Friday, September 11, 2009

Adventure Week #4: Tarzan of the Apes

Over at my crime fiction blog, I've reviewed the first Tarzan novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Take a look if you'd like.

Here's a question specifically for SF fans: has anyone read Philip Jose Farmer's Tarzan Alive? If so, what did you think? Should I start hunting down this title or not bother?


  1. Ooh, aah! Love the first two Tarzan novels!

  2. By all means, find Tarzan Alive. It's very well done and ties the character in to quite a large number of other fictional characters. One big happy family.

  3. Thanks to Randy for linking to my Wold Newton Universe website. :-)

    Speaking from my purely unbiased position as the contributor of the Foreword to the 2006 Bison Books edition of TARZAN ALIVE, and as Farmer's co-author on THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSE ( which has significant connections to the Greystoke backstory... yes, you should absolutely hunt up a copy of TARZAN ALIVE. ;-)

  4. Phy - I'm so enjoying these books. I'm up to Book #3 now. But I'll probably read Tarzan Alive first.

    Randy - I've got Tarzan Alive on hold from the library. After The Lost Symbol, it'll be next.

    Win - Here's irony: I literally picked up Myths for the Modern Age...and only later realized you edited it. Wow! What a concept, the Wold Newton Universe. Never knew about it. And I only read my first Doc Savage book last year. This is an exciting time in my reading.

  5. Scott, definitely read TARZAN ALIVE before MYTHS, and enjoy. :-)

    If you have the 2006 Bison edition of TARZAN ALIVE, it's missing the graphic Wold Newton Family tree. (Don't ask me why....) With Phil Farmer's permission I have it online on my site:

    Also try to hunt up Phil's companion mock biography, DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE.

    Finally, in addition to my own Wold Newton website and MYTHS, here are a few more links:

    Hope that helps!

    All the best,


  6. Win - Okay, an additional question: is Tarzan Alive Farmer's attempt to put all twentysomething ERB books inton one, continuous story? That is, should I read the ERB books first then the Farmer? Or can I go straight to the Farmer?

    And, since I've only read one Doc Savage book--and really loved it--I'll be on the lookout for His Apocalyptic Life as well.

  7. Hi Scott,

    If I were you I'd read the first five Tarzan books by ERB, at least, to get the best flavor of the series.

    TARZAN ALIVE is a faux biography, so it does cover all the ERB books and fill in the details in between them. It treats Tarzan as a real person, and the ERB books as "fictionalizations" of episodes in that real person's life... but this approach doesn't do as much violence to the ERB books as one might think from such a description. Phil absolutely loved Tarzan and thought ERB was a heck of a good adventure writer.

    DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE is also a mock bio, but it takes a broader view, and doesn't cover each and every book (since there were 181 of them at the time Phil wrote it).

    The books are both in the vein of, and inspired in part by, William S. Baring-Gould's bios SHERLOCK HOLMES OF BAKER STREET and NERO WOLFE OF WEST 35TH STREET.

    Hope that helps. :-)



  8. I've just got the complete Tarzan novels on my Sony eReader - all free of charge. Looking forward to them

  9. Gary - You will not be disappointed. I now need to get Edge #1 for my iPod Touch. Thanks for making those books available.


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