Thursday, January 22, 2009

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)

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