in the Edgar Allan Poe collection actually was and getting a nice letter back telling me what it was and also that no they didn’t have your book in their library but would probably buy a copy now which they seem to have done.
    They also have a few extra copies it seems including a signed one now:
    This was long before the internet was a commonplace way to find out these sort of things and was all done using snail mail so it took quite a while to do and gave a couple of library workers something different to do for a change.

  7. ChuckEye Says:

    Have you ever considered releasing anything under the Non-Commercial Share Alike license from Creative Commons? Just curious how you’d feel about explicitly allowing non-commercial derivative works (fan fic, fan films, etc). And Share Alike would mean any new content they created in your world, could then be used non-commercially by other fans as well. I know it looks like a can of worms, but sometimes you’re in the mood for spaghetti, right?

  8. Rudy Says:

    ChuckEye, I have thought of the share alike license, but I see potential pitfalls and not enough of an upside. In reality, I think people are fairly free to create fan fic and fan films in any case, and if there were some specific project someone had in mind, I’d be glad to discuss it with them informally. And now as ebooks are getting to be more of a viable medium, I’m not so interested in releasing any CC editions at all.

  9. Rudy Says:

    Gabriel McCann, that’s a nice story. I always wondered if any research librarians WOULD pick up on my hoaxing “info” at the back of THE HOLLOW EARTH. I think that call number I gave was in fact the number of an old Symmes-influenced book about a trip to the hollow earth. I well remember what a pleasant room they had for the Poe collection downstairs in the U Va libe.

    And, yeah, looking at your links, I now remember that at some point I actually sent a manuscript of my HOLLOW EARTH to the Poe collection to kind of round out the loop of causation…and I see by the link that item is in the collection. Hi, Eddie.

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