Land of Terror [Book Review]

Published in 1944, Land of Terror was the sixth in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Pellucidar series. I’ve read none of the others, nor have I ever read his work before, but I grabbed this at a library sale because of its interesting cover in 2015.

cover of sci-fi novel Land of Terror by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Book Description

If you have ever wondered what a civilized man of the twentieth century would do if catapulted into an Old Stone Age where huge cave bears, saber-toothed tigers, monstrous carnivorous dinosaurs, mammoths, and mastodons roamed the savage terrain, you need look no further than Land of Terror, the sixth installment of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Pellucidar series.  Years ago David Innes and Abner Perry bored straight down through five hundred miles of the earth’s crust and landed in Pellucidar, the savage, primeval world that lies at the center of the earth. This is the story of their continuing adventures in the timeless land of perpetual noon and their encounters with the hideous creatures and savage men who pursue them. Although they encounter enemies at every turn, David and Abner find a few loyal friends as they embark on exhilarating adventures.

My Rating

giphy (4)

David Innes has traveled from our world into the center of the Earth, where he has become renowned, feared, and respected to many in the land of Pellucidar. Within the first few chapters, he finds himself lost, captive, and in search of his mate, Dian the Beautiful.

(I’ll save my comments on her heinously sexist title and one-dimensional characterization for another time.)

David braves a number of perils, from prehistoric creatures, to large, brutish, bearded clans of women, to a race of dark-skinned people whom he notes “treated us with far greater toleration here than our dark-skinned races are accorded on the outer crust.”

What can I say about this book? At first, I found myself bored. Then, a few pages in, I found myself halfway to enraged at what seemed to be the author’s disregard for women as a whole. Overall, though, I would say it was a pretty decent sci-fi/fantasy story.

I struggled with his seemingly childish racism, blatant sexism, and occasional mind-numbing superiority through this book, but I can say that, despite these failings, the story is there. When I wasn’t annoyed at his prejudices, I often found myself lost in this strange fantasy world of Burroughs’ imagining.

Will I read another of his books? Maybe one day. I give it three of five stars for keeping me engaged past the first few chapters.

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2 thoughts on “Land of Terror [Book Review]

  1. I don’t know of anyone else who has read any of these books! ‘Back to the Stone Age’ (book 5 in the series) was the first sci-fi book I ever read. It was so weird and cool, and I was totally hooked (not necessarily on this particular book or series, or even author – but on the genre as a whole). I have only ever read the one book, but I agree with your assessment – there are undoubtedly some cringeworthy aspects, but the story is definitely there!
    ~h

    1. I think a lot can be learned from these kinds of books, Heather; what to do in terms of story is a good one, and what not to do in terms of insensitivity is another. I’m still not sure if I would ever read another of the books, but I can say with sincerity that this book stuck with me.

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