Friday, December 01, 2006

Our Local Authors

Our Local Authors

Dec.1, 1907
Los Angeles

The Times runs a small blurb on writer Willis George Emerson, noting that the National Magazine has begun serializing a new story, “The Smoky God.”

The Times notes: “The story has to do with the discovery of the North Pole, and inhabitants of the interior of the Earth. It is the supposed story of Olaf Jansen, a Swedish sailor, and is told by Mr. Emerson as selections from papers left by the adventurer.”

How lucky we are to live in the Google Age, for a quick search in Twikipedia (my custom search engine that excludes all the nonsense in Wikipedia and its commercial mirror sites) reveals the entire text online.  Apparently The Times correspondent didn’t review a copy of the manuscript or he would have discovered that the explorer was Norwegian and that Emerson framed the story by saying he had been given the documents by Olaf Jansen himself.

Another Twikipedia search reveals--oh, good Lord, don’t tell me people are taking this “hollow Earth” book seriously. It appears to be prototypical science fiction. An review calls it “A Classic in Hollow Earth Literature,” presumably a rather sparse genre.

Emerson was a prominent land developer, involved in the cities of Brawley and Calexico. His books include “Winning Winds,” “Fall of Jason,” “My Partner and I,” “The Builders,” “The Flock Master,” “American Valor” and “The Man Who Discovered Himself.”

His “Life’s Journey” was frequently quoted:

“To me, life is a highway, leading to a strange country where no milepost is passed a second time. It is bordered with green fields and countless flowers and leads from an unknown point of departure to an unknown point of arrival.”

“The important and timely moment of every life is ‘the now,’ and our deeds should make humanity conscious of our passing.”

Emerson died in December 1918 at his home, 2964 W. 7th St. He was 62.
e-mail: lmharnisch (AT)

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