Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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ERB Summary Project COLDWATER, Duane Adams, © 1999

EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS'
BEYOND THIRTY

Summarized by
The Members of ERBList

Introduction

Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Beyond Thirty in late summer, 1915. It was rejected by the editor of "All Story" and was published by a New York newspaper. Several months later it appeared in "All Around Magazine." Beyond Thirty was inspired by the events of World War I (1914-1918), and is a vision of unending war and the results thereof. The descent into barbarism by the combatants is juxtaposed against the isolationist prosperity by the Western Hemisphere. Beyond Thirty--which has also appeared under the title The Lost Continent--is an imaginative (though false) prediction of the future.

--David Bruce Bozarth


CHARACTERS

Jefferson Turck

Alvarez

Johnson

Snider

Taylor

Delcarte

Victory

Buckingham

Mary

Thirty-Six

Colonel Belik

Emperor Menelek

PLACES

Europe

North America

South America

30°W

175°E

England

Devonport

London

Holt's Head

Isle of Wight

"Grubritten"

Thames River

City of Lions

channel (English)

Rhine River

Abyssinian empire

Africa

Middle East

Scandinavia

Russia

New Gondar (Berlin)

Moscow

Peking

Asia

Japan

Philippines

THINGS

Pan-American Navy

Coldwater (aerosub)

deer

tiger

lion

antelope

elephant

BEYOND THIRTY, SUMMARIZED

by The Members of ERBList, July 1999

Assembled and edited by Stan Galloway

CHAPTER 1 (Jeff Kazmierski)

Lieutenant Jefferson Turck of the Pan-American Navy gives historical background, 200 years after the escalation of hostilities in Europe (2137). Eventually travel and communication were outlawed across 175 and 30. The North and South American continents have become the Pan-American Federation. Beyond 30 and 175 is no-man's-land. The ships of the PAF patrol both lines, and all military or civilian travel is strictly forbidden. Turck is commander of the Coldwater, a Pan-American "aerosubmarine" capable of both flight and submerged operation assigned to patrol the line at 30 West. The Coldwater, damaged by a storm, is forced into the water, where it becomes apparent that natural forces and possible sabotage will force them toward an unknown Europe. Officers Johnson and Alvarez argue over Turck's right of command when the ship crosses out of Pan-American jurisdiction. While repairs are being made after the storm, Turck takes a boat out with three other men. The fishing is excellent, and they travel out of sight of the Coldwater. On turning back toward the ship's location, one of the men notices the Coldwater's silhouette in the sky, a sign that they have repaired the ship. The men in the boat cheer as the ship comes toward them, but their elation is short lived as it passes directly above their position without stopping. They fire shots into the air, wave, and shout, but to no avail. The Coldwater proceeds west, abandoning Turck and his small band of sailors.

CHAPTER 2 (David Adams)

Turck and his crew of Snider, Taylor and Delcarte decide to head for England. Fortunately, he has maps of Europe aboard the small power boat. They discover that the entire southern coast of England is completely deserted of both cities and inhabitants. Digging uncovers signs of an ancient German occupation of the site - - judged to be Devonport. They decide to push on to London, hoping to find people there.

CHAPTER 3 (Terry Alan Klasek)

Taylor is surprised by a shot in this unknown land, but finds Snider with a deer for food. At a beastial cry, Taylor sees a tiger of enormous proportions. Numerous shots finally bring down the beast as it attacks Delcarte. They turn the launch around Bolt's Head towards London. They stop at the Isle of Wright, with no sign of humanity. Going inland they discover half naked hairy savages. They are the first "men" we see. They first run away, but then toward the men. Turck raises his hand in a sign of peace. They understand. They speak a bastard form of English calling England "Grubitten." No one seems to know who won the First World War, and they don't care. Society has degenerated with no historical memories.

CHAPTER 4 (David Bruce Bozarth)

Turck and crew enter the Thames River but find no cities. Landing to hunt antelope, Turck wanders inland. A lion attacks. Turck slays it with a rifle. Almost simultaneously a spear is thrown, narrowly missing him. Hiding, Turck observes 30 men and a captive woman, who is ill-treated. Turck rises up, knocks down the abuser, and kills several others. The Grabritin girl is relieved he is not one of the "men from over there." Turck speculates on recent history as he unbinds her. She refuses Turck's offer to return her home because Buckingham has slain her father, the king. Buckingham desires the girl partly because family descent is through the female. Turck is overpowered by some men. Buckingham orders him bound to a tree in their camp. Turck meets the queen, who thanks him. Her words anger Buckingham. Turck is moved to one of the trenches. Later Mary, Victory's sister, visits, giving Turck a name for the rescued girl. He asks Mary to bring the queen. Many hours pass, a turmoil is heard, then silence. Mary returns, sobbing. Buckingham has killed the queen and taken Victory. Before she can free him, two men take Turck for a long night march. Arriving at the Camp of Lions, Turck is left as a sacrifice. For hours Turck waits. As a lion appears and takes interest in him, Victory arrives carrying Turck's firearms. She cuts him free. Turck shoots the charging lion. Victory urges Turck to leave and indicates she can never return home. Voices interrupt them. Buckingham's men are searching for Victory. The couple enters the Camp of Lions to avoid capture.

CHAPTER 5 (Stan Galloway)

As they enter an overgrown London, they find few buildings standing and lion-worn paths in places, but architectural landmarks have been obliterated. They explore a building somewhat intact and view decaying artifacts and find lions sitting on the throne of England. At the lions' charge, they back into a stairway. Killing lions as they ascend, they arrive in an office, safe behind a door. Human bones are many and Turck reads the final writing of one of the people, who indicates the people left England in pursuit of enemies and from fear of both "the Death" and the animals which had escaped the zoos to proliferate. Circumstantial conjecture on Turck's part dates the end at August 1937. They descend through a window via ivy and race for the river. While hiding in bushes their lips brush each other, exciting Turck. A lioness charges them, forcing them into the water, and follows them into the current despite a bullet wound from Turck. Turck clubs the beast with rifle butt as it closes in, and Victory goes under beneath the lioness's paw. The lion struggles then sinks.

CHAPTER 6 (Bill Hillman)

After Turck's blow stunned the lioness and Victory knifed it to death, they swim to the other side of the river where they dry off and feast on roots and berries. By nightfall there is still no sign of Delcarte so they sleep under the stars amid cries of wild beasts. Next morning, while stalking an antelope, they meet up with Delcarte and Snider. Turck introduces Victoria, Queen of England, and they return to the launch guarded by Taylor and their new guide, Thirty-Six, a captured warrior from the elephant country. They cross the channel seeking signs of civilization but all along the coast and up the Rhine, cities have been razed by war and reclaimed by nature's greenery. In response to Turck's comments, Victory asserts that civilization is not in people, but in the things people have. Victory is much friendlier with Snider for a short time. But Snider, who is becoming increasingly insubordinate, begins to irritate Victory. Days later, Turck leaves Snider and Thirty-Six to guard Victory from danger; the others hunt game. Turck sees a primitive man who flees. On return Turck finds the launch gone and Thirty-Six shot, alive long enough to say the others had "gone back."

CHAPTER 7 (Stan Galloway)

The three decide to try to catch the launch by taking shortcuts along the winding river. A few days later, they spot the launch floating unguided downstream. Turck swims out to it and finds Snider's body with a knife slit above the heart. After they bury him, they use the launch to begin searching for Victory. A few miles later Turck finds the remains of a campfire. While waiting for Taylor and Delcarte to join him he is seized by uniformed soldiers.

CHAPTER 8 (Stan Galloway)

"A hundred or so" black soldiers take Turck to their log fort. Turck is taken to Colonel Belik, who questions him vainly in an unknown language then sends him to the guardhouse where he is put in with "about 50" primitive whites. Turck worked there a month, making an educated assumption that this was an outpost for some military power with a strong literary heritage. Turck begins learning the language. Belik takes Turck as his personal servant rather than send him south in the chain gang. Turck learns that 50 years earlier Emperor Menelek began expanding the Abyssinian empire north, now holding all of Africa, some of the Middle East, and Europe except England, Scandinavia, and eastern Russia. Orders come for the army to move east. Joining with other troops in caravan, they amass at New Gondar, a city built on the ruins of Berlin, Menelek's temporary headquarters in fighting the advancing "yellow" army, which soon besieges the city. During a truce-induced lull, Menelek gives a banquet for his officers; Turck accompanies Belik. Among a line of slave girls, one refuses to bow -- Victory.

CHAPTER 9 (David Adams)

A guard moves Victory to Menelek's apartments. Turck follows but is stopped by a guard. The enemy begins bombing the city. Turck sees Menelek enter his apartments. He overpowers the guard and finds the emperor trying to force his attention upon Victory. Menelek calls for a guard as Turck attacks. A shell from the bombardment kills the arriving guards, leaving Turck and Victory unharmed. Turck has strangled Menelek to death. Victory is angry that Turck has saved her. Victory tells him she hates him because Snider told her Turck had promised her to Snider. Turck declares his love for her. They kiss as the bombs drop around them. They escape through a window into a courtyard but cannot leave the city because the streets are choked with people fleeing. The yellow soldiers capture them. They are marched for many days to a Chinese city at the site of ancient Moscow. An officer who believes Turck is Pan-American and Victory is Queen of England gives them comfortable housing. They are then sent by rail to the emperor at Peking through a prosperous countryside. All of Asia, Japan, and the Philippines are ruled by China under a progressive government. The emperor plans to take Europe from the Abyssinians. Meanwhile, Johnson returned to Pan-America with Alvarez, who was convicted. The ban on crossing 30 and 175 is removed. A fleet searches for Turck, arriving on his wedding day. Turck returns home a hero with Victory. (Delcarte and Taylor were already found.) Victory and Turck plan to return to England to reclaim her throne.