Up From Pellucidar
Series: Pellucidar fan fiction
Reviewed date: 2019 Sep 12
Richard Senate switches ERB's standard Pellucidar formula around. Jason Innes, son of Emperor David Innes of Pellucidar, travels from that inner world to the outer world, where he finds himself caught up in a civil war in Central America.
Jason was supposed to end up in Ohio to purchase some medicine for his ill mother, but the Iron Mole's guidance system is not precise. Instead he emerges in a Central American jungle where he's immediately accosted by an armed band of guerillas. And here we get to my main disappointment with the story.
Things happen to Jason Innes, but he never does anything that affects the plotline.
Jason shinnies up a tree and is rescued by the army
The guerrillas take Jason for a gringo Americano and they are none too happy: "We hunt El Presidente's soldiers and dog Americanos who help the despot." The rebel leader, Lorenzo de Gaspar, threatens to kill Jason, so a fight ensues. Jason ends up cornered in a tree and is about to meet his doom when El Presidente's soldiers arrive and drive off the rebels.
Jason escapes from the army
The soldiers assume Jason was helping the rebels, so they arrest him and throw him into the back of a truck. On the ride back to the city, Jason talks to another captive, a woman named Maria de Gaspar. She explains that the rebel guerrillas are fighting to break the power of the tyrannical President. Her brother Lorenzo (lately of trying-to-kill-Jason fame) is a leader among the rebels. In the only useful action Jason takes in the entire story, he undoes his restraints, knocks out the guard, releases Maria, and then they both jump out of the moving truck.
Maria leads Jason to a safehouse, where he learns the details of the political situation. The President was elected by promising everything to everybody, but once he got into power he turned authoritarian. He imprisoned the Vice President and all who opposed him, and with support from the army and the powerful American banana industry, he ruled the nation with an iron fist.
Jason walks into a trap
Jason doesn't care about dictators in central American. All Jason wants is medicine for his mother back in Pellucidar, so Maria agrees to help him. They go to the hospital to get some antibiotics, but it's a trap. The army is there. Jason is arrested and thrown into prison.
Jason Innes sits in prison and is rescued by Jason Gridley
Jason, being useless and passive, sits around in prison. The American ambassador comes to see him, and all Jason can think of is to ask for a message to be sent to Jason Gridley in California. Then he waits some more. While he's being useless in prison, Jason Gridley orchestrates a coup in this small Central American country, deposes El Presidente, and breaks Jason Innes out of prison.
Jason hides when trouble breaks out
Jason is a hero of the republic, so before he boards the Iron Mole and returns to Pellucidar, President Sanchez--the former Vice President--wishes to give him a medal. During the ceremony, shots are fired: someone is trying to assassinate Sanchez! Jason quickly spots the would-be assassin and kills him. No, wait, that's not right. Actually Jason grabs Maria and escapes into the safety of the Iron Mole. Yeah, hiding. That's what a hero does.
Down to Pellucidar!
Maria starts the Iron Mole, and soon she and Jason are in Pellucidar. They are far from Jason's home, and are quickly spotted by Korsars.
Maria the Negotiator
Jason is useless, so Maria comes up with a plan. She threatens and bribes the Korsars: if they return Jason to the Empire of Pellucidar back in Sari, they'll get heaps of gold. Also, Maria suggests an alliance and a trade agreement between the Korsar Brotherhood and the Empire of Pellucidar. She's quite the diplomat and a persuasive negotiator, is Maria. Jason is useful not because he does anything (he doesn't) but only because he's the son of Emperor David Innes and his presence makes Maria's proposals seem genuine.
Korsar Treachery, Jason's Passivity
The Korsars take Maria and Jason to their capital city to talk things over with their supreme leader, The Cid. While they're there, Maria falls in love with Rey, The Cid's son; a woman named Maja takes a shine to Jason. The Cid agrees to Maria's proposal: they will agree to an alliance with Emperor David Innes. The Cid gives Rey a ship and directs him to take Maria and Jason to Sari to negotiate the treaty. Maja joins them. But not all the Korsars want this new peace. First Mate Brujo leads a mutiny against Captain Rey, which Jason does nothing to stop. Jason, Rey, Maria, and Maja are set adrift in a tiny boat. They're rescued by a fishing boat and eventually make their to Sari. Jason still has the medicines, and his mother is quickly healed.
Jason the Spectator, Maja the Hero
The entire war fleet of the Korsar Brotherhood arrives at Sari. The fleet of the Empire readies for battle. Rey, determined to avert war and seal an alliance, sails out to meet the war fleet. Jason, Maria, and Maja join him. Now we get to the climax of the entire book: an epic duel.
The epic duel is between Rey and Brujo. Useless Jason stands and watches the swordfight. When it's clear Brujo is losing, Brujo pulls a pistol and shoots--at Jason! Maja heroically jumps in front of the bullet, saving Jason's life.
A recap of Jason's uselessness
Our hero, Jason, has managed to get cornered by rebel guerrillas, taken prisoner by the army of a brutal dictator, has walked into a trap, sat around in prison while Gridley orchestrated a revolution in a central American country, gotten kidnapped by Korsars and let Maria negotiate their way out of being slaughtered, failed to prevent a mutiny, been rescued by a fishing boat, stood around and watched a duel, and now, finally, let a woman take a bullet for him. Yeah.
Maja doesn't die, she pulls through. The Empire of Pellucidar and the Korsar Brotherhood agree to a peaceful alliance. Jason and Maja end up together, as do Rey and Maria. It's a happy ending all around.
Except that Maria suspects there are Nazis in Pellucidar. But that's a story for a sequel.