Thyra: A Romance of the Polar Pit


Date: 1901



A well-known lost race novel, regarded by many to be a minor classic of the genre. A party of explorers seeking the North Pole commandeer a stray balloon that takes them to a warm sub-surface land which has survived unchanged for millions of years.

It is inhabited by a mixture of prehistoric mammals and dinosaurs, a bestial, ape-like race, and civilization of lusty Norsemen, descendants of Viking who had discovered the land centuries before.

Using their rifles, the explorers save a young Norse girl, Thyra, and her brother, Rolf, from a giant cave bear and a group of unfriendly Norsemen who call themselves "Thorlings." Thyra's people, the Runefolk, grateful accept the outsiders among them, particularly the human Thord Borson, an Icelander who feels a natural kinship with this lost civilization.

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At the invitation of the treacherous king of the Thorlings, Hoding Grimeye, the explorers and a number of their Norse friends undertake a journey to visit his kingdom, where a gigantic idol of a prehistoric sea monster is worshipped jointly with the hideous beast-men. When they learn that they are to be sacrificed to the idol, the explorers destroy it, thereby precipitating a furious battle between the Norsemen and the enraged ape-men. The Norsemen are victorious, the living counterpart of the idol is faced and destroyed, and the Norsemen are freed from its terrible influence forever.

Six (should be seven) inserted plates, five with illustrations by E. L. Blumenschein and one plan. Lacks the plan facing 227 (it was never inserted into this copy)

Original decorated light blue cloth, front and spine panels stamped in black. First edition. This binding is considered by some bibliographers to be a secondary binding (following copies in dark blue cloth stamped in gilt) although there is no evidence to substantiate this assignation.

Octavo, pp. [1-8] 1-258 [259: blank] [260-263: ads] [264: blank]


Clareson, The Emergence of American Science Fiction: 1880-1915, pp. 146-47; Bleiler, Science-Fiction: The Early Years 171. Angenot and Khouri, "An International Bibliography of Prehistoric Fiction," SFS, VIII (March 1981), 41. Clareson, Science Fiction in America, 1870s-1930s 062. Howgego, Encyclopedia of Exploration: Invented and Apocryphal Narratives of Travel B23a. Locke, A Spectrum of Fantasy, p. 31. Sargent, British and American Utopian Literature, 1516-1985, p. 124. In 333. Bleiler (1978), p. 20. Reginald 01098.

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Publisher: New York: Henry Holt and Company,




ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-06-06

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