Brad's Reviews > Lord Tyger

Lord Tyger by Philip José Farmer
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Aug 27, 12


So I get a call from Pulp Fiction Bookshop letting me know that Lord Tyger had arrived. "It's a gorgeous cover" I'm told.

I cannot argue with that assessment - full credit to Titan books for such great package. Not only do we get a reprint of Lord Tyger but we also get an introduction by Joe Landsdale - the guy chosen to finish Edgar Rice Burrough's unfinished Tarzan novel and a foreword by Paul Spiteri. These extras add so much to the book (This isn't limited to Lord Tyger I'll be discussing more Farmer reissues by Titan soon)

Lord Tyger was initially published in 1970. I last read it in about 1997 so this reread was almost like reading the book fresh.

Where do I start? Lord Tyger owes a debt to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. Farmer reinvents Tarzan for the 1970s would be a simple pithy description of the book but Lord Tyger is more than an attempt to update the Tarzan archetype, it's Farmer's rumination on the whole Tarzan saga.

The title character Ras Tyger (Ras is Arabic for Lord) is the product of a madman's experiment to recreate Tarzan. Farmer brings his trademark realism to the story. Ras is the third attempt at this experiment. The first subject died, the second became intellectually impaired because real gorillas don't have a language. We see just how many concessions have to made to make Tarzan work in the "real" world.

Ras Tyger is raised by dwarves and not apes and he has to be tutored in reading and writing but Ras Tyger is a modern Tarzan. He is able to undertake feats that his inspiration would have undertaken, indeed the story of this novel would have been an exciting adventure for Tarzan.

Farmer is never one shy away from sexuality and Ras Tyger is quite sexually active, (not as graphically as his spiritual brother Lord James Cloamby The Tree Lord in A Feast Unknown due to be released be Titan also) but Farmer doesn't do this to for the sake of titillation but to show just how different a man like Ras Tyger would be from the so-called "civilized" man.

As I said Ras Tyger is the product of an experiment, one where concessions to reality had to be made. After Farmer establishes the world that Lord Tyger lives in, Farmer changes the rules and has an outsider discover the hidden valley where Ras Tyger lives. Landsdale in his introduction mentions that Farmer makes us follow the story asking "what happens next?" I was asking that question the whole way through this book and when I finished I was still asking what happens next.

Lord Tyger is a great adventure that explores the reality of the feral man and recreates it for the 1970s. I would recommend this book.
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