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"Niels Klim's Underground Travels" is a 1741 book by the Norwegian-Danish author Ludvig Holberg.
Holberg thought religion should be questioned, Europeans were big headed, nobility was ridicules, and women should have equal rights, and he put all those opinions in this satirical fantasy/science fiction story.
It's about Niels Klim who after studying in Denmark for many years, returns to Norway but falls though a deep hole in a cave. It turns out there's a whole solar system inside the Earth with it's own sun and planets. He lands on one of them where he meets many different species.
First he meets a tree-like people who live in an utopian society.
Being a European (white), Christian, well-educated man, Niels thinks he's hot shit and should get an important job with the king, but he quickly learns that non of those things mean anything to them. They have no idea what a European is so they just see him as a form of monkey, they believe in a higher power but also that this power can never be known so no religion is better than the other, his education is useless in their eyes because he spent a lot of time studying many things but never became the master of even one of them, and men and women have equal rights because they strongly believe that the most qualified should get a job and not be held back by their birth (He first learns this when he meets a very respected female judge). On top of that, they tell him he wouldn't be a good leader, maybe even a bad one.
Instead they "normalize" him by teaching him their language and dressing him up like them. Because he has long legs and can walk faster than them he's sent out into the country to write about the various less utopian provinces. His book becomes very popular, but when he still doesn't get a promotion he notice one of the highest positions in the country is taken by a woman so he suggest to the king that women should be stripped of all power. The king is not impressed with this suggestion. In fact Niels is exiled from the country and sent to a nearby land ruled by monkeys.
This monkey land is ruled by foolish, vain, jealous, and spiteful creatures. They too dress him like them (even giving him a fake tail) and he manages to reach nobility and a great deal of power by introducing them to wigs like those in Europe. Unfortunately the queen falls in love with him, and when he denies her because he doesn't want to sleep with a monkey she tells her husband he tried to rape her. As punishment he is made a slave on a ship.
During his sea travels he visits various strange countries, eventually ending up in a land run by animals. A pig woman lusts after him and his master tells him to sleep with her, but when he refuse she attacks the ship and everybody has to flee. In the panic they end up in a storm and the ship sinks.
He is saved by a people that looks like dark-skinned humans and he helps them achieve greatness through war. They make him their emperor but like the tree people predicted he doesn't make a good leader. He is blinded by power and becomes a tyrant killing people for looking at him wrong, and is eventually chased out of the country. While hiding he falls through another hole, through the planet and is flung back up through the original hole, back to Norway. Here he is told he has been gone for 12 years.
Christians aren't exactly known for being the most peaceful thing ever, you know.
I haven't read "Niels Klim's Underground Travels" myself (I mainly just know about it because it was mentioned in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher"). Perhaps I should...
and I've downloaded the Gutenberg version for my Tolino... it looks awesome!
are there swedish or english editions of this?