Friday, February 27, 2009

Space Battles

Star Trek (May 8)

Psychic Abilities, Telepathy

2009 movies:

* Push (Feb. 6). What's it about? Teens with mental superpowers (like telekinesis and clairvoyance) flee from a secret organization that wants to exploit them. Luckily, they wind up in Hong Kong, where cool fight scenes just naturally happen.

* Race To Witch Mountain (March 13). What's it about? A reboot of the classic old series, where a cab-driver (The Rock) picks up two telekinetic kids who have to get back to their spaceship before the government (and a Master Chief-looking guy) hunt them down.

* Knowing (March 20). What's it about? Nic Cage is a guy whose son digs up a time capsule that includes some mysterious numbers which some kid wrote down in the 1950s. They predict every disaster that's ever happened — including some doozies that are on the way.

Paranormal abilities, functions: Hypnotism and mesmerism fantastically considered; psychic vampirism; creation by thought power; psychometry; telepathy, mind reading; telekinesis, teleportation; will control of others; clairvoyance; sympathetic relations; movement in astral body; ability to transform body; psychic battles


* Anne Adolph, Arqtiq: A Atory of the Marvels of the North Pole (Self-published; Hanford, Calif., 1899). Lost race of telepathic people who love at the North Pole; all turns out to be a dream.


A 1958 time capsule containing a cryptic message about the coming apocalypse sends a concerned father on a race to prevent the horrific events from unfolding as predicted in Knowing, a March 2009 sci-fi thriller directed by Alex Proyas ('Dark City') and starring Nicolas Cage. As the final date on the list of seemingly random numbers draws near, Professor Koestler — who discovers that they aren't random at all, but an encoded message containing the precise dates, death tolls, and coordinates of every major disaster since the time capsule was buried — enters into a frantic race against time to prevent destruction on a global scale, in the process realizing that in order to save millions of lives, he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.


* Robert Grimshaw, Fifty Years Hence, Or What May Be In 1943: A Prophecy Supposed to Be Based on Scientific Deduction By an Improved Graphical Method (Practical Publishing Co.; New York, 1892). See Bleiler.


* William Edward Bradden Holt-White, The Man Who Dreamed Right (Everett and Co.; London, 1910). Insignificant Londoner Harry Mymms — a Wellsian small man — discovers that he can accurately predict the future via lucid dreaming. He wins money gambling on sporting events, but worries that doing so is immoral, and confides in an opportunistic, politically connected clergyman. Soon, he's sought after by newspaper magnates, bankers, and politicians; he's kidnapped and rescued, treated like a freak, used like a tool. The Germans capture him, then a benevolent-seeming but ogre-ish Teddy Roosevelt tries to bully him into making predictions for the USA. Mymms becomes a casus belli, since no nation wants any other nation to have him; war is about to break out. The nations appeal to Mymms to dream what will happen as a result of the ongoing negotiations. He dreams of... his own death.

THE TEENS (1914-23)

* David Lindsay, Sphinx (John Long: London, 1923). See Lindsay entry.

THE TWENTIES (1924-33)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Before Amazing, science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.

Amazing Stories was influential simply by being the first of its kind. In the words of science fiction writer and critic Damon Knight, the magazine was "a snag in the stream of history, from which a V-shape spread out in dozens and then in hundreds of altered lives." Many early fans of the field began to communicate with each other through the letter column, and to publish fanzines — amateur fan publications that helped establish connections among fans across the country. Many of these fans in turn became successful writers; and the existence of an organized science fiction fandom, and of writers such as Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov, who came to writing directly from fandom, can be dated to the creation of Amazing Stories.

After the first few years, when there was little or no competition, Amazing Stories never again led the field in the eyes of critics or fans. Despite its long history, the magazine rarely contributed much to science fiction beyond the initial creation of the genre, though Gernsback himself is commemorated in the name "Hugo", the World Science Fiction Society's annually presented Science Fiction Achievement Awards. Gernsback has also been called the "Father of Science Fiction" for his role in creating Amazing Stories.

I'm only interested in AS through the end of 1933. Which is when the Radium Age ends.

# 1926: Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1927: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1928: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1929: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1930: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1931: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1932: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug; Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec
# 1933: Jan; Feb; Mar; Apr; May; Jun; Jul; Aug/Sep; Oct; Nov; Dec


By the end of the 19th century, stories centered on scientific inventions, and stories set in the future, were appearing regularly in popular fiction magazines. The market for short stories lent itself to tales of invention in the tradition of Jules Verne. Magazines such as Munsey's Magazine and The Argosy, launched in 1889 and 1896 respectively, carried a few science fiction stories each year. Some upmarket "slick" magazines such as McClure's, which paid well and were aimed at a more literary audience, also carried scientific stories, but by the early years of the 20th century, science fiction (though it was not yet called that) was appearing more often in the pulp magazines than in the slicks.

In 1908, Hugo Gernsback published the first issue of Modern Electrics, a magazine aimed at the scientific hobbyist. It was an immediate success, and Gernsback began to include articles on imaginative uses of science, such as "Wireless on Saturn" (December 1908). In April 1911, Gernsback began the serialization of his science fiction novel, Ralph 124C 41+, but in 1913 he sold his interest in the magazine to his partner and launched a new magazine, Electrical Experimenter, which soon began to publish scientific fiction. In 1920 Gernsback retitled the magazine Science and Invention, and through the early 1920s he published much scientific fiction in its pages, along with non-fiction scientific articles.

Gernsback had started another magazine called Practical Electrics in 1921. In 1924, he changed its name to The Experimenter, and sent a letter to 25,000 people to gauge interest in the possibility of a magazine devoted to scientific fiction; in his words, "the response was such that the idea was given up for two years." However, in 1926 he decided to go ahead, and ceased publication of The Experimenter to make room in his publishing schedule for a new magazine. The editor of The Experimenter, T. O'Conor Sloane, became the editor of Amazing Stories. The first issue appeared on 10 March 1926, with a cover date of April 1926.

Gernsback's editorial in the first issue asserted that "Not only do these amazing tales make tremendously interesting reading — they are also always instructive". He had always believed that "scientifiction," as he called these stories, had educational power, but he now understood that the fiction had to entertain as well as to instruct. His continued belief in the instructional value of science fiction was not in keeping with the general attitude of the public towards pulp magazines, which was that they were "trash."

The first issue of Amazing contained only reprints, beginning with a serialization of Off on a Comet, by Jules Verne. In keeping with Gernsback's new approach, this was one of Verne's least scientifically plausible novels. Also included were H. G. Wells's "The New Accelerator," and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar"; Gernsback put the names of all three authors on the cover. He also reprinted three more recent stories. Two came from his own magazine, Science and Invention; these were "The Man from the Atom" by G. Peyton Wertenbacker and "The Thing from—'Outside'" by George Allan England. The third was Austin Hall's "The Man Who Saved the Earth", which had appeared in All-Story Weekly.

A letter column, titled "Discussions", soon appeared, and became a regular feature with the January 1927 issue. Many science fiction readers were isolated in small communities, knowing nobody else who liked the same fiction. Gernsback's habit of publishing the full address of all his correspondents meant that the letter column allowed fans to correspond with each other directly. Science fiction fandom traces its beginnings to the letter column in Amazing and its competitors, and one historian of the field, author Lester del Rey, has commented that the introduction of this letter column "may have been one of the most important events in the history of science fiction."


For the first year, Amazing contained primarily reprinted material. It was proving difficult to attract new, high-quality material, and Gernsback's slowness at paying his authors did not help. Writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, H.G. Wells, and Murray Leinster all avoided Amazing because Gernsback took so long to pay for the stories he printed. The slow payments were probably known to many of the other active pulp writers, which would have further limited the volume of submissions. New writers did appear, but the quality of their stories was often weak.

Gernsback discovered that the audience he had attracted was less interested in scientific invention stories than in fantastical adventures. A. Merritt's The Moon Pool, which began serialization in May 1927, was an early success; there was little or no scientific basis to the story, but it was very popular with Amazing's readers. The covers, all of which were painted by Paul, were garish and juvenile, leading some readers to complain. Raymond Palmer, later to become an editor of the magazine, wrote that a friend of his was forced to stop buying Amazing "by reason of his parents' dislike of the cover illustrations". Gernsback experimented with a more sober cover for the September 1928 issue, but it sold poorly, and so the lurid covers continued. The combination of poor quality fiction with garish artwork has led some critics to comment that Gernsback created a "ghetto" for science fiction, though it has also been argued that the creation of a specialized market allowed science fiction to develop and mature as a genre.

Among the regular writers for Amazing by the end of the 1920s were several who were influential and popular at the time, such as David H. Keller and Stanton Coblentz, and some who would continue to be successful for much longer, most notably Edward E. Smith and Jack Williamson. Smith's The Skylark of Space, which had been written between 1915 and 1920, was a seminal space opera which found no ready market when Argosy stopped printing science fiction. When Smith saw a copy of the April 1927 issue of Amazing, he submitted it to Sloane, and it appeared in the August–October 1928 issues. It was such a success that Sloane requested a sequel before the second installment had been published. It was also in the August 1928 issue that "Armageddon – 2419 AD", by Philip Francis Nowlan, appeared; this was the first appearance of Buck Rogers in print.


Amazing was an immediate success and soon reached a very respectable circulation of 100,000. Gernsback saw there was an enthusiastic readership for "scientifiction" (the term "science fiction" had not yet been coined), and in 1927 he issued Amazing Stories Annual. The annual sold out, and in January 1928, Gernsback launched a quarterly magazine, Amazing Stories Quarterly, as a regular companion to Amazing.

Gernsback was slow to pay his authors and creditors; the extent of his investments limited his liquidity. On 20 February 1929 his printer and paper supplier opened bankruptcy proceedings against him. It has been suggested that Bernarr Macfadden, another magazine publisher, maneuvered to force the bankruptcy because Gernsback would not sell his titles to Macfadden, but this is unproven. Experimenter Publishing was declared bankrupt in days; Amazing survived with its existing staff, but Hugo and his brother, Sidney, were forced out as directors. Arthur H. Lynch took over as editor-in-chief, though Sloane continued to have effective control of the magazine's contents. The receivers, Irving Trust, soon sold the magazine to B.A. Mackinnon, and in August 1931, Amazing was acquired by Teck Publications, a subsidiary of Bernarr Macfadden's Macfadden Publishing. Macfadden's deep pockets helped insulate Amazing from the financial strain caused by the Great Depression. The schedule of Amazing Stories Quarterly began to slip, but Amazing did not miss an issue in the early 1930s. However, it became unprofitable to publish over the next few years. Circulation dropped to little more than 25,000 in 1934, and in October 1935 it switched to a bimonthly schedule.


Writers whose first story was published in the magazine include Howard Fast, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, and Thomas M. Disch. Overall, though, Amazing itself was rarely an influential magazine within the genre. Some critics have commented that by "ghettoizing" science fiction, Gernsback in fact did harm to its literary growth, but this viewpoint has been countered by the argument that science fiction needed an independent market in which to develop if it were to reach its potential.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

SF authors born 1834-43: 1835

1. Samuel Butler


Samuel Butler (1835-1902)

Butler is not a Radium-Age SF author. But he wrote two influential pre-Radium-Age SF novels.

Butler was an iconoclastic Victorian author who published a variety of works, including the Utopian satire Erewhon and the posthumous novel The Way of All Flesh, his two best-known works, but also extending to examinations of Christian orthodoxy, substantive studies of evolutionary thought, studies of Italian art, and works of literary history and criticism. Butler also made prose translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey which remain in use to this day.

His influence on literature, such as it was, came through The Way of All Flesh, which Butler completed in the 1880s but left unpublished in order to protect his family. And yet the novel, “begun in 1870 and not touched after 1885, was so modern when it was published in 1903, that it may be said to have started a new school,” particularly in the use of psychoanalytical modes of thought in fiction, which “his treatment of Ernest Pontifex [the hero of Butler's novel] foreshadows.”

Whether in his satire and fiction, his studies on the evidences of Christianity, his works on evolutionary thought or in his miscellaneous other writings, however, a consistent theme runs through Butler's work, stemming largely from his personal struggle with the stifling of his own nature by his parents, which led him on to seek more general principles of growth, development and purpose: “What concerned him was to establish his nature, his aspirations and their fulfillment upon a philosophic basis, to identify them with the nature, the aspirations, the fulfillment of all humanity – and more than that – with the fulfillment of the universe . . . His struggle became generalized, symbolic, tremendous.” The form that this search took was principally philosophic and – given the interests of the day – biological: “Satirist, novelist, artist and critic that he was, he was primarily a philosopher,” and in particular a philosopher who sought the biological foundations for his work: “His biology was a bridge to a philosophy of life which sought a scientific basis for religion and endowed a naturalistically conceived universe with a soul.” Indeed, “philosophical writer” was ultimately the self-description Butler himself chose as most fitting to his work.

* Erewhon, or Over the Range was published anonymously in 1872. The title is also the name of a country, supposedly discovered by the protagonist. In the novel, it is not revealed in which part of the world Erewhon is, but it is clear that it is a fictional country. Butler meant the title to be read as the word Nowhere backwards, even though the letters "h" and "w" are transposed. It is likely that he did this to protect himself from accusations of being unpatriotic, although Erewhon is obviously a satire of Victorian society. The greater part of the book consists of a description of Erewhon. The nature of this nation is intended to be ambiguous. At first glance, Erewhon appears to be a utopia, yet it soon becomes clear that this is far from the case. Yet for all the failings of Erewhon, it is also clearly not a dystopia, such as that depicted by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. As a satirical utopia, Erewhon has sometimes been compared to Gulliver's Travels; the image of utopia in this latter case also bears strong parallels with the self-view of the British Empire at the time. Erewhon satirizes various aspects of Victorian society, including criminal punishment, religion and anthropocentrism. For example, according to Erewhonian law, offenders are treated as if they were ill whilst ill people are looked upon as criminals. Another feature of Erewhon is the absence of machines; this is due to the widely shared perception by the Erewhonians that they are potentially dangerous. Butler was the first to write about the possibility that machines might develop consciousness by Darwinian Selection. ** The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze used ideas from Butler's book at various points in the development of his philosophy of difference. In Difference and Repetition (1968), he refers to what he calls "Ideas" as "erewhons." "Ideas are not concepts," he explains, but rather "a form of eternally positive differential multiplicity, distinguished from the identity of concepts." "Erewhon" refers to the "nomadic distributions" that pertain to simulacra, which "are not universals like the categories, nor are they the hic et nunc or now here, the diversity to which categories apply in representation." "Erewhon," in this reading, is "not only a disguised no-where but a rearranged now-here." In his collaboration with Félix Guattari, Anti-Œdipus (1972), Deleuze draws on Butler's "The Book of the Machines" to "go beyond" the "usual polemic between vitalism and mechanism" as it relates to their concept of "desiring-machines."

* Erewhon Revisited Twenty Years Later (Richards, 1901). Sequel, not considered to be as good.

SF authors born 1874-83: 1875d

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

For all other Radium-Age SF authors born in 1875, click here.

Post 3 of 3 about Burroughs: VENUSIAN SERIES and other Radium-Age SF.
For BARSOOM series, click here.
For PELLUCIDAR series, click here.


The last major series in Burroughs's career.

* Pirates of Venus (Burroughs, 1934; Argosy, September 17, 1932—TK). 1st of the Venusian series. The novel is set on a fictional version of planet Venus called Amtor that has similarities to Barsoom, Burroughs's fictionalized version of planet Mars.

* Lost on Venus (Argosy, March 1933; Burroughs, 1935).

NB: Carson of Venus (1939); Escape on Venus (1946); "The Wizard of Venus" (1970)


* The Return of Tarzan (Chicago: McClurg, 1915). The first of some 23 sequels to Tarzan of the Apes (1914; All-Story, October 1912), is a Lost World narrative. The ape man, feeling rootless in the wake of his noble sacrifice of his prospects of wedding Jane Porter, leaves America for Europe to visit his friend Paul d'Arnot. On the ship he becomes embroiled in the affairs of Countess Olga de Coude, her husband, Count Raoul de Coude, and two shady characters attempting to prey on them, Nikolas Rokoff and his henchman Alexis Paulvitch. Rokoff, it turns out, is also the countess's brother. Tarzan thwarts the villains' scheme, making them his deadly enemies. Later, in France, Rockoff tries time and again to eliminate the ape man, finally engineering a duel between him and the count by making it appear that he is the countess's lover. Tarzan deliberately refuses to defend himself in the duel, even offering the Count his own weapon after the latter fails to kill him with his own, a grand gesture that convinces his antagonist of his innocence. In return, Count Raoul finds him a job as a special agent in Algeria for the ministry of war. A sequence of adventures among the local Arabs ensues, including another brush with Rokoff. Afterward Tarzan sails for Cape Town and strikes up a shipboard acquaintance with Hazel Strong, a friend of Jane's. But Rokoff and Paulovitch are also aboard, and manage to ambush him and throw him overboard. Tarzan manages to swim to shore, and finds himself in the coastal jungle where he was brought up by the apes. He soon rescues and befriends a native warrior, Busuli of the Waziri, and is adopted into the Waziri tribe. After defeating a raid on their village by ivory raiders he becomes their chief. The Waziri know of a lost city deep in the jungle, from which they have obtained their golden ornaments. Tarzan has them take him there, but is captured by its inhabitants, a race of beast-like men, and condemned to be sacrificed to their sun god. To his surprise, the priestess to perform the sacrifice is a beautiful woman, who speaks the ape language he learned as a child. She tells him she is La, high priestess of the lost city of Opar. When the ceremony is fortuitously interrupted, she hides him and promises to lead him to freedom. But the ape man escapes on his own, locates the treasure chamber, and manages to rejoin the Waziri. Meanwhile, Hazel Strong has reached Cape Town, where she encounters Jane, and her father Professor Porter, together with Jane's fiancé, Tarzan's cousin William Cecil Clayton. They are all invited on a cruise up the west coast of Africa aboard the Lady Alice, the yacht of Lord Tennington, another friend. Rokoff, now using the alias of M. Thuran, ingratiates himself with the party and is also invited along. The Lady Alice breaks down and sinks, forcing the passengers and crew into the lifeboats. The one containing Jane, Clayton and "Thuran" is separated from the others and suffers terrible privations. Coincidentally, the boat finally makes shore in the same general area that Tarzan did. The three construct a rude shelter and eke out an existence of near starvation for some weeks until Jane and Clayton are surprised in the forest by a lion. Clayton loses Jane's respect by cowering in fear before the beast instead of defending her. But they are not attacked, and discover the lion dead, speared by an unknown hand. Their hidden savior is in fact Tarzan, who leaves without revealing himself. Later Jane is kidnapped and taken to Opar by a party of beast-men pursuing Tarzan. The ape man tracks them and manages to save her from being sacrificed by La. La is crushed by Tarzan's rejection of her for Jane. Escaping Opar, Tarzan returns with Jane to the coast, happy in the discovery that she loves him and is free to marry him. They find Clayton, abandoned by "Thuran" and dying of a fever. In his last moments he atones to Jane by revealing Tarzan's true identity as Lord Greystoke, having previously discovered the truth but concealed it. Tarzan and Jane make their way up the coast to the former's boyhood cabin, where they encounter the remainder of the castaways of the Lady Alice, safe and sound after having been recovered by Tarzan's friend D'Arnot in another ship. "Thuran" is exposed as Rokoff and arrested. Tarzan weds Jane and Tennington weds Hazel in a double ceremony performed by Professor Porter, who had been ordained a minister in his youth. Then they all set sail for civilization, taking along the treasure Tarzan had found in Opar.

* Tarzan the Terrible (Chicago: McClurg, 1921; TK). A Lost World narrative concerning the land of Pal-u-don, in which dinosaurs survive and men have prehensile tails. In the previous novel, during the early days of World War I, Tarzan discovered that his wife Jane was not killed in a fire set by German troops, but was in fact alive. In this novel two months have gone by and Tarzan is continuing to search for Jane. He has tracked her to a hidden valley called Pal-ul-don, which means "Land of Men." In Pal-ul-don Tarzan finds a real Jurassic Park filled with dinosaurs, notably the savage Triceratops-like Gryfs, which unlike their prehistoric counterparts are carnivorous. The lost valley is also home to two different races of tailed human-looking creatures, the Ho-don (hairless and white skinned) and the Waz-don (hairy and black-skinned). Tarzan befriends Ta-son, a Ho-don warrior, and Om-at, the Waz-don chief of the tribe of Kor-ul-ja. In this new world he becomes a captive but so impresses his captors with his accomplishments and skills that they name him Tarzan-Jad-Guru (Tarzan the Terrible), which is the name of the novel. Jane is also being held captive in Pal-ul-don, having been brought there by her German captor, who has since become dependent on her due to his own lack of jungle survival skills. She becomes a pawn in a religious power struggle that consumes much of the novel. With the aid of his native allies, Tarzan continues to pursue his beloved to rescue her and set things to right, going through an extended series of fights and escapes to do so. In the end success seems beyond even his ability to achieve, until in the final chapter he and Jane are saved by their son Korak, who has been searching for Tarzan just as Tarzan has been searching for Jane.

* Tarzan and the Ant Men (Chicago: McClurg, 1924; TK). Knee-high humans live in underground, anthill-like cities. Tarzan is shrunk by glandular massage and enslaved in one such city. arzan, the king of the jungle, enters an isolated country called Minuni, inhabited by a people four times smaller than himself. The Minunians live in magnificent city-states which frequently wage war against each other. Tarzan befriends the king, Adendrohahkis, and the prince, Komodoflorensal, of one such city-state, called Trohanadalmakus, and joins them in war against the onslaught of the army of Veltopismakus, their warlike neighbours. Tarzan is captured on the battle-ground and taken prisoner by the Veltopismakusians. The Veltopismakusian scientist Zoanthrohago conducts an experiment reducing Tarzan to the size of a Minunian, and the ape-man is imprisoned and enslaved among other Trohanadalmakusian prisoners of war. He meets, though, Komodoflorensal in the dungeons of Veltopismakus, and together they are able to make a daring escape. *** Burrough's view on what is a natural relationship between the sexes is neatly illustrated by a secondary narrative thread in the novel, that one about the Alali or Zertalacolols, an ape-like matriarchal people living in the thorny forests which isolate Minuni from the rest of the worlds. When the enslaved and persecuted Alali males see that Tarzan is a male too and yet stronger and more formidable than any Alali female, they go to war against the females, and by killing or maiming several of them, subjugate them. When Tarzan, towards the end of the novel, meets the Alali again, the females are submissive and obedient to their mates and actually prefer it that way. The Minunian city states and their politics are strongly reminiscent of those of Barsoom. They also share the Barsoomian philosophy of perpetual war as a good and commendable state, as illustrated by the words of Gefasto, the Commander in Chief of the Veltopismakusian armed forces:
We must have war. As we have found that there is no enduring happiness in peace or virtue, let us have a little war and a little sin. A pudding that is all of one ingredient is nauseating—it must be seasoned, it must be spiced, and before we can enjoy the eating of it to the fullest we must be forced to strive for it. War and work, the two most distasteful things in the world, are, nevertheless, the most essential to the happiness and the existence of a people. Peace reduces the necessity for labor, and induces slothfulness. War compels labor, that her ravages may be effaced. Peace turns us into fat worms. War makes men of us.

To people outside the ranks of Tarzan fans, Tarzan and the Ant Men is probably best known as the book read by Harper Lee's young protagonist Jean Louise ("Scout") Finch in her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).

* The Land That Time Forgot (Chicago: McClurg, 1924; composed of "The Land That Time Forgot," Blue Book, August 1918; "The People That Time Forgot," Blue Book, October 1918; and "Out of Time's Abyss," Blue Book, December 1918). The first of Burroughs's two best books. Imaginative redirection of the old biological saw that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. On Caspak, an unknown island, evolution is an individual matter: An entity may start life as a primitive egg, then become a lizard, then a small mammal, then an ape man, and eventually a Homo sapiens. NB: Homo sapiens might not be the high point of evolution. There is a race of cruel but civilized winged men on Caspak. Also: Novel is grounded in the extreme jingoism of World War I.

* The Moon Maid (Chicago: McClurg, 1926; "The Moon Maid" was serialized in Argosy All-Story, June 22-July 20, 1923; "The Moon Men" was serialized in Argosy All-Story, February 21-March 15, 1925; "The Red Hawk" was serialized in Argosy All-Story, April 20-May 14, 1925). Considered the second of Burroughs's two best books. Begins in the near future and extends to the 25th century. In "The Moon Maid," a crash-landing crew of astronauts from Earth discovers that the lunar interior is populated by city-states that are losing their independence to the Kalkars, a race of aggressive, brutal, stupid louts — Burroughs's notion of Russian Communists. The Kalkars, led by a renegade Earthman, conquer the earth. "The Moon Men," first written in 1919 and concerned with a future Russian occupation of America (the original Red Dawn), is set in the ruins of Chicago; it describes an abortive revolt against the Kalkars. In "The Red Hawk," Earthmen have reverted to nomadic tribesmen who press on to final victory against the Kalkars in the ruins of Los Angeles.

* Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Monster Men (McClurg: Chicago, 1929). Published first in All-Story (November 1913), as A Man without a Soul. The perils of godless science and muscle-building. Professor Maxon (a reference to Bierce's Moxon?) of Cornell, who has long been experimenting with artificial life, takes his beautiful daughter Virginia on a voyage around the world. However, he interrupts their vacation to set up a small laboratory and factory on an island near Borneo. He hires Dr. Von Horn (a scoundrel) as an assistant, and begins manufacturing gigantic, muscle-bound, stupid artificial men. (Hello, Rocky Horror Picture Show.) The Borneo Malay rajah lusts for Virginia; so does Dr. von Horn; so does Budrudeen, the factory foreman. Maxon, who has gone mad, and enforces discipline among his creations with a bullwhip, intends to marry Virginia to the perfect man that he intends to create. Number Thirteen (he calls himself Bulun) emerges from the tank, as perfect a specimen of Anglo-Saxon manhood as maiden could want. Highly intelligent, a true gentleman; he and Virginia have feelings for one another, but she doesn't know he's artificial, and her aversion to artificial men makes him feel inadequate. She's kidnapped by the rajah, Bulun rescues her, lots of action. Then Maxon's Chinese cook reveals that Bulun is a shipwrecked amnesiac whom he (Ling) sneaked into Number Thirteen's tank. Virginia and Bulun get married, and then he recalls that his father is a millionaire contractor. Happy ending.

SF authors born 1874-83: 1875c

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950)

For all other Radium-Age SF authors born in 1875, click here.

Post 2 of 3 about Burroughs: PELLUCIDAR SERIES.
For BARSOOM series, click here.
For VENUSIAN series and other Radium-Age SF by Burroughs, click here.


* At the Earth's Core (Chicago: McClurg, 1922; All-Story, April 4-25, 1914). 1st of Pellucidar series. Based on the crank-science concept of Symmes's Hole, the theory that the earth is a hollow sphere, with large openings at the poles that permit entry into a habitable interior world along the inner surface of the sphere. In this novel, a mechanical mole escapes control and tunnels through the earth's crust, carrying two men into a strange, primitive world. The humans are primitive; there are paleontological survivals; and large, highly intelligent, civilized reptiles with hypnotic powers, who keep humans as slaves and for food. There are six sequels.

* Pellucidar (Chicago: McClurg, 1923; All-Story Cavalier, May 1, 1915 — TK). 2nd of the Pellucidar series. David Innes and his captive, a member of the reptilian Mahar master race of the interior world of Pellucidar, return from the surface world in the Iron Mole invented by his friend and companion in adventure Abner Perry. Emerging in Pellucidar at an unknown location, David frees his captive. He names the place Greenwich and uses the technology he has brought to begin the systematic exploration and mapping of the unknown land while searching for his lost companions, Abner, Ghak, and Dian the Beautiful. He soon encounters and befriends a new ally, Ja the Mezop of the island country of Anoroc; later he finds Abner, from whom he learns that in his absence the human revolt against the Mahars has not been going well. In a parlay with the Mahars David bargains for information of his love Dian and his enemy Hooja the Sly One, which his foes agree to supply in return for the book containing the Great Secret of Mahar reproduction that David stole and hid in the previous novel. David undertakes to recover it, only to find that Hooja has been there before him and claimed Dian as his own reward of the Mahars! Now he has to track down and defeat the sly one before resuming the human war of independence. Ultimately this is accomplished, and with the aid of the resources David has brought from the surface world he and Abner succeed in building a confederacy of human tribes into an "Empire of Pellucidar" that wipes out the Mahar cities and establishes a new human civilization in their place.

* Tanar of Pellucidar (Metropolitan Books, 1930; Blue Book, March 1929-TK). 3rd of the Pellucidar series. The author’s friend Jason Gridley is experimenting with a new radio frequency he dubs the Gridley Wave, via which he picks up a transmission sent by scientist Abner Perry, from the interior world of Pellucidar at the Earth's core, a realm discovered by the latter and his friend David Innes many years before. There Innes and Perry have established an Empire of Pellucidar, actually a confederation of tribes, and attempted with mixed success to modernize the stone-age natives. Lately things have not gone well, and Innes is currently held captive in an enemy realm. Perry transmits a lengthy account of how this has come about, as reported by Innes’ native comrade in arms Tanar, and appeals for aid from the outer world. Tanar’s narrative comprises the bulk of the novel. Innes had led an army to the relief of the member tribe of Thuria and the remnants of the Empire’s former foes, the reptilian Mahars. Both had been attacked by a previously unknown people, the Korsars (corsairs), the scourge of the internal seas. These, it is eventually learned, are the descendants of outer world Moorish pirates who had penetrated Pellucidar centuries before through a natural polar opening connecting the outer and inner worlds. The empire’s forces succeed in repulsing the Korsars, but the raiders retain as hostage Tanar, son of Innes’ ally Ghak of Sari. They hope to trade him for the secret of the empire’s superior weaponry. Leaving his forces to construct ships to counter the enemy fleet, Innes and his comrade Ja of Anoroc set out alone to rescue Tanar, guided by their own prisoner, the Korsar Fitt. On the enemy flagship Tanar is interrogated by the Cid, leader of the Korsars, and his ugly henchman Bohar the Bloody. The young warrior also encounters Stellara, supposedly the Cid’s daughter, who attempts to intercede on behalf of Tanar and his fellow captives. A storm destroys the ship, and the crew takes to the lifeboats, leaving Tanar and Stellara adrift on the wreckage. Stellara confides to him that she is not really a Korsar, as her mother Allara was stolen by the Cid from the native island of Amiocap and she bears a birthmark proving she is actually the daughter of Fedol, her mother’s former mate. Eventually the derelict ship drifts to Amiocap itself, but the island’s suspicious inhabitants take the two for Korsar spies and imprison them in the village of Lar. Escaping, they by chance encounter Fedol, who recognizes Stellara by her birthmark and gives them refuge in his own village of Peraht. But Bohar’s group of Korsars attacks Peraht and kidnaps Stellara, while Tanar falls prey to the Coripies, a cannibalistic subterranean race. Escaping again, Tanar kills Bohar and frees Stellara, to whom he avows his love. Their joy is shortlived, as she is then abducted by Jude of the nearby island of Hime, who had shared Tanar’s captivity among the Coripies. Tanar pursues them to Hime, where they are overtaken by Bohar’s crew. Seeing Tanar with Gura, a girl of Hime who has developed a crush on him, Stellara rejects him and reassumes her former role among the Korsars. Tanar and Gura are taken in chains across the ocean to the Korsar city. There Tanar finds himself a fellow prisoner with David Innes and Ja of Anoroc, whose quest to succor him has miscarried. The three feign acquiescence to the Cid’s demand they manufacture modern firearms for him, and so are given greater liberty. Meanwhile Gura has discovered that Stellara, despite her jealous anger, still loves Tanar, and lets Tanar know. The party plans its escape and flees north with the reconciled Stellara. After confirming the existence of the polar opening they turn south again, bound for Sari, only to encounter a large party of pursuing Korsars, at which they split up in an attempt to ensure some at least can carry word back to the empire. Stellara, Tanar and Innes are recaptured, and the latter two each confined solitarily in lightless, snake-infested cells. Tanar, in his cell, eventually locates the opening through which the snakes enter, widens it, and achieves freedom. He locates Stellara in a heated faceoff with Bulf, the Korsar to whom the Cid has promised her; she swears to kill him and herself both rather than submit. Tanar intervenes and dispatches Bulf. He and his lover then leave the city in Korsar guise, and after many perils return to Sari, where they find Ja and Gura to have arrived safely as well. After hearing the complete transmission, Jason Gridley pledges to lead an expedition to Pellucidar through the polar opening and rescue David Innes, thus setting the stage for the sequel Tarzan at the Earth's Core, a cross-over novel linking Burroughs’ Pellucidar and Tarzan series.

* Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1929; Metropolitan Books, 1930). In response to a radio plea from Abner Perry, a scientist who with his friend David Innes has discovered the interior world of Pellucidar at the Earth's core, Jason Gridley launches an expedition to rescue Innes from the Korsars (corsairs), the scourge of the internal seas. He enlists Tarzan, and a fabulous airship is constructed to penetrate Pellucidar via the natural polar opening connecting the outer and inner worlds. In Pellucidar Tarzan and Gridley are each separated from the main force of the expedition and must struggle for survival against the prehistoric creatures and peoples of the inner world. Gridley wins the love of the native cave-woman Jana, the Red Flower of Zoram. Eventually everyone is reunited, and the party succeeds in rescuing Innes. As Tarzan and the others prepare to return home, Gridley decides to stay to search for Frederich Wilhelm Eric von Mendeldorf und von Horst, one last member of the expedition who remains lost.

NB: Back to the Stone Age (1937), Land of Terror (1944), Savage Pellucidar (1963)