Jack Vance’s Waterworld

Remember that movie Waterworld? Of course you do. It gets blasted for being kinda crappy, but it’s got a lot of stuff I like – post-apocalyptic setting, Dennis Hopper getting an eye blown out, Kevin Costner playing Kevin Costner. It’s kinda like Mad Max on water instead of in Australia. Ok, it’s not a great film, but it’s entertaining scifi.

Well, imagine if instead of floating junk platforms and rusty barges, people lived on giant lily pads and harvested sea life for sustenance. And everyone was descended from criminals (kinda like Mad Max, being set in Australia). Oh and there was a giant sea monster named King Kragen that would roll up and eat all your home-grown sponges and if you made a fuss he’d wreck your shit. This is Jack Vance’s Blue World.

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I wasn’t originally quite sure what to expect from this one, but it kept me engaged and wanting to pick it up whenever I could find the time (and often it was a choice between sleeping while the baby let me or else reading and heaping maledictions upon King Kragen – curse his name!).

There’s a lot going on here and it’s got a lot of Vance’s signature moves – a competent protagonist who is intelligent and brave yet no action hero (pay no attention to the cover-Fabio above), witty, dry dialogue, big words, science, and oh so much imagination.

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One thing about the science of Jack Vance’s writing – it always feels “real” to me without getting too crunchy and boring. That is, it seems sufficiently detailed and plausible. Could you really burn off gallons of blood to gather iron for weapons and armor? I don’t know, but it’s a cool idea and sounds like it could be possible! Can you burn off plant matter to gather copper for crafting electrical conduits? Sure, why not? There’s something about stories like this that make me think of survival or colony-building video games and tech trees.

It’s also worth noting that Vance, though a noted proponent of tradition, is the ultimate shitlord, always willing to lampoon if it serves the story. I say this because my esteemed colleague Cirsova once pointed out to me that Vance has skewered tradition before. In the Blue World, Vance lays out a society that pays homage to a predatory monster that’s basically an overgrown octopus-crab (maybe? I kind of had trouble picturing it). The hero is the guy who finally gets sick of having his sponge-trees picked clean by the brute and decides to rouse some rabble.

The rabble itself is satisfying. Like in all of Vance’s other stories, many of the characters sound the same, speaking with honorifics and wield big fancy words and small difficult words. But the world is populated with both fools and those of superior intellect; the courageous and the cowardly; villains and heroes and those in between. In other words, I found the characters interesting sufficiently varied.

Potentially noteworthy – the hero gets the girl in the end, which isn’t always the case with Vance.

In conclusion, I’m a Vance fanboi and reading the Blue World has done nothing to shake my faith in his superior skill and unjust obscurity. 5/5.

-Bushi

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Dilvish, the Damned: more “not Tolkien”

One of the things I enjoy most about old Appendix N work (and similarly classic and formational SFF) is that there’s so much “not Tolkien” fantasy to masticate. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some JRR hobbits and trolls, but I’ve gotten kind of worn out on today’s brand of knock-off Gandalfs and Legolas clones. Even when they’re Dark-Legolas.

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So how about an Elfin hero who’s not so Elfy?

He’s got the green Elf-boots (TM) that assure he always magically lands on his feet, and seem to give him a vague sneaking bonus of some kind, but he doesn’t tote a longbow, thank God. Nor does he dual-wield any kind of fighting implements – no, he seems plenty comfortable with plain, old cold steel.

He doesn’t hear the whispers of the trees, nor does he charm animals, unless you count his companion/mount Black, the metal demon horse. And he doesn’t know any spells of protection or healing, but he does know a few incantations in the tongue of the underworld that can level cities.

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Dilvish, the Damned is an interesting sort of protagonist, consorting with or banishing demons as called for in a given situation. Driven by a deep thirst for revenge against the Saruman-type who banished him to Hell, he still holds to his own strict moral code, which includes assisting the weak and needy when able, and killing only those who deserve it when it can’t be avoided. In the introductory stories, we see him racing, out of a sense of personal obligation, to save a city from conquest. Later on he helps various other unfortunates who just happen to be in his path. He doles out both death and mercy. Dilvish is no saint, but he’s clearly no villain, either.

My favorite parts of Dilvish, the Damned were the stories of gods and fantastical creatures with somewhat less-than-common spin. One story is about a meeting with a werewolf, whom Dilvish pities and would rather not slay. Now there are a lot of popular associations when it comes to werewolves – weakness to silver, the full moon, transformation. But all this story really focuses on is the unrelenting hunger of the beast. It struck me in a positive way.

Another tale includes the recounting of a deicide committed by an ancestor of Dilvish. Excellent dying words here:

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I’ve become a big fan of short stories, and the episodic, yet continuing nature of Dilvish’s adventures scratches an itch. Although I really wish I knew what happened to that sweet invisible sword he picks up in one story and seems to lose sometime before the next. But alas, leaving some things unsaid or unexplained can be an effective storytelling technique.

The most disappointing part of the Dilvish stories has been Zelazny’s uneven writing, which is perhaps unsurprising for story written over the span of decades. Sometimes the writing is quite good and characters use archaic yet unstilted manners of speech (see above).

At other times the writing slips into a more…contemporary flavor.

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This can be all the more jarring when the two writing/speaking styles intermingle in the same story. If you can get past this, however, the writing is pretty solid, even if not every story is a home run.

Dilvish, the Damned was a pleasant surprise for me. I enjoyed Zelazny’s Amber stories, but for whatever reason I was expecting a “hero” somewhere between Cugel and Elric. While Dilvish certainly falls short of the traditional Christian champion of yore, we do instead have a flawed but noble hero to cheer for.

He is named both “Damned” and “Deliverer” by characters in his world, and he indeed presents us with another (though lighter) shade of gray. But Zelazny still delivers us a hero, free of grimdark nihilism, and with enough uniqueness for me to recommend picking this one up if you get the chance. 4.5/5.

-Bushi

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Hard Vance: Dust of Far Suns

At our last (and first!) Bushi meetup, Gitabushi gifted me a number of old books, including a couple Vances. I also gifted him an old Vance book, but the trade was far from reciprocal, for JV is one of my favorites and Gita isn’t so impressed. C’est la vie.

Dust of Far Suns turned out to be another solid collection. Although one of the Demon Prince stories kind of dragged for me, I have yet to read a Vance story I didn’t appreciate as a work of superior quality. Dust is a pleasantly small little number with four quick and meaty short stories, unrelated so far as I could tell aside from all being set in the future.

Another notable fact is that they all seemed “hard” scifi to me. That is, Vance was never one to shy away from blending a little magic into his scientifiction if it suited a given story. These ones, though, all come across as scientifically plausible (to a layman like me, at any rate). There are parts, especially in the first and third stories, which go into some detail about futuristic technologies such as solar sails and image projection. Most of this was probably made-up science, but not being a scientist, I couldn’t tell.

The titular opening story is a cool little number about an old, hardened grump named Henry Belt, who is responsible for training space cadets. He’s bristly, he’s said to drink heavily, and everyone hates him, but he’s also responsible for turning out the best spacemen Earth has got. But he’s been informed by a prognosticator that he’s destined to die in space, and he’s getting on in years…so he tells his latest class that he doesn’t care much whether he makes it back this time. What will happen?

“Dodkin’s Job” tells the story of a Nonconformist living on a world run by the Organization, a global government run on red tape. Our hero is a man of no small intellect and ability, if he does say so himself, but he just can’t abide stupid, pointless rules and routines. But as a result, he’s been declassified (demoted in social rank and employment assignment) so many times that he’s only one strike away from becoming a “junior executive,” the lowest class comprised of the dregs of society. Still, his latest job is a drag and a new order has just come down that will cost him 3 hours of his personal time every day, just because some bureaucrat felt like flexing a little muscle. This will not stand!

“Ullward’s Retreat” is about a future in which space and privacy are at a premium. There are just so many people that a typical family lives in a domicile the size of a large closet. But not Ullward! This guy’s amassed nearly 3/4 of an acre – a veritable paradise, and he’s very fond of showing it off. But he’s about to set his eyes on something much larger…

“The Gift of Gab” was probably my favorite of this collection, and it reminded me in parts of The Gray Prince. The story starts off with the disappearance of a crewman from the raft upon which most of the tale is set. But where could he have gone?

Vance’s experience as a seaman really shows here as he describes parts of the raft and its operation, as its crewmen carry out their job of mining the sea for metals to be sent back to Earth (I presume?).

I’ve said before that I really enjoy the imaginative depiction of alien beings and environments in my scifi, and “The Gift of Gab” really delivers with its mysterious sea world the the strange life found thereon.

Overall I’d give this book a 4.5/5. Really enjoyed it!

-Bushi

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Gordon R Dickson’s Dorsai!

My first exposure to Gordon R. Dickson came through his fantasy title The Dragon and the George – a quite exciting tale of a modern, mundane man thrust into a medieval fantasy world. It’s been done many times, but in this case our protagonist finds himself in the body of a dragon. Great book!

At the time of that post I was doing a bit of light research, as I am apt to do, and found that Dickson was more recognized and lauded as a scifi writer. Since then I’ve read Mission to Universe; it was okay.

His Childe Cycle is supposedly where it’s really at. Perhaps.

I just finished reading Dorsai!, and it was pretty good. I feel disgusting placing a comma next to an exclamation point, but here we are. Before getting into specifics, I think we’ve got another solid 3.5-4 out of 5 in this one. I got through it quicker than the last one (Lest Darkness Fall) and I daresay I enjoyed it more, but it didn’t blow me away.

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Dorsai! is the first book (in publication order) of Dickson’s uncompleted Childe Cycle – a story meant to span a millennium, from the 14th to 24th centuries. At the time of Dorsai!, humanity has expanded to the stars and begun to diverge. While there are not (yet) any branches of the species, planets have specialized. The titular planet of the Dorsai, for example, is a society of elite fighting men. Most of the worlds’ commanders and the best troops available hail from the warrior planet.

The story focuses on one Donal Graeme, a Dorsai who has just reached adulthood. Of course there is something “odd” about him; everyone says so. As the story progresses, we follow his career and meteoric rise through the ranks. Obviously the guy is a genius! His true motivation is somewhat obscured, though revealed to us and to himself in a vague, slow-drip kind of way, until the end of the tale.

Dickson does a nice job blending action and strategy (both military and political). I was reminded a little  of Ender’s Game and Foundation, in the satisfaction derived from following as Donal devises and executes an unlikely plan or figures out something no one else sees.

His world building was also quite well-done on a macro level, I thought. By the end of the novel I felt like I had a pretty decent picture of the worlds of Man and how they interacted with one another.

Bottom Line: If you see this one in a secondhand bookstore, pick it up. It’s good, inspirational, classic military scifi.

 

*Spoilers Ahoy*

 

All that said…I think Dickson wrote a decent-good book that could have been great. I think he wound up bogging himself down with Big Ideas and fantastical elements that got no follow-through. Character development was weakish. Anea, Lee, Galt, ArDell Montor, William, and even Donal himself fall all prey here. We get glimpses into personality and motivation, but that’s about it. Donal’s uncle Ian felt to me like perhaps the closest thing to a whole character, but he didn’t really get any kind of an arc.

There is a part where Donal is told that he is special in some way and that he can walk on air if he believes he can. He proceeds to do so, but then dismisses this unexplained power and never makes use of it again. This thread is just kind of lost. What was the point?

At the end of the story, Donal explains that he has a superhuman sense of insight – that he can see how events will unfold: sort of a quasi-Muad’dib prescience, I suppose. He is a sort of unforeseen evolution (as opposed to Dune‘s Paul, who was the result of carefully planned breeding come to fruition sooner than expected).

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This is all well and good, but the dialogue and explanations between Donal and Sayona felt excessive. To know that Anea was designed to gravitate to the most powerful man of humanity is enough. To know that Donal’s a superman who can predict the future is enough. Too much exposition!

There were several discussions throughout the story about the economy of the worlds. While I did find the idea intriguing – that because planets specialize they must trade and contract men and women of different specialties from other societies, this too became a little too dense for me to easily follow. The idea that some planets want to trade people as commodities, essentially, while others want to allow their workers some degree of freedom to choose their assignments – this would have a good place to end, for me.

One element I did appreciate was the bond between Dorsai men. Of course they were prepared to fight and kill one another when finding themselves on opposite sides. But in the abduction mission near the end of the story, Donal, El Man, and Ian wind up fighting and subduing a fellow Dorsai. He surrenders and they “hire him out” as a prisoner (an interesting if not immediately clear idea). He then takes them as far into the base as his honor will allow without directly betraying his commander.

Again, on the whole I found this an enjoyable read. But ultimately it felt like Dickson got too ambitious and got in his own way. He spent too much time on half-developed grand ideas that would have been better spent on further development of his characters.

-Bushi

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Lest Darkness Fall

It’s been almost a whole year since I read my first de Camp book, The Tritonian Ring. HP of Every Day Should Be Tuesday fame and I did our para-read of the title and both enjoyed it to varying degrees.

So how about Lest Darkness Fall, a title specifically mentioned in the illustrious (or notorious) Appendix N? This one fell into my lap not too long ago in my secondhand bookstore adventures, but I must admit The Appendix N Book Club’s recent coverage is what really spurred me to give it a read.

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Long-story-short, I enjoyed it. Whereas I gave The Tritonian Ring a 3/5, I think I’d throw Lest Darkness Fall an extra point or half, putting it somewhere in the 3.5-4/5 range. Pretty solid.

Interestingly, there’s not a whole lot of scifi or fantasy going on in this one. The premise of the story is lifted none-too-subtly from Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and the hook is nothing grander than a bolt of lightning. Is it magic? Is it some kind of science (‘a la Frankenstein)? Who knows? Ultimately it’s irrelevant.

*Minor spoilers*

The retelling of a modern man thrust back in time, equipped only with his wits and a superior mental store of knowledge makes for a fun tale. There’s no (real) sorcery, no aliens or lost civilizations; not even any fellow time-travelers. But our American protagonist, Martin Padaway, must build a new life and achieve the lofty goal he sets for himself.

Reading about the economic and political dealings of a literal man out of time may not do it for everyone. There are some fight scenes and Padaway unwittingly finds himself in military command, but most of his victories come in the form of social manipulations and maneuverings. If you’re all about ACTION, this is another one you may want to give a skip.

*Medium-Spicy Hot Spoilers*

I have to say the story started down points with me because of the whole flawed premise. No, not random time travel that happens right after it’s posited by a random dude. That’s fine. It’s the idea that this archaeologist thought he had to save the world from the so-called “Dark Ages.” The idea that the time period after the fall of the Roman Empire was a historic black hole devoid of scientific and cultural progress may be a popular misconception that completely ignores the accomplishments of the Byzantine Empire and other parts of Western Europe, but…

De Camp was a history guy and he should have known better. And maybe he did, but he apparently considered Classical Rome some sort of apex. Still, it sticks in my craw to get this from the guy who reputedly criticized Howard’s works for not being historically realistic enough.

His disregard for religion in general was also pretty clear. The fights between various ancillary characters regarding different forms of Christianity (orthodox versus a number of different heretical branches) were sometimes entertaining, but more often I found myself put off by their silliness. Padaway himself didn’t really seem to see religion as anything more than a kind of tribal classification. “I’m a Congregationalist. It’s the closest thing we have to (insert religion) in America” became a gag line to be supplied whenever anyone asks him about his creed.

Perhaps this is why I didn’t find Padaway to be that compelling of a character. He’s got his principles, sure – he tries not solve his problems non-violently where possible, and he doesn’t pursue revenge when the opportunity is open to him. But he is a “modern man” in the sense that he doesn’t seem to give much thought to ideals or powers greater than himself (aside from the overarching goal of “avoiding the fall of Rome to the darkness!!”

Contrary to the Appendix N Bookclub guys, who sometimes take the time to identify “problematic” elements in these stories (to be fair Hoi seems to be more circumspect in this), I wasn’t offended by the end of the story, in which Padaway (a) realized he was a big-shot now and didn’t need to put up with women he wasn’t not completely enamored with (b) sent Justinian a letter advising him that he may want to nip Islam in the bud before it’s born (c) merely started taxing slavery rather than trying to immediately end the practice.

Padaway did eventually become a little full of himself, but I saw his behavior as somewhat of an adaptation to his new environment. It’s well and good to judge by today’s standards, but when you’re living in a rough-and-tumble world where might makes right and you want to survive, you build and display power.

As to the criticism that he was a little too good and knowledgeable, I agreed. It didn’t ruin the story for me, as he did encounter failures. He couldn’t produce a working clock. He couldn’t get gunpowder to work. It took a lot of trial and error to produce usable paper. Still, I did find myself thinking “who the hell is this guy?” Archaeologist who knows how to build a printing press, a stink bomb, a superior horse collar, a crossbow (ok that one I can maybe buy), brandy distillation, etc?

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And he seemed to know certain historical occurrences almost to the day. “This deposed king should be returning to Rivella tomorrow.” Come on.

But those points aside, there was a lot to enjoy. His Arian friend the banker was a fun, if silly, character. I was pleased to see Belisarius make an appearance (though Justinian’s order prompting him to join Padaway was ridiculous). The story itself wasn’t overly long and moved at a decent pace. Though it was light on action, it had plenty of conflict. If you’re a fan of the kinds of stories in which a protagonist must think and bluff his way out of most sticky situations (I almost want to invoke Asimov, but his style is more serious than de Camp’s), you may enjoy Lest Darkness Fall.

In the context of Appendix N, I must admit this one more than any of the other entries I’ve read had me scratching my head. My first thought was “NPCs and hirelings (or whatever they’re called)” because this story’s got tons of them. Appendix N Bookclub talked about economics and world building, which I think is a great takeaway. When Jeffro did his retrospective on this story, he talked about domain-level play and provided quite an extensive write-up of in-game applications of some of its elements.

Bottom line: this wasn’t one of my favorite Appendix N reads, but I’m glad I picked it up. Enjoyable without being a masterpiece. But when you’re talking about part of body of work that’s of a high baseline quality, not being the best isn’t shameful.

-Bushi

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C.L. Moore’s Tree of Life

C.L. Moore is one of those unfairly obscurified SFF writers of decades past. This summer I did a little gushing about Jirel of Joiry, a terribly great series of short stories, but since then I’ve been sampling different fare. Until the other day, when I was looking for some quick train reading and remembered that I’d downloaded an e-book version of “The Tree of Life” (available for free on Amazon and at Gutenburg).

I wasn’t quite as impressed with this one, but there’s still a lot to admire and enjoy about it. First off, it makes a case that Moore was another author skilled at writing diversely.

“The Tree of Life” belongs to Moore’s Northwest Smith series of short stories. Along with Jirel, Smith was one of her trademark characters and probably represents her most recognized foray into scifi. Although we don’t learn overly much about the protagonist in this tale, we see that he’s on the run and that he’s cut from the same cloth as Conan and Eric John Stark – namely that though he’s intelligent, there’s something primal and barbarian about him.

While we’re talking about Conan, I don’t consider that note about intellect to be of small significance. The mainstream perception of our favorite barbarian has come to envision him as a dumb, muscly brute, but in fact he was no dullard. For one, Conan spoke a number of different languages, and if you’ve ever tried to pick up a second or third, you’ll know this is not an easy feat. That struck me about Northwest Smith, actually – in this story Moore flat-out tells us that our protagonist is familiar with a number of different languages, and he’s able to brokenly communicate with some alien creatures that speak a language similar to one he’s picked up to a small degree. This commonality between Smith and Conan is no surprise, really, as we know Moore and Howard were at least friendly (if not friends) and enjoyed each other’s work.

As in her Jirel stories, Moore blends in a generous dose of semi-Lovecraftian horror. Combined with the somewhat romantic science fantasy of the Smith setting, we’ve got a nice, refreshing blend of elements going here.

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Moore’s way with language is characteristically impressive:

“It was no ordinary danger. A nameless, choking, paralyzed panic was swelling in his throat as he gazed upon the perilous beauty of the Tree. Somehow the arches and curves of its branches seemed to limn a pattern so dreadful that his heart beat faster as he gazed upon it. But he could not guess why, though somehow the answer was hovering just out of reach of his conscious mind. From that first glimpse of it his instincts shuddered like a shying stallion, yet reason still looked in vain for an answer.”

Though I was put off at a certain point in the story when she reuses the word “dynamo” a little too often for my liking…

I’m loathe to really say much about the story’s plot, as it’s not really very long and the buildup is part of the fun. So if any of this sounds enticing, go check it out!.

In summation, this is a great, free little SFF romp. It might not be my suggested entry point into her works, but it works as a standalone, it’s quick, and it’s imaginative, quality writing by a top-notch old great.

-Bushi

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Thoughts on Tarzan: it was fine

I recently finished up reading Tarzan of the Apes, because I could no longer respect myself as an Appendix N/old school SFF blogger who hadn’t done so yet (though it may be worth noting that Tarzan isn’t actually Appendix N). I’ve been meaning to write sooner, but my flesh husk has been busy regenerating from a viral plague, among other preoccupations, some of which might involve simulated trucks.

At the risk of becoming the one PulpRev-oriented site that speaks occasionally unflatteringly and repeatedly of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan was okay.

I’ve never been big on jungle adventures, honestly. The Solomon Kane tales that did were excellent because Robert E. Howard is a baller. Seriously, if you haven’t read any of the Kane stories, you should. It’s arguably some of his best stuff – even better than Conan.

But the Jungle Book media that I’ve consumed never impressed me, and I’ve never found King Kong (I know, it doesn’t all take place there) to be particularly interesting.

If you’ve never read it, your image of Tarzan, shaped by clips of old black and white films, the Disney animation, and parodies like George of the Jungle, probably amounts to an adult Mowgli-type dude who was raised by gorillas and swings around on tree vines yodeling.

As is the case with Frankenstein and probably numerous other classics, the modern perception is far removed from the reality of the character.

For one thing, the apes that raised Tarzan aren’t gorillas. They are more intelligent (even having a primitive vocal language of their own) and distinct from the other apes of the jungle.

Tarzan himself may owe a spark of inspiration to Mowgli, but the character is basically a superhero, and I think it helps to think of many of ERB’s protagonists in this way. Tarzan is incredibly strong and adaptable, possessed of superior intellect, and is both primal and cultured. It takes him mere weeks or months to go from a savage ape-man to a European gentleman in speech and manner.

Also, Tarzan does not yodel when he swings around. He gives a ferocious cry after making a kill.

By the way, mild spoiler alert here.

I grew to like the Tarzan character. My main complaints with the story aren’t with him, for the most part. I do think he’s a little too perfect, but again, if you think of him as a proto-Superman (similar to John Carter in some ways), this is fine.

Mostly I found almost all of the supporting characters to be unbelievable and irksome. Tarzan’s French captain companion isn’t bad. He serves his purpose as Tarzan’s main gateway to civilization and the world of Man, building upon the groundwork laid by the cabin of Tarzan’s father.

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The hero’s cousin, Clayton, is also a fine man and a decent character. This presents its own problems. Namely, Clayton is a rival for Jane’s affections and for Tarzan’s title and inheritance. This sets up Tarzan to be noble and self-sacrificing, but it’s also a somewhat uncomfortable feeling for the reader (or at least for me). Clayton is shown to be handsome, brave, and noble. But he’s also an obstacle for the hero.

I don’t intend to read the sequel, so I read the plot synopsis for the Return of Tarzan and I see that ERB deals with this by changing Clayton and making him a coward. This enables Jane to break off their engagement because he is now a cad. Poor Clayton. It would have been better for him had he died in the jungle, it seems. But oh well – Jane has to end up with Tarzan somehow, and we can’t have anyone feeling guilty on Clayton’s account!

Before we get to Jane, her father and his companion are almost insufferable. Wandering into the jungle for no reason, arguing academic and philosophic points while being chased by a predatory cat and then rescued by Tarzan, and then refusing to follow him: perhaps these antics were meant to be comical, but I just found them exasperating.

As for Jane, I agree with my friend Alex of Cirsova, who commented that she is the worst of the ERB women. She is alternatingly indecisive and rash, as well as fickle. Jane is part of the reason Clayton doesn’t work as well as he could have. At the start of the story, the two are taken with one another. And why not? She’s pretty, and he’s a handsome, brave, virtuous, rich British noble. But as soon as she gets a look at Tarzan, she’s instantly over Clayton and smitten with our jungle god. Because man is he hawt.

This may cut close to reality, and we pulp fans do like our alpha males who take what they want. But it reflects poorly on Jane, I think. Clayton is a fine, upstanding man whose only demerit here is that he’s not an exotic demigod. He’s a likable character and he’s just been spurned by the female lead for purely superficial reasons. Understandable, perhaps, and realistic, sure. But not very admirable.

Besides this, at least in the first book Jane doesn’t really show any of the fierceness (or of course loyalty) that Dejah Thoris and even Dian of Pellucidar do.

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A couple things in the book’s favor – ERB was masterful at both action and at hitting certain emotional beats (that he seems to hit in every story, but they keep working!). The same is true in Tarzan. There’s some epic action, and some gripping feelzy moments. I especially liked the story of Tarzan’s parents.

So it was an enjoyable read. I’m glad I read it. But I don’t really feel much desire to continue with the series. I’ve still got a bunch of Barsoom waiting for me!

-Bushi

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