Journey to the Underground World by Lin Carter



So after the last Kane novel I was determined to start reading a different genre and I did, but I did not venture far. I had mentioned Lin Carter in a previous post and that got me to thinking about his works. I had read a number of his books years ago but was wondering how much he had written.

While looking at his bio on Wikipedia I found that he had a much larger body of work than I had expected and in more genres. So I was looking at some of them on Amazon and found the Zanathon Megapack, and I mean who can resist a pack, much less a MEGAPACK!!?? It is a series of five books about the exploits of adventurer Eric Carstairs and Professor Percival P. Potter (multiple Ph.Ds) in Zanthodon, an underground world that they discover in the Sahara.

It is much in the vein of a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard and other authors’ lost world type stores. Action comes fast and furious and you don’t have time to think about the last cliff hanger because another one is just pages away. Good mindless fun, aimed at a younger audience.

As with any reader, particularly of Sci-fi and fantasy, I am pretty good at suspending disbelief. If the writer has created a world that has a good overall system where people’s actions make sense, the use of magic follows rules and a host of other items I can believe a great deal in the context of the book’s world environment. I think Carter failed with Journey to the Underground World, the first book in the megapack.

Ok, due to the type of adventure I can believe that they took a helicopter through a narrow hole in the earth and few100 miles straight down. Harder to believe that in a few seconds the pilot trained a non pilot how to fly so that he could take a nap, but ok, it crashes in the end so I can swallow it.


Dinosaurs from different periods of the earth. Ok that is part of the basic tenant of the book. Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals living in the lost world. Check. Ice age animals. Ok. Eternal sunlight. Gotcha. I mean it is all context driven and this is really just a fast action adventure story.

However the one item that really threw me was the day that Darya, one of the most beautiful women to ever live (and a Cro-Magnon) has. First she escapes from slavers (Neanderthals), and then is sexually assaulted but fights the man off, to be captured by a pterodactyl and carried to its nest to feed its young. She manages to escape only to be cornered by a cave huge cave bear, from which she also escapes. Then she escapes from the seemingly inescapable mountain that she is on, locally called one of the Peaks of Peril. Ok I can suspend my disbelief for this because it’s this type of action that makes these adventure books flow.


It is what she does next that throws me. Alone, no shelter or food, unarmed in an area controlled by the slavers, an area that she can only have the vaguest idea of where she is and how to get home. What is his first action? Well to strip naked and take a bath of course. And then be captured by Barbary Coast pirates. Nope you lost me there.

Sadly it could just be that I am too old for this type of story. O well, I got the entire MEGAPACK for less than a buck so I think I did get my money’s worth.

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