I remember an old novel about people trying to rejuvenate a planet (probably Mars?) by drilling a big hole down to its core and setting a great deal of bombs (probably atomic bombs?) inside. Probably to resurrect its geothermal energy or magnetic field. Could you help me identifying this novel?

EDIT: As far as I can remember:

  • The book I read was a translated book published in 80-90s. So the original novel would be older. It might be partially translated to tone down the story suitable for children.
  • The people are desparate because if they fail, the planet would remain inhabitable.
  • The hole on the planet, maybe it was already there before the story starts, abandoned by former settlers of the planet. (I'm not sure about this.)
  • I think the story ends as

    they successfully detonate the core

    but I'm not sure this is really how the story ends, since it might be a partial translation.

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    – Skooba
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 18:18
  • 1
    This actually bears some resemblance to the movie, At the Core, except they didn't use a borehole, they had a digger that could handle the heat and pressure by reflecting it back out.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 18:51
  • @ZeissIkon It is also very similar to "The Core" which is one of those so-bad-its-good movies like The Room. I wanna say all of these draw from the same source material. Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 19:41
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    Sounds like you're misremembering "City at World's End" by Edmond Hamilton; the details except those regarding the headline idea are different... Commented Oct 4, 2019 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


If the planet to be rejuvenated is the Earth in the far future, you could be thinking of City at World's End, a 1950 novel by Edmund Hamilton which was also the answer to this old question. What language did you read it in? The ISFDB list of translations (possibly incomplete) includes German (1952), French (1952), Portuguese (1954), Japanese (1965), French (1974), Italian (1976), and Spanish (2012). The English text is available at manybooks.net. The original magazine version (probably shorter) in Startling Stories, July 1950 is available at the Internet Archive. Here are some excerpts from the story.

The deep hole:

They had suddenly emerged into a railed gallery in a vast underground chamber. The narrow gallery was the brink of an abysmal pit—a great, circular shaft that dropped into unplumbed blackness. Kenniston stared puzzledly. He saw that big conduits led upward out of the pit, and then diverged in all directions.

"The slightly warmer air comes up from this shaft," Hubble said, nodding toward the pit. He added, "I know it sounds impossible, in our engineering experience. But I believe this shaft goes downward many, many miles. I believe it goes down to Earth's core."

"The Earth's core is incredibly hot!" Kenniston objected.

"It was hot, millions of years ago," Hubble corrected. "And as it grew cooler, as the surface grew cold, they built this domed city and maybe others like it—and sank a great shaft downward to bring up heat from the core. But Earth's core is even cooler now, almost cold. And there is only a trifle of heat from it to warm the city a little."

"So that's why they couldn't live here any more—it was the Earth heat they depended on, and that ran out," said Kenniston, a little hopelessly.

The rejuvenation plan:

"Hold on," said Kenniston. "All I know of Jon Arnol is his name. What exactly is this process? You said it was a process for the rejuvenation of cold and dying planets?"

Lal'lor answered that. "Arnol's plan is this—to start a cycle of matter-energy transformations similar to the hydrogen-helium transformation which gives a Sun its energy—to start such a nuclear cycle operating deep inside a cold planet."

Kenniston stared at him, completely stunned. "But," he said at last, "that would be equivalent to creating a giant solar furnace deep inside a planet!"

Yes. A bold, brilliant idea. It would solve the problem of the many cold and dying worlds within the Federation—since, as you know, a planet may live on its interior heat long after the parent Sun's heat has decreased."

The happy ending:

For a long, eternal moment, the dead Earth lay unstirring. Then Kenniston felt the ridge leap under his feet—once, twice, four times. The sharp grinding shocks of the capper bombs, sealing the giant shaft.

Arnol watched the quivering needles of the dials. He had ceased his trembling now. It was too late for anything, even emotion.

Deep, deep within the buried core of the Earth a trembling was born, a dilating shudder that came slowly upward to the barren rocks and touched them and was gone.

It was as though a dead beat had suddenly started to beat again. To beat strongly, exultantly, a planet reborn . . .

The pointers on the panel of dials had gone quite mad. Gradually they quivered back to normal. All but one row of them, at which Arnol and his crew stared with intensity.

Kenniston could bear the terrible silence no longer.

"Has it . . ." His voice trailed away into hoarseness.

Arnol turned very slowly toward him. He said, as though it was difficult for him to speak. "Yes. The reaction is begun. There is a great flame of warmth and life inside Earth now. It will take weeks for that warmth and life to creep up to the surface, but it will come.

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    Thank you for the reply. It was published as 백만년 후의 세계 in 1970 in Korea, but I need to dig in libraries to see the actual book to be really sure. It will take a couple of weeks.
    – puzzlet
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:25
  • @puzzlet You're welcome! After you've had a chance to read it, please do come back and let us know if it was the right book.
    – user14111
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:50
  • @puzzlet Did you ever manage to confirm that City at World's End is or is not the story you were looking for?
    – user14111
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 5:50
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    Thank you for waiting. I read the book. For the first 80% of the story I have no idea I've read it before, but the last part fairy matches my memory. I'll accept your answer. Thanks again.
    – puzzlet
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 6:41
  • You're welcome!
    – user14111
    Commented Nov 30, 2019 at 8:06

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