ERBmania! Logo

Korak in Pal-ul-don

KORAK DATING PROBLEMS

Steve "Korak" Allsup

When I was a youth the book Tarzan Alive appeared, a beautifully done hoax that any true Tarzan fan would fall for, hook, line and sinker. Yet even as I let myself believe in this outrageous fantasy, I was never really satisfied with Farmerís convoluted explanation of the Korak time discrepancy. To solve the problem, Farmer created a complicated fiction involving TWO sons of Tarzan! While Farmer was explaining the supposedly ďfictionalized versionĒ of the ERB novels, I saw the Burroughs books as the only true and scriptural canon.

So, to me the simplest and easiest explanation is generally the best. All of the controversy surrounded the dates given in the first Tarzan book. Tarzanís year of birth is given in the first chapter as 1888. However, the novel Son of Tarzan was published around 1916, by which time the events of the story are presumed to have occurred. In this tale, Tarzan has a son, the baby in Beasts of Tarzan, and he is described as growing up, first in civilization and then in the jungle, and finally getting married to Meriem. He then goes off to take part in the first world war. How can these events fit into the timespan provided by the dates given in Tarzan of the Apes?

The simple explanation that I referred to earlier is based upon a statement made by the author in the first chapter of TOA:

ďI do not say the story is true, for I did not witness the happenings which it portrays, but the fact that in the telling of it to you I have taken fictitious names for the principle characters quite sufficiently evidences the sincerity of my own belief that it may be true.Ē

Which means that Tarzan is not really named John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, and that Jane is not really named Porter. It also throws a good deal of doubt upon any other specific data provided that might reveal the identity of the true Tarzan, such as the specific dates that Burroughs gives. So letís assume for a moment that ERB changed not only the names but also the dates in the first novel. Letís see how that irons out in the Korak dating problem in question.

Letís push back the dates of the first novel to match the chronology implied in Son of Tarzan-- oh, say something like around ten years. This would give plenty of room for everything at hand-- Tarzan and Jane are then married around the turn of the century, Korak is born less than a year later, and the events occur according to schedule as depicted in the fourth book. Some have worried that the automobiles described in the last few chapters of TOA would then become an anachronism, but the fact is that in 1899 there were quite a number of very primitive automobiles cruising in various places around New York.

Thus, this explanation neatly irons out all the difficulties. Sometime around the year 1934, Tarzan encounters the Kavuru in Tarzanís Quest. Among those who divide up the immortality pills at the end of the story, is the Greystoke caretaker, Tibbs. Tibbs does not feel a need to partake of the pills. I propose that soon after, Tibbs gives his share to Korak, who is a youthful 33 year old in perfect physical condition. Thereafter, Korak would easily be mistaken for a teenager.

In the 60ís and 70ís, Russ Manning would depict the contemporary adventures of the pair in both comic books and newspaper strips. Tarzan, Jane and Korak would all still appear to be extremely youthful, under thirty years of age. Yet in actual fact, Korak is today well over a hundred! When will the family run out of the pills? Only time will tell. Would that you or I were still around to see that distant day.