To Prof. Venable, who reviewed the manuscript of this work, I am indebted for many valuable suggestions, and I can not speak too kindly of him as a critic. The illustrations, excepting those mechanical and historical, making in themselves a beautiful narrative without words, are due to the admirable artistic conceptions and touch of Mr. Augustus Knapp. Structural imperfections as well as word selections and phrases that break all rules in composition, and that the care even of Prof. Venable could not eradicate, I accept as wholly my own.
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Take a Victorian scifi premise, say, a trip to the center of the earth, and by the way, it's hollow. Add a tale of a soul condemned by the Illuminati to a perilous underground quest to find the Goddess of Love spoiler alert: spell Aphrodite backwards.
Top it off with a wild magic mushroom trip. That's Etidorhpa! This may be the very source of the 'adepts living in hollow earth who abduct humans' meme, later developed by Ray Palmer , and many others. The book is larded with long passages of speculative science. The structure of the hollow earth and the effects of gravitation at various places is much better worked out than some of the 'nonfiction' hollow earth books e.
Reed or Gardner. The journey of 'I-am-the-man' is a not-so-subtle allegory of spiritual progression to being a disembodied adept.
Along the way he loses his youth, loses sunlight, becomes weightless, stops breathing, can hear without ears, then his heart stops, Each of this steps is symbolic of a progression to a more ethereal plane of existence. At times, the narrative recursion is three levels deep. This is an acquired taste. Sprague de Camp called Etidorpha 'unreadable.
Except for the titular Etidorhpa, there are no female characters. And she only appears briefly in a hallucination.
Why such a small part in the book? Other genre novels, such as Atlantida and The Lost Continent , are driven by strong female characters. And once the main character is inside the hollow earth, it just halts.
He doesn't even get to meet Etidorhpa again. Whether the author ran out of steam, or the ending was only supposed to be implied, is unknown.
Etidorhpa or End Earth
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Etidorhpa: Strange History of a Mysterious Being and an Incredible Journey Inside the Earth
Etidorhpa, or, the end of the earth: the strange history of a mysterious being and the account of a remarkable journey is the title of a scientific allegory or science fiction novel by John Uri Lloyd , a pharmacognocist and pharmaceutical manufacturer of Cincinnati , Ohio. The word "Etidorhpa" is the backward spelling of the name " Aphrodite. Eventually a popular success, the book had eighteen editions and was translated into seven languages. Drury's adventure culminates in a trek through a cave in Kentucky into the core of the earth. Ideas presented in Etidorhpa include practical alchemy , secret Masonic orders, the Hollow Earth theory, and the concept of transcending the physical realm. Etidorhpa belongs to a subgenre of fiction that shares elements of science fiction, fantasy , utopian fiction , and scientific or pseudoscientific speculation. It imagined another world in the center of a hollow earth.