Sunday, September 18, 2022

ERB and Not ERB

 Typically when people first read Edgar Rice Burroughs, it's the big three - Tarzan, John Carter, and maybe Pellucidar.  These are the best-known Burroughs for good reason, but there are some second-tier books I've read recently that I really enjoyed.  There are also plenty of homages, continuations, and pastiche that might be worth looking at as well.  Below, a few I've recently digested.

A ton of well-described fight scenes in this one.

The Monster Men (1913).  Burroughs' take on Frankenstein/Moreau - maybe - set in the South Pacific. It has monstrous created men, steaming jungles, and pirates!  I listened to this on Librivox and enjoyed it greatly.  Once I'd finished, I found myself wondering why this one hadn't been adapted to the screen.

A nice counterpoint to see how ERB does Carter that isn't Carter (if you've never read Carson or Innes, I guess).  Look, it has cannibal centaurs, that should sell itself.

Now that I've read the tales within, I have quibbles about this cover, but you can't beat an action cover that makes you want to read the book.

The Moon Maid & The Moon Men (1922...but some parts earlier...).   Burroughs stitched together a sword-and-planet adventure, a political tale previously rejected by editors, and an adventuresome part three conclusion into a solid thrillogy.  The first part, The Moon Maid, is the most Burroughsian at first blush due to the exotic location and classic tropes, but the three parts together actually feature a lot of Burroughs staples.  Good action throughout, including some fairly big battles.  I strongly recommend these.

Time's Last Gift.  I enjoy Philip Jose Farmer for the most part, and he has his share of pastiche characters.  "Spoilers" about this novel are all over the internet for you to read on your own if you wish, but suffice it to say there are Burroughs ties within.  A story of time-traveling researchers in the Magdalenian period, Time's Last Gift was a pretty breezy read, with some good drama and action.

It's not as "yass queen slay" as you might think.

Dejah Thoris.  Dynamite Comics.  The John Carter comics from Dynamite are kind of all over the map.  Warlord of Mars is a workmanlike retelling of several of the novels; the most recent series, John Carter of Mars, is just plain ugly.  In-between these, Dynamite published a 37-issue run of Dejah Thoris, featuring the princess' pulpy adventures prior to John Carter's arrival - and I really enjoyed this comic.  Nice art, enjoyable adventures, recurring villains and themes that tie the whole run together.  The second DJ series, and the limited series, aren't as good.  A little more detail on this comic here in my Twitter thread.

Airships versus giant laser colossus.  Come on, people, this is dope.

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