David Bruce Bozarth
Copyright © 1996-2018
Last update: December 2018
The following are excerpts from Tangor's replies to email and ERBList inquiries. Various subjects. Some entries have been updated/revised over the years. Helpful/useful links have been inserted.
These are inside document links. Click to jump to each section. User the browser back button to return to this table of contents.
BITS AND PIECES NEWBIES ASK ABOUT
Q: Did he write other things other than Tarzan? Have his other books been turned into any movie versions?
A: Ed Burroughs created a dozen or more unique worlds during his writing career, and many became series. Besides Tarzan's jungle, there are the worlds of John Carter's Barsoom, David Innes' Pellucidar, Bowen Tyler's Caspak, Julian's Moon, Shoz Dijiji's American Southwest, The Mucker's East Indies and Mexico, Tangor's Poloda, Carson Napier's Venus and a handful of contemporary stories set in his (then) modern world — The Efficiency Expert, Girl from Farris's, The Girl from Hollywood...
At The Earth's Core and the Land That Time Forgot series were mangled, er, translated to screen back in the 1970s. As with the Tarzan films, ERB's characters were not treated with respect, but still managed to produce somewhat entertaining films.
Q: Weismiller (Sp-?) was not my favorite in the role as Tarzan...
Golly gee, McGee—Weismuller IS the "movie Tarzan"—at least the most famous of them all. Sure the old JW versions were corn-ball and departed horrendously from the ERB canon, but you have to admit they were great box office and just what was needed to make a gadzillion dollars in the post depression era.
For my money, though, I think my fave movie Tarzans are Bruce Bennett (Hermann Brix), Gordon Scott and Mike Henry, though Hadon would probably disagree with the last. Mahoney was baloney, Miller was filler, Barker was a larker...
Q: ...the tradion begun in 1959, with the Gordon Scott...
A: I didn't know you were a Scott fan! TARZAN'S GREATEST ADVENTURE is my all time favorite apeman film.
Q: I did not include the three films with Mike Henry...
A: Sorry to see that. Henry was, in my opinion, a good Tarzan, one close to the heart and feel of the ERB characterization. Of course Henry as an actor leaves a bit to be desired, but the stories fit the Tarzan canon and that is what counts for me. Please remember the era—the late 60s with Bond, Flint, Helm, the last great John Wayne's—Marvel comics and "hippie" hair cuts meant a short-haired, cultured, no wise-cracking apeman who didn't swing on trapezes camoflaged as vines was pretty much the "establishment." :)
Q: Why did you first start reading ERB's books?
A: I was 11 years old. I read them for the adventure! I didn't realize there were naked women, rapes, murder, pillage et al in his books until much later. A follow up question would be: "If you read ERB in your youth, have you re-read Burroughs as an adult? Has time and personal experience changed your perception or enjoyment of the author's works?"
You'll find people will have two memories of ERB. Revisiting ERB produces an entirely different response in the reader. I still have the sense of magic, awe, and thrill of high adventure lurking through the (my) ages and yet I've recently re-read the opening trilogy to Barsoom for the fifth time (36 years after I first read them). I am more impressed with the "stringing of prose" than with the sappy love story (egads!) or the episodic hack and slash (yikes!) and contrived plot lines (boo! hiss!). ERB could tell a tale. He was professional in his approach, even for his first works. That he was an educated and literate man is well revealed in the MANNER by which he tells a simple adventure story heavy with Gaustarkian/Gothic Romance while dipping deeply into the well of Greek tragedies. What makes his stories ENDURE is his direct, nail-on-the-head approach to human emotions. He wrote about what makes us tick, why we fall in love, how it is sometimes done (though I doubt most males are rarely as dense as an ERB hero), and the benefits thereof. Even in this world of political correctness, ERB gave women equality in romance, adventure and heroics...fortunately he didn't give them six-pack abs and precision pecs.
Q: How many of ERB's books have you read?
A: All except the newest release "TARZAN: THE LOST ADVENTURE"; including the rare shorts, novellas and serial publications The Girl From Farris's, The Efficiency Expert, The Revolt of the Scientists and The Ressurection of Jimber-Jaw.
Q: If any which of ERB's mars series books have you read?
A: All. Several times.
Q: Which of the Mars series books most appealed to you? Why?
A: The opening trilogy, which I consider an extended single work, contains all aspects of the Barsoomian experience. These three novels are self-contained and define the background and characters and set the tone for the remainder of the series. The rest of the Barsoom saga is listed in satisfaction/inventiveness in the following order:
Llana of Gathol
Swords of Mars
John Carter of Mars (Giant & Skeleton)
Q: Do you belive ERB when he said he only wrote for the money to feed his wife and kids or do you think he must have felt deeper to write the way he did?
A: ERB was a mass market author. He wrote with some enjoyment of the craft and the resulting output but he never lost sight of the monetary end of the business. Burroughs was, in fact, one of the first authors ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD to seriously examine the question of copyrights, publishing rights, movie and radio rights (thereby paving way for protection of television, marketing, software, etc rights). He wrote for the money. He also believed in giving the reading public a fair hack for the fee charged.
Q: Has ERB influenced your life in any way?
A: Made me a romantic. :)
Q: Wasn't Klein one of ERB's contemporaries?
A: Otis Adelbert Klein, Ralph Milne Farley, Edwin A. Arnold, William Chester, Merritt, Brackett and Hamilton as well! Ah, those were the days when entertainment and romance was high on the agenda and gruesome, ghastly and gory were not yet the purview of the film industry. I was 11 or so when I started reading ERB in very early 1960s and the world has changed tremendously since. Somehow the characters, emotions, honor and purpose of the protagonists in ERB's works remain timeless—whether you speak of Barney Custer (The Mad King) or the villianous Muda Saffir (The Monster Men) people like Thandar (Waldo Emerson Smith-Jones (The Cave Girl), Bowen, Billings and Bradley (Caspak) along with the immortal Tarzan and John Carter still serve as character ideals we all might aspire to emulate.
Sadly, however, the policially correct crowd doesn't seem to think gentlemen should open doors for ladies (among other things!) ... :)
COMMENTARY REGARDING ERB WORKS...
I too enjoy the Caspak Trilogy (even the 2 movies).
A: I get a chuckle out of the McClurg movies, including the version of At The Earth's Core which followed the plot (loosely!) of books one and two of Pellucidar.
The Land of Hidden Men ( Jungle Girl)
A: Been a while since I read Doctor Gordon King's adventure. Still on the shelf, with the rest of my Burroughs, as it has been since 1964. Perhaps it's time to revisit the jungles of Siam. :)
The Monster Men
A: One of my favorites, and it was the story which provided the plot device for Mastermind of Mars. Of course, the retelling of the Frankenstein story had been done by others before ERB, but he managed to put romance and high adventure into the discussion of the limitations of man's reach. I so admired this one that in the mid 80's, when I owned and operated a recording studio, I wrote and produced an audio (radio play) version. We had a cast of 9, great studio musicians (like myself) and expended a lot of creative energy just having fun. It runs 49 minutes and is quite good. Now that the author's copyright has expired I might drag it off the shelf and see if there's a market for it.
Beyond the Farthest Star
A: Another short which I admire. I have spoken to several of my dad's friends who read ERB when they were youngsters (during WWII) and they all expressed their disappointment that they never found out what happened to Tangor. By the time Beyond the Farthest Star was mated with the heretofore never published Tangor Returns most of these fellows no longer had time to read for recreation.
The Cave Girl
A: Yo, Thandar! How is Nadara? :)
A: Ah, the study of life's extremes, the ability of one to change destiny if only given sufficient purpose, "real life" adventure—true love. I like it. You like it. Unfortunately there's a million others out there like it, thus The Mucker has only appealed to die hard ERB fans. Sorely underrated by literary critics.
The Lost Continent (Beyond Thirty)
A: When I first read this Nam was a minor news item...it was something I gave no thought to, though less than five years later it would mean a great deal to me. I learned to hate war from this book and Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein. Though it is among the shortest and most episodic of Burroughs' works, I consider it one of his best.
My favorites series are Amptor & Pellucidar.
A: Enjoyed both, but I confess to a partiality for Barsoom and Caspak. Well, okay, so I like Venus and the Moon and the Core and Africa and the Wild West and the slums of Chicago and Hollywood and Commanche County and Europe during the Great War and...oh well, you get the picture! :)
Q: Have you read or care to comment on some ERB pastiches such as: Bunduki?
A: Own it. So so.
Mahars of Pellucidar
A: Own it. Tad better than so so, but not truly canon.
Red Axe (was it ever published ?)
A: Not to my knowledge.
Perhaps you know of others?
A: Try Philip Jose Farmer's Hadron of Ancient Opar (DAW 1974) and Flight To Opar (DAW 1976). Great stuff. Farmer also wrote the extremely interesting TARZAN ALIVE!
A: You might want to read andrew j ouffatt's Ardor on Ardos, wherein poor "Dejah Thoris" is raped repeatedly the first night she is captured by the "green martians" and "John Carter" hides in the bushes until they are done. The woman gets back her own throughout the rest of the story. Best "spoof" of Barsoom I've ever read, excepting my own Dead Cities Of Mars.
A: Also look for Edward P Bradbury's* martian trilogy, which is a 60's version of ERB 1912-1916 opening trilogy.
* "Bradbury" is Michael Moorcock
Q: What I do remember is really enjoying the backup features (David Innes Carson Napier, and John Carter ) if my memory serves me correctly.
A: You are referring to Weird Worlds circa 1972 which later spun off John Carter, Warlord of Mars 1977. Weird Worlds starred John Carter and David Innes (Pellucidar). Carter's last appearance was issue #7. Joe Kubert was the main illustrator (Barsoom). I'll have to drag out a copy to refresh my memory on the Innes illustrator. I want to say Frank Brunner,* but I believe that is incorrect.
* Artist was Micheal Wm Kaluta.
My 23rd edition of Overstreet lists some 20 plus Tarzan titles...pretty amazing character to have such diversity for such a great span of time. One of the earliest illustrated collections was TARZAN OF THE APES (1934), 68pgs 4x12" published by Metropolitan Newpaper Service. Contains strip reprints. This I have not seen, though I have read most of the early syndications at one time or another.
Gold Key adhered to the general ERB plot lines better than Marvel, but then again, at the time Gold Key was working these titles ERB, Inc had just been reminded that a valuable intellectual property had/was dangerously close to falling into the public domain. They were probably a bit more protective of the characters between 1964 to 1970 than they were afterwards—new stories were required or the character(s) would have faltered.
Remember the early Dell issues which featured the movie Tarzans on the covers? Lex Barker, Gordon Scott. Later Gold Keys featured Ron Ely.
Marvel did a tremendous on John Carter back in the 70's...
A: Well now, pardner, you and me might have a disagreement in the offing. The latter Marvel presentations introduced too much fantasy/horror ala Conan the Barbarian or Kull the Destroyer to be ERB canon. When I saw the direction they were taking my favorite Burroughs character I quit buying them. Apparently others felt the same way as it was only a few issues later that Marvel canned the project and returned to its tried and true super heroes who have personal problems, cheat on their wives, or have feet of clay. :)
ON SCHOLARLY REPORT OR REVIEWING
Q: I understand your feeling of burn-out after working on a project for a long time.
A: I'm not speaking of "burn-out". I am speaking exclusively to over-exposure and full-knowledge. People love the sun, and get sun-burned if they overdo. If we study WHY we burn, we uncover all the reasons for using sun screens in triple digit strength and then, perhaps, seek counseling for nagging fears of UV-activated carcenomas. People love Bach, Beethovan and the BeaTles. But if we study WHY we like these music forms, the mystery of genius becomes paint-by-numbers. The act of study, as opposed to simply experiencing a phenomenon, changes how we perceive the phenomenae.
I taught music for 17 years and performed professionally for 23...I echo your students' refrain EXACTLY. I have deliberately NOT performed certain pieces in my life because I wish to continue enjoying them—otherwise my brain sees notes on paper, or tablature, or hand/finger/tongue-lip positions. Does this mean I loath what I have learned? Not in the least, but that music becomes a performance rather than a piece, and it is the performance that I take pleasure in, not the music, for I am competent and highly skilled, both technically and emotionally. (Hey, I believe in tooting one's own horn—provided you can back it up.)
ERB surely began to feel similar unhappiness with Tarzan's longevity (as a series) and was equally proud of his storytelling skills. He was acomplished at cranking out quality performances (called a good hack writer in the literary world). There comes a time when the creative well has been mined and all that's left is imitation and when one begins to imitate their own work, the "hack" syndrome sets in. It takes a great deal of professionalism to be a good hack, and ERB was a professional writer, if nothing else.
I believe you will agree that the appreciation gained is self-congratulation for improving one's knowledge and understanding rather than any ADDITIONAL joy in the work—for the work has not changed, only our PERCEPTION of the work.
Q: Can the works of Burroughs bear years and years of close analysis?
A: ERB's works reside near the apex of the genre and thus are the benchmark against which all others will be measured. My fondness, nay, my enthusiasim, for ERB has not diminished in 38 years—yet ERB is but a tiny fraction of the world of literature. There are 8,000 SF books in my collection, 90 are ERB. I return to these adventures again and again, but close analysis I'll not do on another ERB series after I complete A CASPAK GLOSSARY. I have no desire to become too familiar with another favorite and lose the opportunity for new surprises on future reads.
My comments relate to me. The majority of my comments are personal opinion and, like noses, everybody's got one—and some of 'em smell. :)
Is it too much time with ERB's works, or in varying degrees of impassioned discourse with other fans? That is where I spend my time, and most profitably, too! We have some thinkers and stinkers on the ERB listservers. We can't tango without partners and there's been plenty!
I find time to tend my roses and truck garden. Gives my butt a rest from the desk chair.
Q: Ah yes contemporary... where shall we begin?
I like to ponder the mindset of the original readers/publishers when the stories were introduced. UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS by Norman Bean must have appeared utterly fantastic in 1911! ERB, in fact, chose not to put his own name on the document, preferring Normal Bean (sic). The editor assumed a typo and changed it to "Norman."
Q: ...the latest astronomical information on Phobos and Deimos...
Cluros and Thuria...
I can't recall where I read it, but there was a short article commenting on ERBs "fixes" to keep the Barsoom myth alive even though observatories and space research were beginning to put the kibosh on habitations on Mars. One item regarded the lighting of Martian cities, particularly those of the equatorial areas of Mars where refraction would be less and the light of large 1,000,000 plus population cities should be visible. Ed's answer: Hooded radium lights only shine downward with a light too soft to be seen off planet but of sufficient strength for practical use. The radium bulbs, after all, lasted eons.
VARIOUS SUBJECTS - EACH WORTHY OF A FULL ESSAY
Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2018
VIRGINIA and CARTER'S "FAMILY"
Likewise, he (Burroughs) makes reference a few times throughout POM to "the fighting blood of my Virginia sires."
"Yes, Dejah Thoris, I too am a prisoner; my name is John Carter, and I claim Virginia, one of the United States of America, Earth, as my home...."
Word parsers can have a field day! "Claim" is not the same as "My home..." etc.
"...Where is this Virginia, your country, John Carter?" she asked, and it seemed that this fair name of my fair land had never sounded more beautiful than as it fell from those perfect lips on that far-gone day.
Carter appears to assert that Virginia IS his home...and at the same times reveals he is either a)not sure b)not contesting c)confused. :) It is clearly evident that Carter does not have a clue as to his relationship to the family.
...I began to wonder what my people at home were doing. I had not seen them for years. There was a family of Carters in Virginia who claimed close relationship with me; I was supposed to be a great uncle, or something of the kind equally foolish. I could pass anywhere for twenty-five to thirty years of age, and to be a great uncle always seemed the height of incongruity, for my thoughts and feelings were those of a boy. There was two little kiddies in the Carter family whom I had loved and who had thought there was no one on Earth like Uncle Jack; I could see them just as plainly, as I stood there under the moonlit skies of Barsoom, and I longed for them as I had never longed for any mortals before. By nature a wanderer, I had never known the true meaning of the word home, but the great hall of the Carters had always stood for all that the word did mean to me...
AND HERE'S THE NEW THING JUST NOTICED AND TO MY KNOWLEDGE HAS NEVER BEEN DISCUSSED OR EXPRESSED IN ANY ERB SCHOLASTIC OR FANDOM RESEARCH EVER: Who was the second kiddie? We know ERB was one of those remembered by John Carter. WHO WAS THE SECOND? I expect one or two "HOW DID WE MISS THIS?" messages. This two little kiddies statement is a biggie, kiddies! (And I hope that everybody understands why I have always named all my wonderful friends at ERBList "kiddies.") However, it is obvious that the artful obfuscation and confusion ERB inserted into the first tale of Barsoom truly begins in the above passage.
Carter reveals that a family of Carters claim the family relationship and we need to explore the meaning of claim for further insight: transitive verb, Middle English, from Middle French clamer, from Latin clamare to cry out, shout; akin to Latin calare to call 1a: to ask for especially as a right b: to call for: REQUIRE c: TAKE 2: to take as the rightful owner 3a: to assert in the face of possible contradiction: MAINTAIN b: to claim to have c: to assert to be rightfully one's own.
"...I do now, Dejah Thoris; I ask you to be my wife, and by all the Virginian fighting blood that flows in my veins you shall be."
As I pressed her dear lips to mine the old feeling of unconquerable power and authority rose in me. The fighting blood of Virginia sprang to life in my veins.
The above "Virginia" quotes, other than "gentleman of Virginia or asides regarding Virginia" are from POM. Many of the quotes suggest that Carter is native to Virginia, yet we cannot be completely sure.
"Virginia" (including Virginian) is mentioned 35 times in all eleven books. "Fighting blood of Virginia" appears four times in eleven, "Virginian fighting blood" appears once in eleven, and "Fighting smile and Virginian variations" appear twice in eleven. The operative number is 35 total. Mentioned often enough over the entire series to brand VIRGINIA in the reading audience's minds. Carter is merely claimed as family by "Carters" and he was willing to accept. He cannot, under these EXPRESSED conditions, be direct Carter family lineage, which makes Tangor's Carter Alien essay look more legit! Anybody! Prove that John Carter is related to the Carters of Virginia! At this moment of time I am not so sure ERB was honest and find myself leaning (again) toward my hypothesis as expressed in the link above.
Q: Why Virginia?
The Old South was (and still is in many minds/histories) the "aristocracy" of the United States. The North never bought into that. From an inspirational point of view a character who "nearly won" and then lost all, only to win and rise to an aristocracy on another planet is pretty good scripting.
Then again, the Virginia area was one of the oldest settled parts of the New World. I suspect that the real Burroughs family probably had some ties to that area, if for no other reason than as valiant foes "not that long before". One must remember ERB was born in 1875. That war ended only 10 years before his birth, it was still in the public conscience during his youth and would have imprinted on him as the Viet Nam war imprinted on children until the 1980s ... if for no other reason than those memories were still too fresh for their parents (those who served and those who did not).
Or put another way, how many "cultured, refined, sophisticated" characters can you find in the literature of THOSE TIMES that were based in New England? Most are miserly, business, hard-nosed, MERCHANTS, shipping magnates, unions, bankers, industrialists, frugal and rarely given to having annual balls, etc.
Two different cultures.
I suppose "John Carter, the New Yorkian" might have worked ... if you could keep from laughing while saying it.
Since 2010 or so quite a few new authorized titles have appeared. ERB, Inc. is actively participating in new and exciting Burroughs-related books, comics, websites, and film projects.
WHY ARE THERE NO NEW BOOKS?
One reason ERB is not reprinted is because late night TV no longer airs the same kind of movies that embraced the ideals and traditions we enjoy in his works. When was the last time you saw on broadcast TV (not cable, see below) any of the great A or B movies, adventure, romance, comedy or westerns, from the 1930s, 1940s, or 1950s?
The current crop of movies on TV these days are from the 1990s. Almost uniformly these movies are downers, abstracts, or politically correct commentaries — if they are not merely sax and violins films. The vast majority have over-dubbed language soundtracks to avoid the censors, rapid cuts to avoid excessive violence, or heavily edited to avoid entire scenes. — This of course only applies to those films shown in NOT PRIME TIME. The latter are shown with all kinds of disclaimers and rating emblems in the corner of the TV screen to advise parents their kiddies should not view these films.
Since the 1920s Film drives entertainment — be it book, TV, film, comics, or games. How many films these days speak with the simple, yet humanly eloquent values we grew up with in Stagecoach, African Queen, His Gal Friday, Scarlet Street, What Price Glory, Two Rode West, etc. (I could go on!)? Tarzan (the books) or the values and traditions found in ERB's writing in general, has had no support from Hollowood(sic) for the last decade — including the Disney TZ (which I happen to personally like, but then again, I like all Disney products) — and the few shows that do are relegated to syndicate broadcasts where the viewer share is small.
Cable TV, on the other hand, is wild and wooly in program offerings. Amid all the hundreds of channels offering Hollowood's (sic) current graphic sax and violins programming are a handful of classic movie channels. IF you are a cable/satellite subscriber you get this programming, yet you are only one of a few per 10,000 who do. Everybody else is watching sax and violins, or the Osbornes. As long as the mainstream is occupied with the above "entertainment" it is highly unlikely ANY MAINSTREAM publisher will reprint ERB in print runs approaching HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.
Meanwhile the true blue fans of ERB will produce limited print runs under 5,000 copies. Those who are long in the tooth might buy these along with those few whippersnappers who "get it." But it will be a very long time before ERB is ever reprinted in high volume or as a "revival."
I miss finding a new ERB paperback at the drugstore. Those days are gone. I miss the old movies. Those days appear to be gone for broadcast TV. Fortunately I can read again the ERBs. I do. What I cannot do is find the old movies on broadcast TV — or find them at hours when young impressionable minds might discover the values and traditions of human society — values our current crop of politicians on both sides of the aisle CLAIM they support while Hollowood(sic) continues to undermine family, human relations, and glories in (fill in the blank with your favorite pet peeves).
FAMILY VALUES, ERB WASN'T THE ONLY ONE
Pride myself in having an understanding of the decades previous, yet this last week I had an epiphany extraordinary. Just finished reading—for the First Time—Dennis' AUNTIE MAME (19th printing). The reading produced two effects for the Polodan: a revisit into the culture of my beginnings after 1949 and a fond memory of a favorite movie and actress; Rosalind Russell—not that henta-red dyed blonde Lucille Ball. The second realization was that what came around before continues to come around. Patrick Dennis in 1955 humorously repeated in AUNTIE MAME every major aspect of MOST ERB novels: the comedy and tragedy of humanity.
Reading Dennis proved to be an exercise of Preaching to the Choir of Accumulated Knowledge I Already Knew; yet it was a reminder of what Mom and Dad, and their parents taught them about the World as it is really like—and that has not changed. Witness the Dennis statement:
"Patrick, darling, how could you deprive the child of this adventure?" Auntie Mame said. ""It's almost like slamming the door of knowledge in his face. Here he has this perfectly splendid opportunity to see one of the most interesting countries (India) in the world—filled with color and history and mystery and political unrest—really see it from the *inside* as no tourist ever does, and you..."
Dennis also wrote scenarios of cultural differences ERB visited: Jew hate, highborn/lowborn, gold-diggers (classic bitches), poverty (contemporary ERB novels), etc.
The best part of this these days politically incorrect novels is Patrick finding his princess, the incomparable Pegeen, a red-haired lass of Irish descent and Little Mike, their child. And the comfort of knowing that what went before would be what comes after.
Auntie Mame is not an ERBesque novel. No way, not in a thousand years, not even by looking sideways and inserting tongue in the left cheek; however, Auntie Mame is an extension of the values found in ERB novels, refined in the 1950s, and reminds us once again of what Burroughs found important in family and the world.
A Just For Fun Post.
WHO THE HECK IS JOHN CARTER AND HOW DOES HE TRAVEL BETWEEN WORLDS?
However, the concept of an "astral body" is not referred to by ERB, and at best reflects our own attempts to make some sense out of that cave in Arizona!
Correct! We have a physical body in the cave, later in a tomb...much later we learn that Carter can PHYSICALLY transport between the worlds (plural, not just Jasoom and Barsoom).
So we are left with the intriguing question of what physical body/force gave Carter a presence on Barsoom?
Hello! We may be on the verge of explaining the offspring of Carter and Dejah Thoris!
Whatever form Carter's initial transfers (those times when Dejah Thoris is impregnated with Carthoris and Tara) is NOT Carter's Jasoomian form. Note the following from Chessmen:
"As I have told you before, I am a very old man. I do not know how old I am. I recall no childhood; but recollect only having been always as you see me now and as you saw me first when you were five years old. You, yourself, have aged, though not as much as most men in a corresponding number of years, which may be accounted for by the fact that the same blood runs in our veins; but I have not aged at all. I have discussed the question with a noted Martian scientist, a friend of mine; but his theories are still only theories. However, I am content with the fact—I never age, and I love life and the vigor of youth.
"And now as to your natural question as to what brings me to Earth again and in this, to earthly eyes, strange habiliment. We may thank Kar Komak, the bowman of Lothar. It was he who gave me the idea upon which I have been experimenting until at last I have achieved success. As you know I have long possessed the power to cross the void in spirit, but never before have I been able to impart to inanimate things a similar power. Now, however, you see me for the first time precisely as my Martian fellows see me—you see the very short-sword that has tasted the blood of many a savage foeman; the harness with the devices of Helium and the insignia of my rank; the pistol that was presented to me by Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark...."
Hello! Again we are diverted by the words! Carter LEARNED how to travel between the worlds in PHYSICAL form from Kar Komak, the imagined warrior by Lotario of Lothar—which I have always presumed to be a decadant and lost segment of the Orovar culture. What is interesting in the above statement is "...you see me for the first time precisely as my Martian fellows see me..."
Does this mean that the material physical presence in ERB's Arizona cabin is John Carter in the flesh, or John Carter IN THE FLESH OF BARSOOM? In the meanwhile, what about that body in the tomb overlooking the Hudson River?
We have the wonderful misdirection of "...You, yourself, have aged, though not as much as most men in a corresponding number of years, which may be accounted for by the fact that the same blood runs in our veins." Tangor's Alien Carter hypothesis gains more ground; yet, Tangor recognizes that once again we are reminded that there is a "bloodline" common to Carter and ERB, Earth, and Virginia. Confusing? Perhaps. The following might give us a more important clue to matters of Carter and Mars:
I had this story from one who had no business to tell it to me, or to any other. I may credit the seductive influence of an old vintage upon the narrator for the beginning of it, and my own skeptical incredulity during the days that followed for the balance of the strange tale.
Just as ERB obscured the origins of John Clayton, Tarzan of the Apes, (and himself: might he have been equally deceptive regarding John Carter? And, if Carter's statement to ERB in the Arizona cabin is true then it is likely that Carter's own blood flowed through the veins of ERB—not through the family Carter per se. The SECOND KIDDIE Carter remembered and longed to see might be a darling Carter daughter who was in fact the mother of ERB, impregnated by Carter, and later married a Burroughs who legitimized the child!
This is a cake and eat it too scenario. :)
This is all fun, of course! Bear in mind the ERB we speak of is the ERB of the fictional autobiography, or the ERB of the Barsoom stories—NOT OUR ERB THE AUTHOR.
REALITIES AND SEX
To a degree I think that Tangor is right about SIASL (Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein).
Of course, this is to be expected. :) (Grins, I take applause as I find it!!!!)
RAH was the overt philosopher/sophist. ERB's philospher/sophistry was by osmosis. One generation came before the other and one led, and the other followed. The general values in both are identical. However, there are two window dressing differences between ERB and RAH: SEX and HARDWARE.
ERB's sex was demure but implied. RAH's sex was in-your-face and described. ERB's hardware was suggested for future. RAH's hardware was digested as reality.
As far as sex goes, both did well. As far as hardware goes ERB did better. RAH wrote "hard SF" to make speculation appear real and ordinary because modern (then) technology was ahead of the game. ERB, on the other hand, suggested technology that WOULD BECOME REAL because EXISTING TECHNOLOGY ALREADY IN PLACE could reach greater heights.
What are the activities of humans? Examples:
- Throwing rocks = guns to ICBMs
- Transports: Horses = Vehicles/space transports
- Speech/Vision: Radio/Books = TV/Internet-like
- Medicine: Healing to transplants/cloning
- Living Space
All of the above are ORDINARY concepts of human existence. ERB and RAH AND THEIR IMITATORS — and just about any other writer regardless of genre — key on these basic facts.
My joy in literature is the human theme of reality and necessity, including Verne, Wells, Doyle, and even Stephen King. What thrills me is when writers provide REASON OF FIT in addition to the story line.
I think a lot of people missed the "If's" in Stranger and wondered why their Nests fell to pieces around them.
The ERB metaphor of the family pulling together regardless of extreme or conflict (without sex) as expressed in 1911-44 terms was largely missed as RAH's abridged theme by the 1960s readers of SIASL. More accurately it might be stated that RAH, who believed in the former for the most part, proposed opposite values: "free love," "multiple partners," "your mom," and "yourself."
RAH's Friday, any Lazarus Long family book, or even Sixth Column with all its Pan-Asian yellow peril 40s fears are not especially for me, though they well may be dead on for others.
Barsoomians, yellow or red, invasions of nations... 1912. Want a list of real life invasions that replicate the literary? RAH merely followed in the footsteps of the master WHO DID IT FORTY YEARS PRIOR. Meanwhile, every fan of ERB should read the RAH stories from 1939 to 1951. Bob Heinlein said many times in public that he had been influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs and wrote two novels that revered Ed: Glory Road and Number of the Beast.
ERB's WORK METHODS
Is it known exactly what stories were dictated by ERB in this way, and which ones have been preserved?
I believe few of the cylinders have survived. ERB used the dictaphone for such a short time, finding it too confining compared to dictating to a stenographer — and ultimately returned to his original method of writing: doing it himself. ERB started with pen and paper, graduated to typewriter, stenographer, dictaphone (with transcriptions by a typist) back to typewriter. Dictaphone made some advertising use of ERB using their equipment — and I suspect there were dollars exchanged for the product endorsement, but in the long run ERB returned to personally typing his tales.
My dad, back in the early 1950s, had a dictaphone at his office. I remember breaking several cylinders during the sometimes father and son at work on weekends while father was working overtime to feed the family. Dang delicate technology! Before 1960 rolled around Dad was using tape technology for dictation. What I do remember regarding dictaphones is the short length of recording time. I can imagine ERB dictating, eyes closed as he visualized the words, then having to peek frequently to see where the recording stylus was on the cylinder and either rushing or terminating a thought early to change out the cylinder. I can also visualize ERB silently rebelling at the confines of the technology.
Read the following aloud to see what I mean:
paragraph To Jason Gridley of Tarzana comma discoverer of the Gridley Wave comma belonged the credit of establishing radio communication between Pellucidar and the outer world period paragraph It was my good fortune to be much in his laboratory while he was carrying on his experiments and to be comma also comma the recipient of his confidences comma so that I was fully aware that while he hoped to establish communication with Pellucidar he was also reaching out toward an even more stupendous accomplishment emdash he was groping through space for contact with another planet semicolon nor did he attempt to deny that the present goal of his ambition was radio communication with Mars period paragraph Gridley had constructed a simple comma automatic device for broadcasting signals intermittently and for recording whatever might be received during his absence period
OR, if ERB did not provide the punctuation during dictation we'd end up with the following (same) transcription for the editor's blue pencil:
to jason gridley of tarzana discoverer of the gridley wave belonged the credit of establishing radio communication between pellucidar and the outer world it was my good fortune to be much in his laboratory while he was carrying on his experiments and to be also the recipient of his confidences so that I was fully aware that while he hoped to establish communication with pellucidar he was also reaching out toward an even more stupendous accomplishment he was groping through space for contact with another planet nor did he attempt to deny that the present goal of his ambition was radio communication with mars gridley had constructed a simple automatic device for broadcasting signals intermittently and for recording whatever might be received during his absence
The actual quote (taken from chapter 8 of Pirates):"The action of the vik-ro upon yor-san results in absolute annihilation of the lor, releasing all its energy. When you consider that there is eighteen thousand million times as much energy liberated by the annihilation of a ton of coal that by its combustion you will appreciate the inherent possiblities of this marvellous Venusian scientific discovery."
Burroughs statement was taken from general understanding (and misunderstanding) of Einstein's theories, particularly Matter and Energy conversion. Matter compeletly converted would produce quantum magnitudes of energy — and in the case of "anihilation" of 1 ton of coal to its constituent atoms and electrons would be extraordinary.
Atomic theory was fairly well established in the late 1920s and the possibilities of converting matter into energy were in the thoughts of scientists around the world. Quoting a general timeline of the nuclear age
Age of Discovery
From Leucippus in 500 BC postulating the theory of atoms and void to Einstein's theory of relativity.
In the 1930's key discoveries are made about the fissioning of atoms by Enrico Fermi, Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann and Lise Meitner. These lay the groundwork for the development of nuclear weapons in the next decade.
The concept of nuclear, or "atomic" energy was a buzz word in the 1930s, but the average layman who got their information from the newspapers, or the ocassional radio broadcast, would have no knowledge of the theory itself, and would only have the speculations by the theorists as to the possible uses of "atomic" energy. ERB, a little smarter than the average Normal Bean — and fascinated with the advances in science and technology of the day, might have been very interested in the reports of atomic research, found a few facts, then applied his imagination to the result.
I remember reading in the newspaper when I was a kid that the power problem had been solved. 1 cup of sea water, converted absolutely, would produce enough energy to power all of the electrical producers in the United States for a week. The only problem is that absolute conversion has not been achieved, except in 1 or 2 atom size experiments, and might never be achieved.
Burroughs had previously used the same "gimmick" in Fighting Man of Mars (1930) with the disintegrating ray created by Phor Tak. Pirates of Venus (1932) and Lost on Venus (1933) probably benefited from his previous effort or research for the concepts that powered their "ray guns".
ART and ARTISTS
Interesting to note how many different artists have given us their interpretations of that same scene — from the original dust jacket painting by St. John. From Fortunino Matania to Krenkel, Roy Carnon, Motoichiro Takebe, and Esteban Maroto (and a bunch of others, this list is incomplete) to the most recent version by Thomas Floyd (for the Bison edition).
The repetition of ERB artists emulating each other over the years has disappointed me. Where are the original thoughts? Where are the other scenes? Where is the color and depth of the words?
One reason why I so like the work of Jake Jacobson, David Burton, James Bozarth, myself, David and Duane Adams, among others, is these artists produce fresh visions of the words of ERB. I also include Mahlon Blaine, who is uniformly despised by ERB fans. Joe Jusko and a half dozen comic artists, as well as a handful of newspaper artists, also see the words of ERB with fresh eyes.
But if one looks at the mass publications — hardback or paperback — the image on the cover is similar edition to edition.
ERB artists, in my opinion, are very much like the pastiche writers — one idea, one scene, and keep it safe. Whatever worked once is what should be produced. I say this with no disrespect to the artists or the pastiche writers! Without them we would not have the tremendous wealth of pictures and stories.
The recent Venus questions, particularly those about topics which have not been generally discussed, such as the technology, made me go back and look at the 1930s — which is the decade in which the Amtorian series was written — then I realized that decade was only the result, it was not how we got there, either by technology, speculation, or literature. There's also the rise to power of Mussolini in 1922, followed a mere decade later by Hitler, and the beginning of trade difficulties and expansions in the Pacific between the US and Japan. Between the wars Germany suffered outrageous inflation and the Wall Street Crash of 1929 nearly brought the world to financial disaster. Yet at the same time there was a contining increase in technology — a form of television as early as 1925, better and more powerful radio, and improvements in ship building, aeronautics, and the internal combustion engine and electrical motors applied to industry.
Here's a short list of some significant speculative literature written during the 1920s that may provide a direct path from Tarzan-type adventures to Napier-type adventures as far as Edgar Rice Burroughs is concerned:
I've read approximately half of the following, the other half is my want list!
- 1920 David Lindsay: "A Voyage to Arcturus"; James Branch Cabell: "The Cords of Vanity: A Comedy of Shirking"
- 1921 J. D. Beresford: "Evolution", James Branch Cabell: "Figures of Earth: A Comedy of Appearances", "Chivalry" (New York: McBride), "The Line of Love" (New York: McBride); Karel Capek: "RUR" launches the word "robot"; Austin Hall and Homer Eon Flint: "The Blind Spot"; George Bernard Shaw: "Back to Methuselah"
- 1922 James Branch Cabell: "Gallentry: An Eighteenth Century Dizain, "The Lineage of Lichfield An Essay in Eugenics", "Straws and Prayerbooks: Dizain des Diversions",; Edgar Rice Burroughs: "At The Earth's Core", "The Chessmen of Mars", "Pellucidar"; E. R. [Eric Rucker] Eddison: "The Worm Ouroboros: A Romance"; Frigyes Karinthy: "Capillaria"; Karel Capek: "The Absolute at Large"; Alexei Tolstoi: "Aelita"
- 1923 James Branch Cabell: "The High Place: A Comedy of Disenchantment", "The Rivet in Grandfather's Neck: A Comedy, "The Eagle's Shadow"; Ray Cummings: "The Girl in the Golden Atom"; J. J. Connington: "Nordenholt's Millions"; P. Anderson Graham: "The Collapse of Homo Sapiens"; Aldous Huxley: "Antic Hay"; Edgar Rice Burroughs: "The Land that Time Forgot"; Edgar Rice Burroughs: "Tarzan and the Ant Men"; Ronald Knox: "Memories of the Future"; E. V. Odle: "The Clockwork Man"; H. G. Wells: "Men Like Gods"
- 1924 Ralph Milne Farley: "The Radio Man"; Eric Temple Bell: "The Purple Sapphire"; James Branch Cabell: "From the Hidden Way: Being Seventy-Five Adaptations"; Alfred Doblin: "Mountains, Seas, and Giants"; Lord Dunsany: "The King of Elfland's Daughter"; Yevgeny Zamiatin: "We"
- 1925 Edgar Rice Burroughs: "The Eternal Lover", "The Cave Girl"; Hugo Gernsback: "Ralph 124C41+"; Adolf Hitler: "Mein Kampf"—not science fiction; Karel Capek: "Krakatit"; Karel Capek: "The Makropoulos Secret"; Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Land of Mist"; Franz Kafka: "The Trial"
- 1926 Edgar Rice Burroughs: "The Moon Maid"; James Branch Cabell: "The Silver Stallion: A Comedy of Redemption"; Robert M. Coates: "The Eater of Darkness"; Reginald Glossop: "The Orphan of Space"; Charlotte Haldane: "Man's World"; Abraham Merritt: "The Ship of Ishtar"; Edgar Wallace: "The Day of the Uniting"; A. Hyatt Verrill: "Beyond the Pole"; Guy Dent: "Emperor of the If"; Thea von Harbou: "Metropolis"
- 1927 Eric Temple Bell: "Quayle's Invention", Eric Temple Bell: "The Gold Tooth"; E. R. Burroughs: "The Master Mind of Mars"; James Branch Cabell: "Something About Eve: A Comedy of Fig-Leaves"; Karel Capek: "The Absolute at Large"; Donald Corley: "The House of Lost Identity"; Abraham Merritt: "Seven Footprints to Satan"; H. G. Wells: "The Short Stories of H. G. Wells"; S. Fowler Wright: "Deluge: A Romance"
- 1928 Alexander Belayev: "The Amphibian"; Otto Willi Gail: "By Rocket to the Moon"; Edmond Hamilton: "Crashing Suns"; Philip Francis Nowlan: "Armageddon 2419 A.D."; Eimar O'Duffy: "The Spacious Adventures of the Man in the Street"; Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.: "The Skylark of Space"; Virginia Woolf: "Orlando"; Sydney Fowler Wright: "The Island of Captain Sparrow"
- 1929 Sydney Fowler Wright: "The World Below"; Kay Burdekin: "The Rebel Passion"; Arthur Conan Doyle: "The Marcot Deep and Other Stories"; Floyd Phillips Gibbons: "The Red Napoleon"; Edmond Hamilton: "Cities in ther Air", "Outside the Universe"; David H. Keller: "The Human Termites"; Otis Adelbert Kline: "The Planet of Peril"; Edgar Wallace: "Plantoid 127"; Jack Williamson: "The Girl from Mars"; S. Fowler Wright: "The World Below"
- 1930 Miles J. Breuer: "Paradise and Iron"; John W. Campbell: "The Black Star Passes"; Ray Cummings: "Brigands of the Moon"; Edmond Hamilton: "The Universe Wreckers"; Murray Leinster: "Murder Madness"; Olaf Stapledon: "Last and First Men"; Eric Temple Bell: "The White Lily", "The Iron Star"; Jack Williamson: "The Green Girl"; Philip Gordon Wylie: "Gladiator"
- 1922 Nosferatu [Germany]
- 1923 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
- 1924 Aelita
- 1925 The Lost World; The Death Ray; The Hands of Orloc; The Phantom of the Opera
- 1926 Metropolis [Germany]
- 1928 High Treason
- 1929 Frau im Mond; The Mysterious Island
- 1930 Just Imagine
- 1922 Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon open the tomb of King Tut-Ankh-Amon. Carnarvon dies not long after, giving rise to the legend of the curse of King Tut.
- 1923 The first issue of "Weird Tales" magazine published
- 1923 Radio Station WEAF, in New York, sponmsored by a battery company, is one of the first broadcasters; Abraham Merritt, "The Face in the Abyss" story published in "Argosy"; along with its 1931 sequel, it became his masterpiece novel, "The Face in the Abyss"
- 1924 Abraham Merritt, "The Ship of Ishtar" story published in "Argosy"
- 1925 Ray Cumming, serial "Tarrano the Conquerer" begins in Gernsback, "Science and Inventions"; First stage performance of "Dracula", written by and starring Hamilton Deane
- 1926 First issue of AMAZING STORIES magazine; Edmond Hamilton, "Across Space"; Edmond Hamilton, "The Monster-God of Mamurth" in "Weird Tales"; Clare Winger Harris' "A Runaway World"; G. Peyton Wertenbaker, "The Coming of the Ice"; Donald E. Keyhoe, "Through the Vortex" in "Weird Tales"
- 1927 the first Letter Column in Amazing Stories, "Discussions", the beginning of science fiction fandom.; Bela Lugosi stars in John Baldeston, staging of "Dracula"; Amazing Stories acquires its 100,000th reader, and starts publishing Abraham Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft, A. Hyatt Verril, Miles J. Breuer, as well as continuing to run H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, George Allan England, Garrett P. Serviss, and Murray Leinster.; Ray Cumming, "Around the Universe"; Edmond Hamilton, "The Moon Menace", "Evolution Island" in "Weird Tales"; Julian Huxley, "The Tissue Culture Kings"; H. P. Lovecraft writes the "The Call of Chthulhu", "The Color out of Space"; Donald Wandrei, "The Red Brain"
- 1928 Hugo Gernsback launches "Quarterlies" of 144 pages for 50 cents each; E. E. "Doc" Smith, serial "The Skylark of Space" in "Amazing Stories", the birth of the "space opera" subgenre; Philip Nowlan, serial "Armageddon 2419 A.D." in "Amazing Stories", which becomes the comic strip "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century"; Earl Bell, "The Moon of Doom"; Clare Winger Harris' "The Miracle of the Lily"; David H. Keller, "A Biological Experiment", "The Revolt of the Pedestrians"; John Martin Leahy, "In Amundsen, Tent"; G. G. Pendarves' "The Eight Green Men"; R. F. Starzl, "Out of the Sub-Universe"
- 1929 Hugo Gernsback forced to sell "Amazing Stories", "The Killing Flash";; "When the World Screamed" by Arthur Conan Doyle, Professor Challenger; Murray Leinster, "The Darkness on Fifth Avenue"; Philip Francis Nowlan, "The Airlords of Mars"; D. D. Sharp, "The Eternal Man"; Harl Vincent, "Barton, Island"; Wallace West, "The Last Man"; Stanton A. Coblentz' novel "After 12,000 years"; H. P. Lovecraft, "The Dunwich Horror" in "Weird Tales"
- 1930 Hugo Gernsback launches "Scientific Detective Stories" magazine, merges "Air Wonder" and "Science Wonder" creating "Wonder Stories" magazine; John W. Campbell, first story (novelette), "When the Atoms Failed", "The Metal Horde" in "Amazing Stories", serial, "Islands of Space", begins in "Amazing Stories"; Edmond Hamilton, serial "The Universe Wreckers" begins in "Amazing Stories"; John W. Campbell, "Piracy Preferred" in "Amazing Stories"; Ray Palmer, "The Time Ray of Jandra" in "Wonder"; P. Schuyler Miller, "The Red Plague" in "Wonder"; E. E. Smith, sequel novel "Skylark Three" begins in "Amazing Stories"; Harry Bates & William Clayton launch "Astounding" magazine; John W. Campbell, "The Black Star Passes" in "Amazing Stories Quarterly"; Charles Willard Diffin, "The Power and the Glory"; Edmond Hamilton, "The Man Who Saw the Future"; David H. Keller, "The Ivy War"; D. D. Sharp, "The Day of the Beast"; Frank Belknap Long, "A Visitor from Egypt" in "Weird Tales"