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Thematic discussions > Edgar Rice Burroughs and his imitators/peers

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message 1: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 15 comments Of all the varieties and eras of pulp fiction out there, the one I've followed longest and am most interested in to this day is the period of ERB, A Merritt, George Allan England, Otis Adelbert Kline, etc -- the 1910s through the early 1930s I guess, and specifically those individuals writing for the non-specialized pulps like Argosy. The early writers for sf/weird/fantasy magazines like Weird Tales and Amazing are a somewhat different lot, though I like them also. Burroughs was the first writer I ever fell for, and I've read the Mars, Venus and Pellucidar series several times straight through -- though strangely I've never made it past the 5th Tarzan book. Merritt and Kline are two that I mean to investigate shortly, and I have England's massive "Darkness and the Dawn" awaiting sometime when I feel up to it.

What have all of you read from this era/genre and what can you recommend me besides those listed?

message 2: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (hotspurot) | 5 comments I've read Burroughs, Merritt and Kline. The latter two I strongly recommend. Merritt's characterization is, in my mind, superior to ERB's never ending supply of brawny brilliant he-men and females in distress. Kline is often discounted as being a mere Burroughs imitator but he had his own unique style and is at least worth checking out. Fortunately BOTH Merritt and Kline are being reprinted these days, in fairly affordable trade books.

Michael Moorcock dipped his toe into planetary romance with Michael Kane of Old Mars. You might also wish to check out the works of Lin Carter (Callisto, Green Star, and Mysteries of Mars series). Leigh Brackett's Skaith is a good place to visit, as well as the earlier work by Edward Lester Arnold (Gullivar on Mars series).

Mike Resnick's Ganymede series, Edward Hamilton's Merrick series, and some of Robert Howard's short fiction may be what you are looking for as well.


message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) I'm seconding Brachett and Moorcock. Also, there are two recent books by S.M. Stirling that are homages to Burrough's work but I have yet to read them. They are The Sky People and In the Courts of the Crimson Kings.

message 4: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 15 comments Thanks guys. I'm really more interested in stuff actually from the pulp era, though Brackett and Moorcock have been on my radar for quite a while -- read the first "Elric" novel a long time ago but really don't remember it. Also Fritz Leiber. Howard I've read a bit of, need to read more; Merritt is high on my list.

What are people's thoughts on Burroughs specifically: favorite series, individual books, etc? I've always been partial to the Barsoomian novels overall, though I like pretty much everything; "Beyond the Farthest Star" is a favorite that few people seem to have read.

message 5: by Hotspur (new)

Hotspur (hotspurot) | 5 comments Oh yeah! The Stirling book (I only read the Venus one) is the best thing he has written so far. Believe you me, that's damning with faint praise. :-D

My Review of the Sky People

Burroughs? A yeomanlike writer... meaning, he worked in the trenches of pulp fiction, was quite entertaining and imaginative. He was not earthshaking, but he remains on my list of authors I'll read over and over again, and there's danged few of those.

message 6: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 30 comments Stirling's "In the Court of the Crimson Kings" is actually far better than his Venus book, "The Sky People," I thought. I consider "Crimson Kings" to be one of the top three or four books I read last year.

As for Burroughs, although he wasn't a great prose writer per se, he really had a strong narrative drive to his stories, and his themes of adventure are really a favorite of mine. I'm talking particularly about the Mars series. I'm not a huge fan of the Tarzan books.

I was influenced enough by Burroughs to write my own sword and planet series, which is out from Borgo Press as the Taleran cycle. Three books, Swords of Talera, Wings Over Talera, and Witch of Talera.

I like Otis Adelbert Kline pretty well but I didn't think he had the narrative drive of ERB. Another, and to my mind better, sword and planet writer was the late Kenneth Bulmer, who wrote the Dray Prescot series under the pseudonym Alan Burt Akers.

message 7: by Dan (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) Paragea by Chris Roberson is another good modern Burroughs-style piece, with homages to lots of pulp sf and fantasy.

message 8: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 30 comments I'll have to check that one out. I'm a sucker for good pulp and sword and planet fiction.

message 10: by Werner (new)

Werner Personally (in answer to Muzzlehatch's question), I like Burroughs. He wasn't a very disciplined writer, and his distaste for research often shows; but he was a masterful storyteller of adventure, with a fertile imagination and a solid moral foundation for his work. So far, I've read more of his Pellucidar series than I have any of the others (and none of his Venus series at all --I hope to get around to that one eventually!).

message 11: by Steve (new)

Steve | 19 comments I've read three Merritt's over the last six months (or so). I've enjoyed all three, and feel that he is a (significant) cut above the pulp writers of his period. The characters are your typical "types" (which Hotspur points out). One element that keeps cropping up (and which I found interesting) is the "Lost Generation" factor with the heroes. They all seem to be damaged or touched in some way by the First World War. What really works is Merritt's descriptive writing. And other worlds -- he had a great imagination. I would recommend his Ship of Ishtar as a good start point. I actually got that recommendation from Moorcock's 100 Best in Fantasy. I've been getting my (used)Merritt books from Amazon merchants. You can still pick these up for less than the trades are going for. And the cover art on the old paperbacks is better.

message 12: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 15 comments Well, I just finished my first OA Kline -- "Planet of Peril" and can't say I was very impressed. It's no better than the last couple of Pellucidar or Venus books from ERB, if it's even that good. Still, had fun for the 2 hours or less it took to read.

Up next in the pulp line for me will probably be some Merritt, or some of the later Tarzan books that I've never gotten around to.

message 13: by Steven (new)

Steven Harbin (stevenharbin) | 86 comments Mod
If you've never read beyond Tarzan # 5 (Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar, if memory serves correctly) then I'd DEFINITELY recommend Tarzan the Untamed and Tarzan the Terrible, #'s 7 and 8. For my money they are the two best Tarzan books, and among the best books ERB wrote.

message 14: by Muzzlehatch (new)

Muzzlehatch | 15 comments Yeah I've got to look at my Tarzans -- I'm missing a few and am rather obsessive about reading them in order -- looks like I'm only lacking some of the last few, actually. Jungle Tales of Tarzan up next!

message 15: by Charles (new)

Charles (kainja) | 30 comments Definitely Tarzan the Untamed is very good. AS for the OAK books, but you did enjoy them for a couple of hours and that's saying something to me. Too many modern books aren't even distracting me from my worries. That's one of the reasons I like reading older books.

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