At the Earth's Core (1914)

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bison Books (2000)

Two morons decide to test a giant earth drill without letting anyone know about their plans, so when they accidentally burrow all the way to the center of the earth, no one knows they're missing or bothers to come look for them.  At the earth's core they discover a land called Pellucidar, an inversely spherical world surrounding a stationary sun.  No sooner do they arrive than ape-like creatures capture them for some Tarzan-style tree swinging.  Captured as slaves by a slightly more evolved species of savages, our narrator unwittingly insults a princess and will spend the next 200 pages in an improbable quest to rectify the situation.  Pellucidar is ruled by silent telepathic lizard people who, in the book's strangest interlude, enjoy hypnotizing their humanoid slaves to come in and out of the water so that they can munch on their limbs one at a time.  Our two intrepid explorers become slaves of the lizard people and discover that, like in Jurassic Park, they are all females who long ago dispensed of the male's part in procreation.  This is done through some type of "secret formula" that our narrator vows to steal from the lizard lab, thereby dooming them to extinction and allowing the humanoid primates to realize their "rightful" place in the evolutionary order.  There is a temporary escape from lizard land punctuated by fearsome combat with a variety of giant beasts, including a huge bear and a pterodactyl.  In the most wonderfully insane sequence, the narrator and his friends escape the lizard city by stuffing themselves inside the bodies of 3 slain reptiles and simply walking out unobserved.  The princess is discovered.  Hate turns to love.  Our narrator becomes the first emperor of the humans and leads a giant war against the lizards.  The end?  No, not a chance.  Our narrator realizes he is too stupid to win the war without more knowledge about technology and tactics, so he reverses the drill to go back to the surface for an encyclopedia.  As to the fate of man v. lizard, readers would just have to wait until the next book in the series. 

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