Publisher: Transit Lounge
John Kinsella engages in a science-fantasy exploration of cultural blindness with his latest novel. Hollow Earth utilises an Edwardian style and narrative viewpoint to satirise modern cultural values. Kinsella combines two of the oldest satirical tropes in fantastical fiction—the hollow Earth and the Swiftian journey—as he sends his surface and underworld protagonists on a journey of discovery across a compromised and morally desolate mirror of our own world. A Candide-like loss of innocence soon follows. Kinsella imbues his tale with a lilting, poetic, and slightly old-world turns of phrase, highlighting the passing of older values and turning a sharply satirical eye on those that have replaced them. Ultimately, the journey, like the task of reclamation and reparation attempted by the novel’s protagonist, proves fruitless. But, as in much of Kinsella’s narrative works, the narrative journey is not the point. Hollow Earth is a tableau against which Kinsella can demonstrate his vast love of language in scoring multiple philosophical points about our current climate and cultural conflicts.