Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Fan Fiction Reviews

READERS REVIEW THE PASTICHES & FAN FICTION

The only currency our authors receive is feedback from the readers. A direct and appreciated form is a review. Submit a review to tangor@erblist.com with FAN FIC REVIEW in the SUBJECT LINE. Our authors like to know what they are doing right and to discover what they might do to make their stories better.

At present the story reviews are presented in alphabetical order. First entry is the story title and author, followed by the reviews. Some reviews contain spoilers and will be so marked. Where an off page review of a Tangor's Pastiche and Fan Fiction story has been found there will be a LINK to that review. Use your back button to return to this page.

The Brute and a Bar of Gold - Rick Johnson
STEVE SERVELLO:
Upon notification by Tangor of a new Opar short story, I indulged myself. Rick Johnson has penned a truly marvelous tale, "The Brute and a Bar of Gold." The story is simple enough, an Irish adventurer makes his way to Ophir, as Opar is referred to, and absconds with a forty pound bar of gold from a vault that Tarzan had overlooked during his looting of the city. The plot, while interesting enough, is not the story's strong point. It is the way the tale is told that captured my primary interest. As O'Brien fled the Bolgani from the Valley of the Palace of Diamonds, Johnson reveals the adventurer's thoughts about the proper way to do this and the improper. The story is chock full of such observations and added to the locale of Opar, adds up to seven pages of reading joy. Thank you Rick!
Caverns of Mars - Tars Tarkas, Jason Gridley & Tangor
XENOPHILE:
I liked this. Especially the surprise ending, and the mother's "final act." Ras Thavas was in fine form and the mad scientist gone madder. Yes, this was quite good. I want one of those helmets.
Captured by Uncle Jack - Andy Nunez
XENOPHILE: Heh heh. I always like to read long-lost, secret documents. Perhaps that is all I should say. Other than that I liked it.
The Face in the Trees - James D. Bozarth
XENOPHILE: OK, first off, I know little about the Phantom. There was something on A&E a few years back, because of the movie, so I knew the basics: costumed crimefighter, preceding Superman et al, no powers, each generation takes over the role, father to son. If somebody kills the Phantom, they will be shocked to find the purple guy is still after them. This makes the bad guys think that he is supernatural. This is sort of like what Ta... Elmo did with the M'bonga. This story was handled in such a way that neither character overshadowed the other. It is always a danger in cross-overs that one hero will make the other look less heroic. This did not happen in this story.
Dead Cities of Mars - David Bruce Bozarth
Marsha Spal:
It took Bozarth's FEVER! to get me to write. I've sent that review. Doing that reminded me I should review Dead Cities of Mars which was my first introduction to this author back in 1999. I liked it. I liked it a lot. If I write more I'll give away the secret of what makes Dead Cities of Mars work. Mr. Bozarth knows Barsoom. He knows how to make it work today and have fun at the same time.
Barry Elgin:
Bozarth told me in email that he started this story back in 1964! Do you know how much fun it is to talk to authors? Get a feel for what they intended? DEAD CITIES OF MARS is a grand romp in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom. These dead cities live! I almost hate to give away the author's fabulous gimmick but I'll do it and see if this review gets posted. DBB reversed everything in ERB's Mars stories. Gals with balls and guys with no balls, yet heroes everywhere! Kantos Kan, John Carter's second in command, is caught in a National Enquirer fiasco! Totally grand fun that is a great adventure story too! A Must Read!
Jan Simko:
After reading When The Princess Disappeared last year and writing a review I never thought it would be posted I found a email address to Mr. Bozarth and he replied which surprised me!! A couple of emails later it was like talking to my dad. I like the Barsoom stuff and wanted more but Mr. Bozarth said I should read all of the mars books before I read any more of his stuff. I think that was nice to say and Im glad I did but I can't help liking this new stuff he writes. Dead Cities of Mars is a great!! Two kids go to Barsoom in a ugly way and find adventures and love. I like Cheeta the little talking white ape. What a bad little monkey! Mr. Bozarth said his first draft of Dead Cities of Mars was written in 1964. My mom was one year old which made me look up the age of my grandparents when Burroughs was writing and they were little kids! When I go to college I hope I find a Tony Martin!
FEVER! - David Bruce Bozarth
Marsha Spal:
I've been reading the fan fiction at Tangor's web site for years. I check back often to find anything new. Found something that is really new. FEVER!, as often declared by ERB fans is "adventure romance," but this story is adventure romance to which I can truly relate. Let the hairy beasts do all the dangerous things and conquer or defeat the baddies, that is what Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote. Bozarth does the same but also recognizes that us softer types keep the home fires burning. Bozarth speaks true. In this story women are given more than a nod and wink that we hold families and suffer to make that happen. More importantly, Bozarth's World of Transits is a fascinating place. A blend of Barsoom and early 20th Century Earth with a dash of extraordinary in the combination. David Bruce Bozarth writes meaty tales. His La of Opar remains one of my favorites. He weaves action with heart and inserts the right amount of sexual tension to make it real. We have sex that men and women do that is hot, personal, and intimate but Bozarth and never crosses into the obscene, unlike too many of the books I find these days. Bozarth's Princess Rachelle could be my sister. FEVER! is a hint to the Ward saga. This is supposed to be the 12th novel of Bozarth's World of Transits. I want to know more about what seems to be a rich and varied fictional world. Maybe my own family life and having a father who was not my father raising me and loving me is why FEVER! caught my attention and prompted this review. Maybe I send this because FEVER! speaks to real issues. Maybe I send it because I liked it better than anything I've read this year. Maybe I send it to say thank you.
Barry Elgin:
Is there any reason why David Bruce Bozarth is not a published author? I know what he has revealed in email messages about his problems with the quagmire of publishers, and agents, and so forth, but give me a break! This guy is a terrific writer! Somebody has dropped the ball by not buying what he's selling. FEVER! has all the best features of the World War II pulps, I know, I read most of those when I was a kid. Strong men. Strong women. Bozarth's UHR is a fascinating fictional world. I want all the back story hinted in this fantastic soap opera tale of desire, love, and mystery! I say soap opera in the best terms because engrossing characters and themes in real life terms are the bread and butter of good writers. DBB has hit another one out of the ball park!
A Fight in the Forest - David Bruce Bozarth
XENOPHILE:
SPOILERS! I have mixed feelings about this. I didn't like seeing the barbarian defeated, much less seeing him die. Still, he wasn't wimpy. This guy is not going to pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. His words of wisdom to the younger ape-man were... well, words of wisdom. I liked Well of Time better. I'll get to that one another time.
BARRY ELGIN:
With all the other stories by David Bruce Bozarth, it took awhile to finally get to this little gem! I disagree with the above reviewer: I love this tale of ancient tragedy and modern despair! A Fight in the Forest fills in that little gap at the end of TOA and explains how the ape-man arrived in Wisconsin.
The Jungle God - Robert Fester
STEVE SERVELLO:
Thanks to Histah (Robert Fester) for his fine short story involving Tarzan (I just can't stomach calling him Elmo), Histah and M'tomba of the Uwulu tribe. Peripheral players are Wappi the Antelope, Ushu the wind, Kudu the sun, Manu the monkey, M'boru, Chief of the Uwulu, his son Ch'koro and Anjinou, the most desired woman of the tribe. Histah is a python of gigantic proportions and is intent on killing, then eating M'tomba. Enter Tarzan or Ptah (the Jungle God) and all hell breaks loose and the tale is brought back to the Uwulu tribe for their listening pleasure. My thanks to Histah for his nine page entry into the world of Tarzan.
DAVID ADAMS:
Histah, You are very good at capturing ERB's own style of writing. Tarzan saves a black man from a python in a fine adventure. There is a subtile psychological transformation of Tarzan into a forest god. Yet, somehow I expected an appearance of the ape-man at the end in the village itself, some other twist in the tale. I would like to read more stories about Tarzan if you are so inclined to write them. Love the short story form. I never have time to read LONG pastiches, but a Tarzan one may tempt me . . . ha. Enjoyed the opening from the viewpoint of the snake. . .
Jungle of Bronze - Andy Nunez
STEVE SERVELLO:
Andy Nunez may well be the master of the crossover pastiches! In "Jungle of Bronze" he has successfully melded the worlds of Tarzan and Doc Savage (I just can't bring myself to say "Elmo," though "Justice" rings true). Jane is kidnapped by a high tech and merciless organization known as the Bright Ones. How she fares under this circumstance and how both living legends involve themselves in her rescue, make for a great read. Add in some detailed insights into La and her decadent city of Opar, a teasing glimpse of the nearby City of the Bolgani and the Tarzan look-alike, Esteban Miranda, and the novella is escalated from a great read to an incredible one. I have been privileged to read much of Andy's fanfiction, for many years now and I'm pleased to see that his talent shines as bright as ever. If only his body of work could be collected into a few paperbacks. I'd then be delighted to have them stand aside my other heroic fantasy books, instead of in my file cabinet.
THOOS:
Just thought I'd let you know I've just taken the time to read JoB. Wasn't terribly taken with the title - surely not all Doc Savage's titles tied into his physical attributes. Loved the fast, pulpy pace. Laughed right out loud when Doc Savage mentioned he could smell Nkima from Tarzan's shoulder! That monkey oughta wash! La was magnificent. The interplay between the sidekicks was delicious and the jungle-craft of Jane was quite shocking. Don't want to spoil it for those who haven't read it, but all I can say is to those who ain't read it yet - whaddaya waitin' fer, fer cryin' out loud. [See, you've even made me regress back to my pulp-readin' days - wotta revoltin' development!] Seriously though, thanks for taking the time. You hit it right on the spot for this ERBophile.
La of Opar - David Bruce Bozarth
MARSHA SPAL:
I loved the story! I would so marry the man who could write such a story! Interested? In a way you scared me with La of Opar by speaking to all the things that girls think of and dream of and desire and you tell with such truth all of the ugliness we suffer in the world of men and how family is all that matters. Until I read this story I would never believed that A MAN could know what women think and yearn for. I'm serious!
BARRY ELGIN:
100 years in the life of La. For nearly 50 years I thought I was the only fan of the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Imagine my surprise when my daughter put a computer in the house and showed me the internet and there I find all things Burroughs, including new stories! David Bruce Bozarth has written a masterful tale of one of the most intriguing ERB heroines to come down the pike: La of Opar, High Priestess of the Flaming God. Burroughs purists might be a little confused in the chronology of Bozarth's tale but will never be confused with the action, heart, and adventure. The story begins with La's life before Tarzan, herein called Elmo for some reason though I suspect copyrights might have something to do with it. Bozarth's exploration and explanation of the Atlantean culture of Opar is extraordinary and insightful. Then Tarzan enters and from there the story of La takes quite a turn from that which Burroughs wrote. Bozarth seems to have read between all the lines ERB produced and portrays 100 years of La's existence in sometimes humorous and dark prose. This La lives and breathes, finds love, a family, and sees the greater world. In that passage of time La's world changes and she adjusts, displaying an inner strength and resiliance we knew was there all along. La of Opar progresses even further into the lives of La's children and grandchildren and through it all is the two great romantic loves of her life. Thank you, Mr. Bozarth. From the listing of stories you have written, I look forward to many more hours of entertainment!
DAVID ADAMS: Review at Nkima Speaks
AMAR:
I was used to the humorous cross-over pastiches. They were very enjoyable. Then I read La of Opar. The story made me look into the pain of the child, girl and woman who was to be the High Priestess of Opar. This was a welcome insight into La. Thank you, Tangor.
ANDY NUNEZ:
I wish you could publish your La story. That was one of the best reads I have had in a long time because it felt right. You know, you read stories and the characters are just bland, but in the La stories, the characters, especially La and her mate, are fully formed people that you genuinely like and care about. The action is just icing on the cake. Good reads just don't get any better than that. Gridley
BILL MACKEY:
I lost my link to Tangor's website a few years ago. Then forgot about it. Then found it recently. I had enjoyed the first short stories that he and Andy Nunez posted, back when they used "Tarzan" instead of "Elmo." At the time WHEN THE PRINCESS DISAPPEARED was in monthly serial and I had printed up 7 of the chapters. When I found this new, improved, and huge erblist.com site and nearly 100 new pastiche stories the first thing I did was get WTPD! Bear with me, this is supposed to be a review of LA OF OPAR, and it will be. Reading through all the stories that I greedily printed off I was amazed at the high quality of the stories and the care and dedication of the authors in producing them. I was in ERB heaven. Then I grabbed my three ring binder holding LA OF OPAR and started reading. And did not stop until I finished Part One. THIS La was some kind of lady! Savage, terrible, beautiful, sexy, fightened, lost, confused, loving, breathing! I spent the next day at work thinking about Bozarth's LA OF OPAR. Her life from Africa to World War II. Amazing! I could hardly wait to get home and put a frozen dinner in the microwave. The binder sat on the table. Ding! Plastic tray of food, a Coke, the binder. I opened to the book mark from the night before. "My mother is the High Priestess of Opar." Having read that sentence I was glad I had not the night before, else I would have had no sleep! La's daughter, La, is equally as fascinating and her life had not been happy in her youth, much like her mother's. Her adventures are told with great heart and though there are no jungles in Part Two, the dangers are just as terrible. The events in Russia, particularly the escape, filled me with such rage and bitterness, and tears. Very few authors have ever made me cry. And there were so many pages left yet unread! I remember wondering what Bozarth could write AFTER that tragic telling of La Junior's life. I did not wonder long as I continued reading: "My mother was the daughter of La of Opar." Part of me sighed. "Now we hear from the granddaughter..." And then Bozarth startled me (as he always does!) with a plot twist that brings in that savage, terrible, beautiful woman of the world in a way that rings true. By the time I finished LA OF OPAR I was in an astonished sweat. Why? I had sat down to read adventure romance. What I read was the best adventure chick flick ever! If you read nothing else at Tangor's Pastiche and Fan Fiction, read LA OF OPAR. You will not be disappointed. This is no story like you've ever read before!
Long Time Dying - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
I actually read this story twice. I didn't get it the first time around. The blurb proclaims this is something ERB might have written if he had lived to 1984. But I didn't get it. The second read revealed all and I wonder why I didn't get it the first time. Rafe and Jackson are heroes Barsoomian...quiet, determined, capable. Their world is changing and has dangers unexpected. They both love the same woman. ERB might have grown enough to tackle a complicated love triangle as found in Bozarth's LONG TIME DYING had he not died in 1950. Rafe and Jackson are men with stout hearts and admirable values; yet are torn by those characteristics. They are eternal rivals yet eternal friends. And Iris! The object of their love is an unselfish woman who struggles with her affection for both men, unwilling to let either go. A good woman as strong and determined as the men she loves--and subject to all the failures of relationships from time immemorial. Bozarth tells a tale Edgar Rice Burroughs might have told--had he lived to 1984. A deeply felt story of human psychology, yearning, desire, and--ultimately--acceptance of come what may. After I read it the second time I realize I did get it. I was just surprised that this wonderful tale of relationships, love, desire and RESTRAINT could ever be "Burroughsian" or from the pen of the best Barsoomian pastiche writer of my knowledge, then I realized ERB would have gone through the literary changes which made this kind of story in print possible--had he lived to 1984. Bozarth writes nothing new as regards the pitfalls of love. I think all of us know something about what he wrote--which makes it all the more important. Bozarth's LONG TIME DYING will remain long in my memory just as ERB's equally stunning and diverse I AM A BARBARIAN remains vivid. After reading all the wonderful Barsoom pastiches by David Bruce Bozarth I am thrilled he could surprise me the same way ERB surprised me with Barbarian.
Moon Maid at Earth's Core - Andy Nunez
DAVID ADAMS: Review at Nkima Speaks
BILL MACKEY:
MMEC is a fun-filled adventure romp in Pellucidar. All of the great and grand pulp flourishes abound with many nods and winks to the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Our hero has a "golden lion" of his own, a sabertooth tiger, a powerful airplane, and a girl to win. Nunez links the perils of pulp world conquerors into a fast paced tale circa the same time period. Grand fun!
Ras Thavas: The Great Ape - John Barnes
BARRY ELGIN:
I want to say "Thanks for another Ras Thavas story, Mr. Bozarth" because this RTC story is a good as any he has written, but the name of the author is John Barnes, so I must say "Thanks, Mr. Barnes!" Here again is a thoughtful, entertaining tale of Barsoom which begins with Ras Thavas and the calot taking a vacation in the Toonolian Marsh. They visit the largest of the many islands and in the jungles of a mountainous area find a lost city which reveals mysteries of Tur, a god of the Phundahlians. The main plot of the story regards the results of Ras Thavas' earlier experiments in brain transplants.
Ras Thavas: The Arena - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
SPOILERS! I've tried to review the Ras Thavas and the Calot stories without giving away the entire premise, but if one is to review Ras Thavas: The Arena, the cat must be let out of the bag. Ras Thavas' wife, who was a bad girl during their marriage, has had her brain put in her husband's hunting calot where she can do no harm or speak to others instead of being killed for her betrayals. Ras Thavas promises to restore her brain to her human body when she has learned her lesson. Thasa Ras, however, after many years of residing in the calot's body, begins to believe she will never be human again and runs away into the Toonolian Marsh. She would rather live alone than be reminded daily of her evil ways and face her husband's unyielding stance. In the wilds surrounding the marsh Thasa Ras battles the creatures of Barsoom, always victorious, until she is captured by green Martians and made an animal in their arena games, which are always fought to the death. Mr. Bozarth goes into detail regarding the Qathor, a green tribe, and the games which Thasa Ras must survive. Even though Ras Thavas: The Arena is a short story of specified length, it contains as much action as any Burroughs novel of Barsoom. The speculation of Barsoomian animal reproduction is very inventive. The bond between Ras Thavas and his wife is reaffirmed in a well-drawn battle scene. I have read five of the RTC stories and Arena, by far, is the most exciting!
Ras Thavas: Among The Therns - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
When I read ERB's GODS OF MARS when I was a young boy, I skipped over most of the religious aspects of the book. I was interested in John Carter's fighting ability and if he would ever save Dejah Thoris. Bozarth's Ras Thavas: Among the Therns reminds me I should go back and read GODS to see what I missed. Ras Thavas and his calot encounter a despicable plot by Therns and First Born to revive the religion of Issus. Mr. Bozarth makes a convincing argument that a lie told often enough becomes truth and from that premise follows the actions of Ras Thavas. I will admit I was a bit disappointed with Ras Thavas: Among the Therns in that it did not seem to flow with the same energy and creativeness as Ras Thavas: The New City; however, THERNS does keep the author's promise to explore new regions and characters of Mars. The side story of Ras Thavas and his wife is center stage and (knowing there are more Ras Thavas and the Calot tales to read) I look forward to seeing how that turns out!
Ras Thavas: The Bowman - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
Bozarth's Ras Thavas and the Calot series just keeps getting better. Mr. Bozarth has rebuilt Thavas (NEW CITY), uncovered religous fakery (THERNS) and now takes us into the history of the Orovars via the tragic and startling tale of Kar Komak and his wife Rena. Bozarth indicated in his Exploring Barsoom introduction to the Ras Thavas and the Calot series that he would take us to new places on Burroughs' dying planet of Mars and in this powerful short story he reveals the secrets of the ancient Orovars and the origin of the fierce green martians in the hitherto unknown dead city of Faz. The story all expands on the interaction between Ras Thavas and his wife and their growing understanding and respect of each other. Well done!
Ras Thavas: The Desert - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
I believe I have found a new occupation: writing reviews of David Bruce Bozarth's Ras Thavas and the Calot stories! DESERT is a very short tale that focuses on the dependence of man and beast and man and wife. Related with a brutal bluntness almost as savage as the banth attack that nearly kills Ras Thavas, the reader learns even more about the bond between Ras Thavas and his wife Thasa Ras. Not a story of adventure or romance, but a tale for one to ponder human relationships.
Ras Thavas: The Dungeon - David Bruce Bozarth
STEVE SERVELLO:
Tangor has taken Ras Thavas from his most physical adventure in "Panthan" to his most metaphysical, in "Dungeon." While the tale of the Master Mind and Thasa Ras may appear over, perhaps they are just beginning ... A haunting story and one of the highlights was a vision of Thuria. Yea, I like any mention of that moon and Tangor expressed much in the brief reference made. Thanks Tangor for ending the Ras Thavas sequence on a high note. I do hope you write other prequels or tales that took place between those already written.
DAVID ADAMS:
SPOILERS! I enjoyed the story as much as your outline for it. It was a brilliant little mythic tale, as I recall the first one of the series being. I would have called it THE TALE OF SIX COFFINS. You open with an homage to Poe and take the tale through some interesting convolutions. (Notes: check out paragraph 2 - reversal of hand of man) I read the figures in the other coffins to be forms of the soul (psyche) in early and late incarnations -- which are also images of what went before in the story (the two conditions of their marriage). The story is so economical that I hate to suggest expanding it, but I expected more ROOMS during the upward journey. I see the tunnel as a reverse of the rotating spiral castle in Gods of Mars -- it is of glass and images of past, present, and future are seen on the walls. I expected a room of books in cases and trunks, which can appear and disappear, hold all knowledge and all foolishness. I expected a room of music that might beguile and repulse. I think you gave a hint at these possibilities by the kaldanes in the passageways. Actually, the spiral castle or dungeon is extremely interesting, and I would love to explore it further. The room of the machines performing circular tasks was brilliant! Your final tale leaves many questions to unravel. Again, you have written not so far from ERB but carried the spirit of his writing in a direction he might have gone had he lived longer. I see the next Ras Thavas tale (if there should be more!) as a kind of Solaris story. Or maybe that is what Solaris is all about!
Ras Thavas: The Helper - David Bruce Bozarth
MARSHA SPAL:
Anyone reading the RTC stories know that Helper is the last one (so far! Can we ask for more?). The main character is not Ras Thavas. The calot is not in the story at all. What we are given is a quick, neat, finely crafted little aside into the mind of Ras Thavas and the politics of the local region. That's it in a nutshell. There is much more to the story than that, of course, all of it filling in the blanks and expanding even further the explorations of Barsoom. One thing I have noticed in reading Bozarth's RTC series is the apparent determination by the author to never write the same thing twice. Mysteries, adventures, chase and pursuits, supernatural, scientific, mystical, Westerns-- One never knows where Bozarth's Ras Thavas will go...or what voice, tense, or genre will be encountered. The one thing I can say is that readers of DBB's RTC series will enjoy is learning more about Jusaj--Ras Thavas' Man Friday. After reading HELPER I know more about Jusaj and he's no longer window dressing. Scares me a bit, but I think I'd like to know the majordomo of the Master Mind of Barsoom.
BARRY ELGIN:
We can all breathe a sigh of relief! Even though Tangor has written the "end" of the RTC stories in DUNGEON, he has written yet another wonder tale of Barsoom, indicating that more stories of the mastermind and his calot are possible! In THE HELPER we learn the origin of Jusaj, Ras Thavas' secretary-aide during the first days of New City of Thavas. As a prequel to a science fiction series, this short story does a better job of explaining things already known than the recent REVENGE OF THE SITH does for Star Wars. I really like the way the story is summed up: reformed mad scientist and reformed assassin. Again, I am astonished at how action-filled these non-action RTC stories are. Bozarth makes the everyday lives of the mastermind and those around him read like epics!
Ras Thavas: The Hunted - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
Bozarth has done something no other writer has ever done. He has managed to kill Dejah Thoris, wife of John Carter, the most incomparable woman on two worlds! What follows is an adventure in travel, science, and danger. Ras Thavas becomes the target of various groups. He faces the death of his wife and the comforting arms of an alluring Jasoomian woman. I enjoyed the concepts in this story so much I had to take a break from reading Ras Thavas and the Calot stories to read WHEN THE PRINCESS DISAPPEARED on which parts of the HUNTED hinged and is now next on my review list. HUNTED is one of the most complex RTC stories to date.
JAN SIMKO:
I've been reading Burroughs Mars books. Didn't think much of Dejah Thoris until I read this story on line and then read the back story when the princess disappeard. I like Dee. Gutsy gal. Tall enough to stand next to any man. Why didn't Burroughs write her that way?
Ras Thavas: The Kaldane - David Bruce Bozarth
DAVID ADAMS:
Bozarth has produced another clever little tale that is sure to please aficionados of ERB’s Mars stories. It seems that the present day author has again gotten into the mind of the dead author and pulled out all the secret information about the history, science and psychology of the strange, bodiless kaldanes and their rykors upon whom they ride. This is a little mystery story that is solved neatly by the two scientists, husband and wife (even though the wife is locked in the body of a cat). After the scientific mystery is solved with a modern twist of ecological responsibility, the cat wife makes her final decision about her condition. Needless to say, "a lion is always a lion," and in ERB’s best tradition, the beast proves more noble and worthy than man (or woman). Overall, the story was well written, but you must have read the previous tales to understand the depth of the love between husband and wife and the feasibility of their present situation. To me, the details about the kaldanes were more interesting than the mystery tale itself, but this too is in the ERB style, whose mysteries were always entirely transparent. I also found more logic and speculative telling than outright adventure in this story. Yet, Bozarth has written a solid pastiche as usual, and this one will be appreciated by fans.
BARRY ELGIN:
Ras Thavas and the calot travel to mysterious Bantoom...only that fertile valley is not so mysterious. Since the time of Tara and Gahan's adventures in the land of spider-men (Chessmen of Mars), commerce and trade has begun. The kaldanes, superbrains who ride on brainless rykors which are human-like in appearance, have learned that there is more to life than their centuries old isolation. But now there is a blight in Bantoom and Ras Thavas, the greatest scientist on Mars, is called upon to find the cause. Each RTC story reveals a little more about the mastermind and in this one we discover he has an airship fitted out for scientific exploration. KALDANE has no sword fights but does exercise the brain with an ecological and biological mystery. Thasa Ras is instrumental in the investigation. What I liked about the story was the detail of the characters and new speculations regarding the kalanes. What I didn't like about the story was the desire to cover a yawn after reading it. A good story...but one that shows that writing a series can be difficult. Bozarth seemed to be a bit desperate for story material in THE KALDANE. Having read the RTC stories written after this one I know the author's creative juices did not dry up, but in this one, perhaps, the juices might have been a bit sour.
Ras Thavas: The Morgor - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
I've said it before, Bozarth's RTC series keeps getting better, but this time I mean it doubled! Ras Thavas and the military of New City of Thavas deal with an extra-planetary threat from the skeleton men of Jupiter. In answer to that threat Ras Thavas enters his laboratory. This is an action story with little action. I know that sounds impossible, but that's the way I read it. Thasa Ras does not have much of a part, but her presence is certainly biting! What is most fascinating is Bozarth's attention to detail, even to the inclusion of a military roster of men and ships. There's so much in Bozarth's short story series that one can spend hours pondering details and new details. Barsoom lives! I haven't commented before, but whoever is doing the artwork gets a thumbs up from me!

Editor's note: Unless specified otherwise by artist name, illustrations for the Ras Thavas series is by the series author, David Bruce Bozarth.

Ras Thavas: The Mother - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
I must admit I wanted more from this little story. Ras Thavas must deal with the repercussions of one of his most evil acts. The entire story takes place in the office of the master mind then a walk to the marsh. Of all the RTC stories I've read this one is the most depressing, not because of Mr. Bozarth's writing but because of the subject matter. Thasa Ras appears at her most vile temper, revealing some of the personality which led to her current position.
Ras Thavas: The Murderess - David Bruce Bozarth
STEVE SERVELLO:
Tangor has once again changed his stride, in this, his latest Ras Thavas short story. What we have this time is a "who dunnit" in the land of the First Born. The Omean makes for a dramatic backdrop to the investigatory efforts of both the Master Mind of Mars and his savage wife, Thasa Ras. Add in the return of Dator Xodar and a handful of other First Born and you have an understanding of what is afoot. Even then, the ending will surprise you. Thank you yet again Tangor for giving us fans, another glimpse of the wonderful world of Barsoom. This 23 page soap opera/murder fantasy is a worthy addition to all your prior offerings.
BARRY ELGIN:
I liked it! As a mystery story: so-so. As an exploration of Barsoom: thumbs-up! What happened to Xodar at the end of Warlord? Here's one answer. What about the city of First Born at the south pole? Here's one answer. A look at Martian society? Got 'er right here! Tangor, like ERB, choses to complicate his stories in the details of the characters and the world and how they interact with each other. Agatha Christie he ain't, yet this remains a fun read, with a surprising ending.
Ras Thavas: The The New City - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
I had just finished reading Bozarth's La of Opar and tried the first of his Ras Thavas and the Calot stories. I remember reading Master Mind of Mars when I was 10 or 11 back in the mid-1950s. I didn't much care for that evil scientist who put a pretty girl's brain in the body of an old hag and the hag's brain into the girl's body. Imagine my surprise at this Ras Thavas, master scientist and doctor, is a man contrite and remorseful and humanitarian! He saves the life of his only friend and one time student Vad Varo. The building anew of Thavas is a neat bit of history condensed but the story truly begins with the finding of an infant Martian girl. It is her upbringing and eventual marriage to Ras Thavas which is most interesting in the depth of the relationship and Bozarth's ability to speak volumes in so few words! If I tell more I shall give away the final part so I will confine my remaining remarks to this: Martian adventure meets O. Henry--the unexpected twist upon which two lives will turn. I look forward to reading the rest of the Ras Thavas and the Calot stories!
BRIDGE
I took the plunge and read a longer fan fiction story on ERBlist, Tangor's first Ras Thavas story, The New City. It's been many years since I read "Master Mind" but there were enough references in the story that it easily triggered memories of the book. I kept thinking, My this is LONG for a first chapter, and then realized as I finished that this was not chapter one, but was actually the first independent short story in a series of sequential short stories. The afterword by Nkima spoke of Freudian and Jungian concepts, something I do not know much about and shrink in terror from spending the intellectual time to even try to understand them. Rather, I'll just enjoy the stories for what they are. The story seems to move a bit rapidly at a time (50 or so years in a paragraph at times!!) but maybe this is necessary as this is the setup story for the adventures that follow. It's good that Mars is not pestered by environmental regulations, or Ras would never have been allowed to undertake that reclamation project! Wonder if there were mosquitoes in that marsh? Tangor writes well and I will read other adventures as time permits. Besides, I have no choice! According to a recent post, we HAVE to read all the Ras Thavas adventures to understand the Tangor-Nunez collaboration, if it ever gets done!!
Ras Thavas: The Odwar's Wife - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
An ugly tale of kidnaping told in powerful brief. Tavia, wife of Tan Hadron is abducted along with Ras Thavas' calot and what happens to her is brutal. Bozarth has related a tale between the lines of what Burroughs wrote of Barsoomian customs of hostage taking. The actions of girl and calot are believable and violent. In the midst of all this Mr. Bozarth manages to inject a bit of humor that rings as true as it does ridiculous. I know the story is made up, but all of the actions taken by the characters in his stories come from real life. I know idiots like the kidnapers--and wish I could deal with them as did Tavia and the calot!
Ras Thavas: The Panthan - David Bruce Bozarth
DAVID ADAMS:
Ras Thavas: The Panthan is a very fine ending to an epic series of tales in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs written by Bruce Bozarth. There is plenty of action in this story, a desperate battle against villains, and a surprise ending. The thing that I liked the most about The Panthan was the fact that it reads as well as a story of the American West as one on Barsoom, and this fact of was always in the back of Burroughs’ mind as well. I’m not so sure that I approve of the Master Mind being turned into another John Carter-like hero even when it is done so well. I kind of liked him better switching bodies around with evil intent with the tension caused by the uncanny experience of living in someone else’s sandals. Yet, Bozarth draws his characters with a strength of his own, and that has to count for something in a pastiche. Come to think of it -- Bozarth real weakness in writing pastiches of ERB’s characters is that he writes too well. I once wrote that Bruce expands ERB’s world into new and unexpected directions. Now I am not so sure that these characters can stand such a fine writer’s vision. Perhaps old Ras Thavas should have been left his skinny self with the big head and bulging eyes. Perhaps Bozarth should just write his own stories and leave lesser writers alone. Yet, fans of old Burroughs can still rejoice that another master took up the pen and left a fine set of stories once again that lift that Barsoomian vision to a higher plane.
STEVE SERVELLO:
Last night and this morning, I read Tangor's latest Ras Thavas short story, "The Panthan" and this 26 pager relates in brilliant fashion, the heroic defense of a caravan and a princess ... Ras Thavas is shown in a light never revealed before and the relation between himself and Thasa Ras enters a new and more powerful phase. Tangor has thrown in the usual bombs (and not the radium type, of which there are plenty), and woven a marvelous tale of barbarism, cruelty and nobility. Thanks again Tangor for bringing Barsoom back to life.
BARRY ELGIN:
WOW! Adams and Servello have reviewed this story already, and I can't add much to their comments, but I'm sure going to try. Ras Thavas as an action hero. Well drawn combat scenes, a romance out of nowhere but logical, a surprise ending that made me weep just a little. Not even Burroughs ever made me do that. A masterfully written look at Barsoomian life in the raw.
Rex Futuris - Andy Nunez
BARRY ELGIN:
Having read some Bozarth and Nunez collaborations, I thought I'd try this Alternate History by Nunez. Mixes three of my favorite themes in fiction: King Arthur, Military, and ERB! Rollicking good read made even more fun if you're old enough to have lived through the Cold War. The combination of mythologies, fables, and military conflicts is not completely new, but Nunez manages to present the premise with a grand sense of humor.
Skipjack Pete - Andy Nunez
JOHN MARTIN:
(Collected reviews of Nunez's Skipjack Pete comic strip) Checked out the new, improved, colorized Skipjack Pete "Monster Mayhem." Gorgeous, brilliant color. Love that green monster, and found out that Werewolves bleed black blood when you stab them with silver daggers. Great scene, too, of the vampire outlined against a large red window. Just read Skipjack Pete's third adventure, "A Ghost from the Past." Hey, if Chowderhead is able to come back from the dead, so can Skipjack Pete, although for a minute there I thought I was seeing The Mummy with a Machine Gun. Great closing line about "the only people who got hurt," although I think a few DID get hurt along the way, unless, of course, their deaths were so instantaneous that they "felt no pain." That Chowderhead...what a killer! Seriously...fun read. My morning ERBlist read was Andy Nunez's Skipjack Pete adventure, "Red Camelot," wherein the temporarily shipless Pete shows up in time to thwart a red plot to destroy Washington D.C. Conan the Barbarian makes a brief cameo, and four super heroes on vacation stop by to help, fortunately. A female reporter who, apparently, did NOT graduate from the University of Washington's journalism school, is eager to get Pete's assistance in slamming these dirty commies. Pete, unfortunately, gets a big sword rip in his trademark cap but, I'm betting he'll have a new and/or repaired one by next episode. Good, clean fun of the sword-stabbing, fist-bashing, gun-blasting, last-minute computer-manipulation style. With guys like these on the job, even Dick Cheney wasn't needed. Well, the title of this Skipjack Pete adventure (Deadlier Than The Male) is a bit of a giveaway. Yes, the villain is a woman this time. Major Svetlana Olgarka is a ruthless foe, but stupid. She's clever enough to capture Pete, but not clever enough to have his two companions shot in the back and their boat sunk. So, they live to attempt a rescue. Will they be in time, as Svetlana uses Pete as a bargaining chip in trying to free her brother, the evil Red Knight, from prison? We first met the Red Knight in the story Red Camelot in the Skipjack Pete section of erblist's fan fiction section. There, he wore a yellow costume with red trimming. But prison has been good to the Soviet villain, and he now sports a full red costume. In a coldly chilling prophecy of this 1985 adventure, the evil one utters: "Americans have no stomach when it comes to facing terrorism." Yet, he does not reckon on the entrepreneurial spirit of America's indepedent crime fighters. A great strip, in which the secret innovations on Skipjack Pete's sailboat are revealed. "Contract With the Devil": Just about every villain Skipjack Pete has ever battled is in prison, and the East Coast's version of "The O.C." rests in tranquility. But Old Scratch shows up behind the grey walls and these villains, who are too stupid to know that the Devil probably already DOES own their souls, sign on with the Satanic one in order to have another chance at Skipjack Pete. Costumed villains would not be out of place at a wrestling match, so what better venue to lure Pete to meet his demise, in front of thousands of shrieking and bloodthirsty pro wrestling fans? Never fear! Our hero and his comrades (excuse the expression) in arms shall prevail once again and, my favorite panel was the wonderful way that an enterprising Pete uses to take out Nocturno. (Ha ha. I'm really surprised you were able to get away with some of this stuff in what was probably the local "family newspaper". Great, absolutely great!) And, to the victor goes the Victoria? "Outer Space Snatch!" I have looked forward to this Skipjack Pete adventure with mixed emotions. On the one hand, at 40 strips, it is the longest adventure. On the sad side, it is the next to the last story, meaning the wild ride is nearing an end. But all things must end. Even the Tarzan books had an ending, if you don't count the pastiches. This is called the "Outer Space Snatch" and 40 strips are needed in order to do justice to a story that takes us 26 light years away. I cannot, in good conscience, reveal the incredible twists and turns that await the reader in this heart-palpitating saga. Suffice to say that arch rival Chowderhead surfaces once again, and fans of Star Wars and Superman and E.R.B. will find many things to tickle their memories. My favorite line: "I must be crazy listening to a talking head," which brings more than one meaning to my mind. I almost hate the read the LAST adventure. Will I read it, or will I save it for a future time when I am going through extreme Skipjack Pete withdrawal? "Mad Moxie Beyond Thundermower": No one knew it at the time. No one could have foretold it. But it was to be the last episode of Skipjack Pete due to the unforeseen demise of the newspaper. This continuing adventure strip, which had thrilled Ocean City residents each summer, was destined for an unplanned visit to Comic Strip Heaven. But, though unplanned as a closing strip, this last, brief adventure DOES provide some closure, with Skipjack Pete's two followers, the O.C. Kid and Turk showing what they learned from ol' Pete over the years and rising to a challenge in the best Skipjack Pete style and, just possibly, entering a new career that could start them on a new life path, away from the perils of the sea. And what of Victoria Bellwood. Did she fade into girl reporter limbo or did she end up with her own national bad guy-bashing show on Court TV? What would the future have held had not this news journal crumbled in the acidic paper dust? Would Pete and his two buddies have sailed the choppy seas in the Chessie II once more? None can say, unless Andy Nunez, as other great creators before him -- Mickey Spillane, Conan Doyle come to mind -- decides someday to reactivate his hero, and start up the secret rocket turbines of the harmless-looking skipjack once more. Along the way, we've seen a lot of villains get their just desserts, and have watched as others have seen the errors of their ways, repented, and turned their lives around. That, somehow, makes it all worthwhile. Can this reader possibly find something else in the vast Tangor's Fan Fiction section to fill the void? Time will tell.
Texas Pete: Life After the Gun - David Bruce Bozarth
BRIDGE:
Having exhausted the adventure of Skipjack Pete, I wandered elsewhere in the Fan Fiction section of Tangor's definitive website. I saw the name "Pete" and my heart leaped, believing that Tangor had at last written his prequel to the Skipjack saga. But, no, it was a sequel to "The Bandit of Hell's Bend," carrying on the adventure of rhymin' rhapsody renderer Texas Pete, perhaps an ancestor of the hero of Ocean City. I saw that it was fairly short and that convinced me to read it, if nothing else did! A good little yarn with lots of real purty poetry, of the kind that would make ol' Pete proud. A sad ending, though, as Pete, like Buck, is eventually snared by the wiles of a woman, and has to put up with a lot of horse crap.
Trover - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
The Star Trek Blurb almost scared me off. Burroughs and Star Trek? What was DBB thinking? Well, two paragraphs into the story the fears diminished and by the time Malcom Kirk was rescued by the off-world beauty I was hooked. Had the strange feeling I was reading Burroughs, Louis L'Amour, and Bob Heinlein all rolled into one. Science Fiction told in real world terms. Grand fun! What you expect in an adventure story and a lot of what you don't expect.
Trover IV: Win Some...Lose Some - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
Unlike the majority of Bozarth's stories, his Trover series seems to work toward happy endings...even if those endings are not all that happy. Had many laughs with Trover IV. The interaction between characters is very well drawn. DBB has the benefit of space flight in our time which Edgar Rice Burroughs did not. Also benefit is probably too many years of watching Star Trek and versions, yet Bozarth almost grimly maintains a grip on the qualities found in ERB's story telling style. Make no mistake, DBB writes for himself, and writes in the shadow of the grand master.
Tunnels of Gathol - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
The Gatholian justice system at work. A thoat herder is imprisoned after the invasion by Hin Abtol. Sentenced to labor in the diamond mines of Gathol a thoat herder and his guard face death when the lower levels are flooded. Bozarth writes nothing new regarding Barsoom this time around, he writes real life. Like the fire fighters of 9/11 the characters in this story face uncommon disaster with extraordinarily ordinary courage. A look at the Barsoomian legal system after the fact. After the Panar invasion. After all is said and done. Well Done!
Voyage to Zodanga - David Bruce Bozarth
BARRY ELGIN:
Finally getting around to addressing my self-imposed task of reviewing Tangor--as I now know he's known by. For me Tangor is David Bruce Bozarth...and even then I find out he goes by "Bruce." Many pleasant emails over the last few months. The "Texican", "Listmeister", and probably "Grand Poobah of ERB Fiction" as well. Whatever moniker is used I can only say that he who is all of the above has a vision of Barsoom that goes well beyond that which Edgar Rice Burroughs gave us. Burroughs mentioned human civilization before the oceans of Mars dried up. Bozarth takes us to those ancient oceans. One can smell the harbors and taste the sea air. Raw, crude, naked life. Barsoom in less happy days. Villians with principles and principals steeped in villiany. Not a happy story nor should it be. Slavery presented in the ugly. Assassination as a way of life. Death as the friend next door. Yet I cannot help liking the assassin Treybn of Ptarth. Real. Raw. Barsoom alive. Of note is the character of Orlay the panthan. Bozarth gives life and reason to the concept of mercenaries in service. Kudos for presenting a dreary depressing story with such insight!
When The Princess Disappeared - David Bruce Bozarth, Andy Nunez, Don Bearden, and Terry Klasek
BARRY ELGIN:
I wouldn't have read this excellent novel of Barsoom at this time if not for Bozarth's fine Ras Thavas: The Hunted which takes place hundreds of years after the events of When The Princess Disappeared. I have been reading the Ras Thavas and the Calot series and when I read HUNTED I had to read the background story When The Princess Disappeared. This novel is unusual for several reasons. First, Dejah Thoris is a principal character wonderfully depicted as a real live woman, not some desirable figurehead. Second, the story is told in first person by no less than four central characters: Dejah Thoris, a red princess of Helium; Junie Watts, a black woman from Earth; Milieos, a black First Born physician, and Holkat, a First Born arms merchant. The story embraces the full scope of Barsoom both geographically and culturally, including a new lost city filled with super science and intrigue. Dejah Thoris shines in this reverent look at Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian novels. Fighting for the center stage is Junie Watts, a pregnant Earthwoman under the care of "Dee" as Dejah Thoris is called. Milieos is artfully cast as a man lost in both life and drink until two unexpected--and unwelcome--guests turn his life upside down. Holkat is a reminder than even those filled greed and endowed with black hearts can be heroic when faced with no other choice. The love that exists between John Carter and Dejah Thoris is summed up in the warlord's first words to his wife: "I shall do you the courtesy you accord me when I return from a campaign. No questions. I missed you." I would miss this woman of intelligence, strength, and spirit, too!
JAN SIMKO:
Burroughs writes a good yarn. Guess that's why we can find his stories on the net like Melville and Doyle. I'm in middle school about to graduate to the big bad world. Find I like these old stories. Imagine my surprise to find new stories. Stories I can really like. Maybe I like Dee because she's the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up...15 though mom thinks much younger. A princess willing to get her hands dirty doing dishes and swinging a sword. I tried to find out about this author. Who is DAvid Bruce Bozarth?