Rudy Rucker has written forty books, both pop science and SF novels in the cyberpunk and transreal styles. He received Philip K. Dick awards for his Software and Wetware. He worked as a professor of computer science in Silicon Valley. He paints works relating to his tales. His stories can be read online his Complete Stories webpage. His for coming novel Juicy Ghosts is about telepathy, immortality, and assassinating an evil, insane President who has stolen an election. Rudy blogs at

The Hollow Earth & Return to the Hollow Earth by Rudy Rucker

Suppose Earth is hollow, like a tennis ball. And you're weightless in there! The wondrous Hollow Earth holds jungles, seas, native tribes, flying pigs, killer nautiluses, giant ants, and live flying saucers. Godlike sea cucumbers at the Hollow Earth's core illuminate the great spherical space with branching rays of pink light. In The Hollow Earth, our young narrator Mason Reynolds leaves his farm, accompanied by Black Otha. He befriends the dissolute Edgar Allan Poe, and falls through a thousand-mile hole in the ice of Antarctica with Otha. Astounding adventures ensue. Return to the Hollow Earth kicks off during Gold Rush San Francisco, Mason and his pregnant wife Seela embark on a return voyage to the Hollow Earth with, once again, Edgar Allan Poe, riding a balloon through a vast maelstrom at the North Pole. The god-like sea cucumbers at the Earth's core have a startling plan. When Mason and Seela return to the Earth's surface, they're in modern day Santa Cruz, California.



  • "It's more fun than anything I've read in I don't know how long, and it's certainly the reigning king of the 'hollow Earth' novels. Rucker has an enviable imagination, an astonishing ear for language, and a rare sense of proportion and humor. I wish books like this would come along more often."

    – James P. Blaylock.
  • "Rudy has written the Great American Science Fiction Novel."

    – Marc Laidlaw.
  • "Rudy Rucker seldom repeats himself. Consequently, when Rucker does venture back to previously explored territory, you can be fairly confident that there's good reason. This is certainly true in the current case, as he returns, after nearly thirty years, to the steampunk milieu of his 1990 novel The Hollow Earth. … The two books co-exist quite harmoniously, despite the large gap of years twixt their composition. The blending of typical Ruckerian cosmological insanity with 19th-century mindsets proves to be a stimulating concoction. Toss in some time-travel frissons at the end, when some metafictional stagecraft happens, and you have a book that is dense with the kind of intellectual "eyeball kicks" for which Rucker is justly famous. It's a tribute to the wild-eyed tales of Poe and his peers that is also an up-to-the-minute 21st-century SF production."

    – Paul Di Filippo in┬áLocus Online



I went to Poe's funeral yesterday. There was a minister, four mourners, and a grave digger. The grave digger called me a black bastard and chased me off. Otha should have been there to see.

Eddie wanted to write the account of our "unparalleled journey," but he's dead any way you look at it and Otha's in the Umpteen Seas. That leaves me and Seela living as penniless, free Baltimore Negroes, with the winter of 1849 coming soon. I'm writing as fast as I can.

My name is Mason Algiers Reynolds. I am a white man; I am a Virginia gentleman. My unparalleled journey started thirteen years ago, when I left my father's farm in Hardware, Virginia. There were five of us on the farm: Pa, me, Otha, Luke, and Turl.

I woke in the dark that last day at home. I'd been dreaming about being buried alive. The dream was tedious more than it was scary. In the dream I couldn't see anything; I could just hear and feel. First there was the noise of the folks praying over me, and then came the bumping of the coffin being carried out and lowered into the ground. There were some hymns, and then they shoveled the dirt in on me and it was nothing but black.

Right after I woke up, everything felt like a coffin—my bed, my room, Pa's farm. But then I got happy, remembering that I was fifteen and that tomorrow I would drive the wagon to town.

I got up to pee out the window. The moon was low, and the predawn breeze brought the smell of rainsoft fields. We'd made it through another winter, we Reynoldses, and tomorrow was today. Pa was sending me and Otha to Lynchburg to sell three barrels of whiskey.