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Nkima Speaks

A Letter

David A. Adams


Email from Nkima to Tangor, June 9, 2000


The following is an email communication between David Adams and Bruce Bozarth (Nkima and Tangor) which explores the fragility of ERB fandom and research, and the availability of either from one generation to the next. It also addresses the murky arena of copyright and reprinting in a gentle manner, and accurately stating the author's right to reprint whenever or wherever possible. The articles mentioned in the letter will soon appear at NKIMA SPEAKS.

Dear Tangor:

Since it is important that we keep “Nkima Speaks” alive, I am sending you two articles via e-mail to post at that site.

The first is from ERB-APA #64, Spring 2000 called “Tarzan’s Rock Climbing Records.” Since there were two illustrations from Stanley’s “Through The Dark Continent,” with this article I am sending you copies of these via snail mail.

The second is a copy of the Burroughs Bulletin, New Series #42, Spring 2000, which includes my article “Fabulous Tales from a Papyrus Scroll: Tarzan and the Lost Empire.” Since I hold the reprint rights on my BB articles, we can use this article at “Nkima Speaks” as well. I can’t imagine George (ed note: George T. McWhorter, editor, Burroughs Bulletin) objecting to reprinting BB articles since it can only increase sales by having these articles reach a wider audience. We could include the note that the Burroughs Bulletin is published quarterly for $28 per year by The Burroughs Bibliophiles Inc., University of Louisville Library, Louisville, KY 40292.

My first article is an investigation of Tarzan at Opar, exploring the topographical details and Tarzan’s encounters with these rugged sites. The second article is in the form of a pastiche in which Erich Von Harben explores the validity of the manuscript of Marcus Crispus Sanguinarius, finding it to be a very deceptive document when compared with the evidence of historical records. Both of these articles involved a good deal of research, and they should be interesting to ERB fans. I would be pleased to see them reach a wider audience at “Nkima Speaks.”

Again I am reminded of the fragility of scholarship in a post to ERBList by J.G. Huckenpohler on June 7, 2000 in which he points out that the great ERB scholar, Frank J. Brueckel, had written an “Epilogue to Thuvia” in the Burroughs Bulletin, o.s. #34, 1974. For most of us this article is as obscure as the manuscript of Sanguinarius, and it is only 26 years old.

Huck’s post was a valuable one, like the whisper from a man long buried in his grave, so obscure is the BB Old Series. I could quickly check my database and see that I do not own this issue, but now that I know this article exists, I can ask for it from one of the fans who does have it.

This is the reason I am preparing an Index of the ERB-APA’s that I own. This is the great value of Bill Ross’s ongoing Index of Fan Magazines. This summer I need to update my Index of the BB New Series (soon to be posted at ERBmania!) and see that Tangor has it posted at his site. There is so much valuable research that is moldering away in the magazines that it makes you weep. Someday there will be a grand index to all of these valuable ERB articles, but in the meanwhile it is important that they be posted on the internet whenever possible.

I am under no illusion that I will live forever or that once printed in one of the fan magazines my own articles will be remembered. I believe that at least some of the things I have had to say about ERB deserves to be accessible to fans, and so I continue to write and distribute my work as widely as possible. Also, I am under no illusion that by posting my articles on the the internet gives them an undisputed form of immortality. Reprinting scholarship in a book form seems to help in the process of longevity, but even this format has its limited life span.

Those of us who sing the praises of ERB and are fortunate enough to have our songs heard by others need to give some thought to the widest distribution possible.

Nkima sits in his room alone on a summer morning in Minnesota. Outside the trees are waving gently in a cool breeze, but the day promises to turn humid, and the temperature can easily reach 100 degrees. I am still singing and hope to continue my song for many years to come, but I want this music to fill the ears of the fans of ERB beyond this day, beyond my own limited years.

David A. Adams


Tangor's Reply (in part):


My dear Nkima... you have stated quite eloquently in this letter why and how fandom works and the possible venues where it might occur. I suggest we offer this letter at the same time we update NKIMA SPEAKS as it is both heartfelt and DESCRIPTIVE of what we are doing and why.