I finally did what I meant to do for three years – google Rice Burroughs – who may be my kin! My uncle, Vincent Rice, showed me his cote of arms, and said his ancestors were Puritans. Did they know John Wilson? Burroughs looks like Uncle Vinnie – who had no children! I declared myself his son – after my daughter betrayed me! Mark Presco disowned me, and may have invested in the Rosamond book and movie! But, Vincent Rice and Mary Magdalene – have saved me!
I was compared to Tarzan when I swam in my mother’s pool, and the Blake pool! Arthur Barnes is another writer sitting near my grandmother. I created Miriam Starfish Christling after the Tarzan model. She lives in a tree at Osborne House. She falls in love with Victoria Rosemond Bond who was inspired by Irene Victoria Christensen who lived in the woods with me for fifty days. The other author next to Mary is John Butler. Vincent wrote for the UCLA Bruin paper and the LA Times.
It’s time for Lord Greystoke – to take a wife – so he can be completely reborn! I will use Rena and myself as models for the illustrations of my book….
TARZAN TAKES A WIFE
President: Royal Rosamond Press!
Edmund Rice (c. 1594 – 3 May 1663), was an early immigrant to Massachusetts Bay Colony born in Suffolk, England. He lived in Stanstead, Suffolk and Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire before sailing with his family to America. He landed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in summer or fall of 1638, thought to be first living in the town of Watertown, Massachusetts. Shortly thereafter he was a founder of Sudbury in 1638, and later in life was one of the thirteen petitioners for the founding of Marlborough in 1656. He was a deacon in the Puritan Church, and served in town politics as a selectman and judge. He also served five years as a member of the Great and General Court, the combined colonial legislature and judicial court of Massachusetts.
The Launch of Falcon Fleet Forty Five From Boston
Edgar Rice Burroughs
|Edgar Rice Burroughs|
|Born||September 1, 1875|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||March 19, 1950 (aged 74)|
Encino, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Tarzana, California, U.S.|
|Genre||Adventure novel, fantasy, lost world, sword and planet, planetary romance, soft science fiction, Western|
|Notable works||Tarzan seriesBarsoom series|
|Notable awards||Inkpot Award (1975)|
|Spouse||Emma Centennia Hulbert (1900–1934) (divorced)|
Florence Gilbert (1935–1941) (divorced)
|Children||Joan Burroughs Pierce, Hulbert Burroughs, John Coleman Burroughs|
|Relatives||James Pierce (son-in-law)|
Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875 – March 19, 1950) was an American speculative fiction writer, best known for his prolific output in the adventure, science fiction and fantasy genres. His most well-known creations include Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars (Barsoom series)
He is also known for the hollow Earth-themed Pellucidar series, beginning with At the Earth’s Core (1914), Carson Napier of Venus (Amtor series) and the lost world-themed Caspak trilogy, beginning with The Land that Time Forgot (1918).
- 2Literary career
- 3Reception and criticism
- 4Selected works
- 5See also
- 8Further reading
- 9External links
Early life and family
Burroughs was born on September 1, 1875, in Chicago (he later lived for many years in the suburb of Oak Park), the fourth son of Major George Tyler Burroughs (1833–1913), a businessman and Civil War veteran, and his wife, Mary Evaline (Zieger) Burroughs (1840–1920). His middle name is from his paternal grandmother, Mary Coleman Rice Burroughs (1802–1889). He was of almost entirely English ancestry, with a family line that had been in North America since the Colonial era.
Through his Rice grandmother, Burroughs was descended from settler Edmund Rice, one of the English Puritans who moved to Massachusetts Bay Colony in the early 17th century. He once remarked, “I can trace my ancestry back to Deacon Edmund Rice.” The Burroughs side of the family was also of English origin and also emigrated to Massachusetts around the same time. Many of his ancestors fought in the American Revolution. Some of his ancestors settled in Virginia during the colonial period, and Burroughs often emphasized his connection with that side of his family, seeing it as romantic and warlike, and, in fact, could have counted among his close cousins no less than seven signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, including his third cousin, four times removed, 2nd President of the United States John Adams.
Burroughs was educated at a number of local schools. He then attended Phillips Academy, in Andover, Massachusetts, and then the Michigan Military Academy. Graduating in 1895, and failing the entrance exam for the United States Military Academy at West Point, he became an enlisted soldier with the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Fort Grant, Arizona Territory. After being diagnosed with a heart problem and thus ineligible to serve, he was discharged in 1897.Burroughs’s bookplate, showing Tarzan holding the planet Mars, surrounded by other characters from his stories and symbols relating to his personal interests and careerTypescript letter, with Tarzana Ranch letterhead, from Burroughs to Ruthven Deane, explaining the design and significance of his bookplate
After his discharge Burroughs worked a number of different jobs. During the Chicago influenza epidemic of 1891, he spent half a year at his brother’s ranch on the Raft River in Idaho, as a cowboy, drifted somewhat afterward, then worked at his father’s Chicago battery factory in 1899, marrying his childhood sweetheart, Emma Hulbert (1876–1944), in January 1900.
In 1903, Burroughs joined his brothers, Yale graduates George and Harry, who were, by then, prominent Pocatello area ranchers in southern Idaho, and partners in the Sweetser-Burroughs Mining Company, where he took on managing their ill-fated Snake River gold dredge, a classic bucket-line dredge. The Burroughs brothers were also the sixth cousins, once removed, of famed miner Kate Rice, a brilliant and statuesque Maths professor who, in 1914, became the first female prospector in the Canadian North. Journalist and publisher C. Allen Thorndike Rice was also his third cousin.
When the new mine proved unsuccessful, the brothers secured for Burroughs a position with the Oregon Short Line Railroad in Salt Lake City. Burroughs resigned from the railroad in October 1904.
By 1911, after seven years of low wages as a pencil-sharpener wholesaler, Burroughs began to write fiction. By this time, Emma and he had two children, Joan (1908–1972), and Hulbert (1909–1991). During this period, he had copious spare time and began reading pulp-fiction magazines. In 1929, he recalled thinking that
…if people were paid for writing rot such as I read in some of those magazines, that I could write stories just as rotten. As a matter of fact, although I had never written a story, I knew absolutely that I could write stories just as entertaining and probably a whole lot more so than any I chanced to read in those magazines.
Daughter Joan married Tarzan film actor, James Pierce, starring with her husband, as the voice of Jane, during 1932–1934 for the Tarzan radio series. The pair were wed for more than forty years, until her death in 1972.
Burroughs divorced Emma in 1934 and, in 1935, married the former actress Florence Gilbert Dearholt, who was the former wife of his friend (who was then himself remarrying), Ashton Dearholt, with whom he had co-founded Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises while filming The New Adventures of Tarzan. Burroughs adopted the Dearholts’ two children. He and Florence divorced in 1942.
Burroughs was in his late 60s and was in Honolulu at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite his age, he applied for and received permission to become a war correspondent, becoming one of the oldest U.S. war correspondents during World War II. This period of his life is mentioned in William Brinkley‘s bestselling novel Don’t Go Near the Water.
After the war ended, Burroughs moved back to Encino, California, where after many health problems, he died of a heart attack on March 19, 1950, having written almost 80 novels. He is buried in Tarzana, California, US.
When he died, he was believed to have been the writer who had made the most from films, earning over $2 million in royalties from 27 Tarzan pictures.
Aiming his work at the pulps—under the name “Norman Bean” to protect his reputation—Burroughs had his first story, Under the Moons of Mars, serialized by Frank Munsey in the February to July 1912 issues of The All-Story.[a] Under the Moons of Mars inaugurated the Barsoom series and earned Burroughs US$400 ($10,727 today). It was first published as a book by A. C. McClurg of Chicago in 1917, entitled A Princess of Mars, after three Barsoom sequels had appeared as serials and McClurg had published the first four serial Tarzan novels as books.
Burroughs soon took up writing full-time, and by the time the run of Under the Moons of Mars had finished, he had completed two novels, including Tarzan of the Apes, published from October 1912 and one of his most successful series.
Burroughs also wrote popular science fiction and fantasy stories involving adventurers from Earth transported to various planets (notably Barsoom, Burroughs’s fictional name for Mars, and Amtor, his fictional name for Venus), lost islands (Caspak), and into the interior of the Hollow Earth in his Pellucidar stories. He also wrote Westerns and historical romances. Besides those published in All-Story, many of his stories were published in The Argosy magazine.
Tarzan was a cultural sensation when introduced. Burroughs was determined to capitalize on Tarzan’s popularity in every way possible. He planned to exploit Tarzan through several different media including a syndicated Tarzan comic strip, movies, and merchandise. Experts in the field advised against this course of action, stating that the different media would just end up competing against each other. Burroughs went ahead, however, and proved the experts wrong – the public wanted Tarzan in whatever fashion he was offered. Tarzan remains one of the most successful fictional characters to this day and is a cultural icon.
In either 1915 or 1919, Burroughs purchased a large ranch north of Los Angeles, California, which he named “Tarzana”. The citizens of the community that sprang up around the ranch voted to adopt that name when their community, Tarzana, California, was formed in 1927. Also, the unincorporated community of Tarzan, Texas, was formally named in 1927 when the US Postal Service accepted the name, reputedly coming from the popularity of the first (silent) Tarzan of the Apes film, starring Elmo Lincoln, and an early “Tarzan” comic strip.
In 1923, Burroughs set up his own company, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., and began printing his own books through the 1930s.
Reception and criticism
Because of the part Burroughs’s science fiction played in inspiring real exploration of Mars, an impact crater on Mars was named in his honor after his death. In a Paris Review interview, Ray Bradbury said of Burroughs that “Edgar Rice Burroughs never would have looked upon himself as a social mover and shaker with social obligations. But as it turns out – and I love to say it because it upsets everyone terribly – Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.” Bradbury continued that “By giving romance and adventure to a whole generation of boys, Burroughs caused them to go out and decide to become special.”
In Something of Myself (published posthumously in 1937) Rudyard Kipling wrote: “My Jungle Books begat Zoos of [imitators]. But the genius of all the genii was one who wrote a series called Tarzan of the Apes. I read it, but regret I never saw it on the films, where it rages most successfully. He had ‘jazzed’ the motif of the Jungle Books and, I imagine, had thoroughly enjoyed himself. He was reported to have said that he wanted to find out how bad a book he could write and ‘get away with’, which is a legitimate ambition.”
By 1963, Floyd C. Gale of Galaxy Science Fiction wrote when discussing reprints of several Burroughs novels by Ace Books, “an entire generation has grown up inexplicably Burroughs-less”. He stated that most of the author’s books had been out of print for years and that only the “occasional laughable Tarzan film” reminded public of his fiction. Gale reported his surprise that after two decades his books were again available, with Canaveral Press, Dover Publications, and Ballantine Books also reprinting them.
Few critical books have been written about Burroughs. From an academic standpoint, the most helpful are Erling Holtsmark’s two books: Tarzan and Tradition and Edgar Rice Burroughs; Stan Galloway’s The Teenage Tarzan: A Literary Analysis of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Jungle Tales of Tarzan; and Richard Lupoff’s two books: Master of Adventure: Edgar Rice Burroughs and Barsoom: Edgar Rice Burroughs and the Martian Vision. Galloway was identified by James Edwin Gunn as “one of the half-dozen finest Burroughs scholars in the world”; Galloway called Holtsmark his “most important predecessor.”
Burroughs strongly supported eugenics and scientific racism. His views held that English nobles made up a particular heritable elite among Anglo-Saxons. Tarzan was meant to reflect this, with him being born to English nobles and then adopted by talking apes (the Mangani). They express eugenicist views themselves, but Tarzan is permitted to live despite being deemed “unfit” in comparison, and grows up to surpass not only them but black Africans, whom Burrough clearly presents as inherently inferior, even not wholly human. In one Tarzan story, he finds an ancient civilization where eugenics has been practiced for over 2,000 years, with the result that it is free of all crime. Criminal behavior is held to be entirely hereditary, with the solution having been to kill not only criminals but also their families. Lost on Venus, a later novel, presents a similar utopia where forced sterilization is practiced and the “unfit” killed. Burroughs explicitly supported such ideas in his unpublished nonfiction essay I See A New Race. Additionally, his Pirate Blood, which is not speculative fiction and remained unpublished after his death, portrayed the characters as victims of their hereditary criminal traits (one a descendant of the corsair Jean Lafitte, another from the Jukes family). These views have been compared with Nazi eugenics (though noting that they were popular and common at the time), with his Lost on Venus being released the same year the Nazis took power (in 1933).
Main article: Edgar Rice Burroughs bibliography
Main article: Barsoom
- A Princess of Mars (1912)
- The Gods of Mars (1913)
- The Warlord of Mars (1914)
- Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1916)
- The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
- The Master Mind of Mars (1927)
- A Fighting Man of Mars (1930)
- Swords of Mars (1934)
- Synthetic Men of Mars (1939)
- Llana of Gathol (1941)
- John Carter of Mars (1964, stories from 1940 to 1943)
Main article: Tarzan
- Tarzan of the Apes (1912)
- The Return of Tarzan (1913)
- The Beasts of Tarzan (1914)
- The Son of Tarzan (1915)
- Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar (1916)
- Jungle Tales of Tarzan (stories 1916–1917)
- Tarzan the Untamed (1919)
- Tarzan the Terrible (1921)
- Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1922)
- Tarzan and the Ant Men (1924)
- Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle (1927)
- Tarzan and the Lost Empire (1928)
- Tarzan at the Earth’s Core (1929)
- Tarzan the Invincible (1930)
- Tarzan Triumphant (1931)
- Tarzan and the City of Gold (1932)
- Tarzan and the Lion Man (1933)
- Tarzan and the Leopard Men (1932)
- Tarzan’s Quest (1935)
- Tarzan the Magnificent (1936)
- Tarzan and the Forbidden City (1938)
- Tarzan and the Foreign Legion (1947, written in 1944)
- Tarzan and the Tarzan Twins (1963, collects 1927 and 1936 children’s books)
- Tarzan and the Madman (1964, written in 1940)
- Tarzan and the Castaways (1965, stories from 1940 to 1941)
- Tarzan: The Lost Adventure (1995, rewritten version of 1946 fragment) (completed by Joe R. Lansdale)
Main article: Pellucidar
- At the Earth’s Core (1914)
- Pellucidar (1915)
- Tanar of Pellucidar (1929)
- Back to the Stone Age (1937)
- Land of Terror (1944, written in 1939)
- Savage Pellucidar (1963, stories from 1942)
- Tarzan at the Earth’s Core (1929)
Main article: Venus series
- Pirates of Venus (1932)
- Lost on Venus (1933)
- Carson of Venus (1938)
- Escape on Venus (1946, stories from 1941 to 1942)
- The Wizard of Venus (1970, written in 1941)
- Part I: The Moon Maid (1923, serialized in Argosy, May 5 – June 2, 1923)
- Part II: The Moon Men (1925, serialized in Argosy, February 21 – March 14, 1925)
- Part III: The Red Hawk (1925 serialized in Argosy, September 5–19, 1925)
These three texts have been published by various houses in one or two volumes. Adding to the confusion, some editions have the original (significantly longer) introduction to Part I from the first publication as a magazine serial, and others have the shorter version from the first book publication, which included all three parts under the title The Moon Maid.
Other science fiction
- The Monster Men (1913)
- The Lost Continent (1916; a.k.a. Beyond Thirty)
- The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw (1937)
- Beyond the Farthest Star (1942)
Jungle adventure novels
- The Cave Girl (1913, revised 1917)
- The Eternal Lover (1914, rev. 1915; aka The Eternal Savage)
- The Man-Eater (1915)
- The Lad and the Lion (1917)
- Jungle Girl (1931; aka Land of the Hidden Men)
- The Bandit of Hell’s Bend (1924)
- The War Chief (1927)
- Apache Devil (1933)
- The Deputy Sheriff of Comanche County (1940)
- Minidoka: 937th Earl of One Mile Series M (1998; written in 1903)
- The Mad King (1914, rev. 1915)
- The Girl from Farris’s (1916)
- The Rider (1918)
- The Efficiency Expert (1921)
- The Girl from Hollywood (1922)
- Marcia of the Doorstep (1924)
- You Lucky Girl! (1927)
- Pirate Blood (1970; written in 1932)
- Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder (2001; stories from 1910 to 1944)
- Brother Men (2005; nonfiction)
I am almost certain Arthur K. Barnes and John K. Butler are in these two photographs with my grandmother. I will tie Barnes and Butler to C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Ian Flemming. Add Dashiell Hammet to the mix. He would go camping on Anacapa Island with my grandfather, Royal Rosamond.
Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor is my only Muse. Liz, Christine, and I, are the only family members I want to be associated with. I am going to found a California Cultural Reserve in order to survive The Moron of Dark Tower and his Neo-Confederate Thunder Turds.
John K. Butler
Author JOHN K. BUTLER is best-known, at least in our little neck of the woods, for the numerous stories he pounded out for such pulps as Black Mask, Detective Fiction Weekly, Double Detective and especially Dime Detective.
His best known series character, of course, was Steve Midnight, the trouble-prone hack for the Red Owl Cab Company of Los Angeles, who appeared in nine stories in Dime Detective, but he was also responsible for the adventures of police detective Rex Lonergan and undercover cop Tricky Enright. but his forté seemed to be tough, competent sleuths with unlikely professions, such as Midnight, or hard-boiled phone company inspector Rod Case. Butler even penned at least one story about Sandy Taylor of the Harbor Police.
Butler was also one of the most prolific writers of B-pictures, eventually cranking out over fifty screenplays, mostly for Republic Pictures, more than half of them westerns, and many of them featuring Roy Rogers. Okay, so they were mostly B-flicks, but among his screen credits are such classic — and occasionally alternative classics — as Ambush at Cimarron Pass, Drums Along the River, My Pal Trigger, The Vampire’s Ghost and– get this — Post Office Investigator, about a hard-boiled, um, post office inspector. A nitrate print of it survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives but is not listed for preservation.
In the fifties, Butler moved on to television, again favouring westerns, although he also wrote for shows like The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu and 77 Sunset Strip.
Butler was also a bit of a wingnut, dressing up in cowboy drag and galloping through Griffith Park on his horse Prince. You might even say he died in the saddle — he broke his back during a ride in 1964.
- “Murder Alley” (April 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “The Corpse Parade” (June 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “Fog Over Frisco” (July 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “The Stairway to Hell” (November 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “‘G’ Heat” (November 1935, Black Mask)
- “Guns for a Lady” (March 1936, Black Mask)
- “Seven Years Dead” (January 1936, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
- “Dark Return” (May 1936, Black Mask; Mark Dana)
- “Blood on the Buddha” (May 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “Parole for the Dead” (August 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “You Can’t Bribe Bullets” (August 1936, Black Mask)
- “The Mad Dogs of Frisco” (October 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “No Rest for Soldiers” (October 1936, Black Mask)
- “The Lady in the Grave” (October 31, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “Federal Bullets” (November 1936, The Feds)
- “Celluloid Doom” (December 1936, Ten Detective Aces)
- “The Mirror Maze” (February 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
- “The Walking Dead” (February 1937, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “Reunion on River Street” (March 6, 1937, Argosy)
- “The Blood Barrier” (March 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
- “Death on the Hook” (March 1937, Headquarters Detective; Sandy Taylor)
- “Gallows Ghost” (April 1937, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
- “I Killed a Guy” (April 1937, Black Mask)
- “The Parole Pawn” (May 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
- “A Coffin for Two” (July 1937, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
- “Death in the Dust” (September 4, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “A Ticket to Tokyo” (September 18, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “A Street in Singapore” (September 25, 1937, Argosy)
- “The Secret of the Wax Lady” (September 1937, ; Tricky Enright)Dime Detective
- “Sierra Gold” (November 20, 1937, Argosy)
- “Death Rides the Wires” (November 20, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “The Pied Piper of Frisco” (November 1937, Dime Detective Magazine; Rex Lonergan)
- “Legend of Boulder Gap (1937)
- “The Black Widow” (January 1938, Double Detective)
- “Defender of the Doomed” (May 7, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “Why Shoot a Corpse?” (May 1938, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
- “Over the Wall” (August 1938, Double Detective)
- “Hard to Kill” (November 1938, Double Detective)
- “Big Mike’s Christmas Carol” (December 24, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “The Last Hideout” (January 1939, Double Detective)
- “County Cleanup” (February 1939, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
- “Murder in Mexico” (April 1939, Double Detective)
- “The Headless Man in Hangar 3” (July 1939, Double Detective)
- “The Man from San Quentin” (August 1939, Double Detective)
- “The Man Who Liked Ice” (October 1939, Double Detective)
- “Country Cop” (November 4, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “The Policeman Writes a Ticket” (December 1939, Double Detective)
- “The Doctor Buries His Dead” (December 1939, ; Stan Denhart, M.D.)
- “I Died Last April” (January 1940, Double Detective)
- “The Lady and the Snakes” (March 1940, Double Detective)
- “The Autumn Kill” (May 25 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “The Dead Ride Free” (May 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “The Man from Alcatraz” (July 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Cop from Yesterday” (September 28, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “Hacker’s Holiday” (October 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Brass Knuckles” (October 19, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
- “The Saint in Silver” (January 1941, Dime Detective; also The Hardboiled Dicks; Steve Midnight)
- “Don’t Make It Murder” (February 1941, Black Mask)
- “The Killer was a Gentleman” (March 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “We Sell Murder” (Summer 1941, Exciting Murder)
- “Dead Man’s Alibi” “July 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Death Has My Number” (August 1941, Black Mask; Rod Case)
- “Blitz Kill” (September 1941, G-Men Detective)
- “The Hearse from Red Owl” (September 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Murder for Nickels” (December 1941, Black Mask; Rod Case)
- “Death and Taxis” (January 1942, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Cops Have Nine Lives” (February 1942, Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine)
- “Funeral — C.O.D.” (February 1942, Detective Tales)
- “The Mark of the Monterey Kid” (February 1942, Western Tales)
- “The Corpse That Couldn’t Keep Cool” (March 1942, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
- “Never Work at Night” (March 1942, Black Mask; Rod Case)
- “Death Goes Dancing” (May 1942, Street & Smith’s Detective Story Magazine)
- “The Pen is Not for Punks” (Fall 1942, The Masked Detective)
- “Dead Letter” (September 1942, Black Mask; Rod Case)
- “The Last Man to Hang” (October 1942, Detective Tales)
- “Legend of Boulder Gap” (February 1950, Max Brand’s Western Magazine)
- “The Man Who Knew Cochise” (December 1952, Western Story Magazine)
- “So-Long, Tombstone!” (June 1953, Western Story Magazine)
- “A Man with a Gun” (June 1955, Best Western)
- At the Stroke of Midnight (1998; Steve Midnight) ..Buy this book
- The Complete Cases of Steve Midnight (2016; Steve Midnight).. Buy the book
John K. Butler captured on film, along with a few of his partners in crime!
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
the gerry carlyle stories
of arthur k barnes
When you read a great and famous author, delight comes without surprise. But when an obscure writer gives us a book which turns out to be a lot better than expected, the pleasure is laced with the extra tang of astonishment. This is what we get from the tales of roving Gerry “Catch ’em alive” Carlyle, the huntress in the misleadingly titled collection Interplanetary Hunter. Her vocation is to capture exotic alien creatures for the London Interplanetary Zoo, and this theme allows many attractive branchings.
Gerry herself is a likeable, headstrong character, living on her nerves, very capable, yet vulnerable to the threat of what she cannot afford – namely, defeat.
…This day was to be one of many surprises for Tommy Strike and perhaps the greatest shock of all came when he stood beside the sloping runway leading into the brightly lighted belly of the ship. For, awaiting him there, one hand outstretched and a cool little smile on her lips, stood the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
“Mr Strike,” said Barrows, “this is Miss Gerry Carlyle.”
The trader stared, thunderstruck. In those days of advanced plastic surgery, feminine beauty wasn’t rare but even Strike’s unpracticed eye knew that here was the real thing. No synthetic blonde baby-doll here but a natural beauty untouched by the surgeon’s knife – spun-gold hair, intelligence lighting dark eyes, a hint of passion and temper in the curve of the mouth and arch of nostrils…
But Miss Carlyle’s voice was an ice-water jet to remind the trader of earthside manners.
“You don’t seem enthusiastic over meeting your temporary employer, Mr Strike…”
Stid: Old-fashioned stereotype here, eh? Wilful female eventually tamed by male who knows best…
Zendexor: I’d say, as a matter of fact, that the relationship between hero and heroine is particularly well handled. In action-adventure you don’t want anything too subtle, but let me summarize the writer’s achievement in this regard, by saying that we end up by accepting both Tommy Strike and Gerry Carlyle as real people. The man is quietly competent and content to allow the woman the starring role. The woman lives on her nerves, under great pressure to succeed in a man’s world.
Stid: A “man’s world” – in the interplanetary age? There you have it.
Zendexor: You mean, it’s stereotypical because it’s out of date? Don’t see why the one implies the other. Even if it did – every period of history generates its own rich crop of stereotypes, and isn’t it a relief to take a holiday from ours, once in a while? But this is a digression. Actually, stereotypophobes have nothing to fear from this book. As the two main characters grow to love and respect each other, the reader can share their mutual regard, as well as appreciating with zest the mutual double-crossing of the subsidiary characters, Van Zorn and Quade.
Harlei: It’s fiction, Stid, in case you hadn’t noticed. Pulp-era fiction. Explain to him what historical context means, Zendexor.
Zendexor: Yes, well, the stories are old-fashioned, no doubt about that. Arthur K Barnes wrote them in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But they still have the power to entertain us with the unexpected originality of their ideas, the fresh vigour of their old-fashioned characters, and above all the inventiveness of their portrayal of alien creatures.
Cross the colour and thought-provoking variety of Weinbaum‘s interplanetary adventures with the frontier wonderment of Campbell’s Penton and Blake saga, and you might get some idea of what awaits you with Barnes’ series.
Though I hasten to add that Barnes writes much, much better than Campbell. Only in the realm of ideas, of pure concepts, may Campbell equal him; but I hesitate even to say this. And it is Barnes who is by far the better at world-building.
…She sniffed noting what all newcomers to Venus learn. Although the view is a drab almost colorless one, an incredible multiplicity of odors assails the nostrils – sweet, sharp, musklike, pungent, spicy, with many unfamiliar olfactory sensations to boot.
Strike explained. On Earth flowering plants are fertilized by the passage of insects from one bloom to another, they develop petals of vivid colors to attract bees and butterflies and other insects. But on Venus, where perpetual mist renders impotent any appeal to sight, plants have adapted themselves to appeal to the sense of smell, therefore give off all sorts of enticing odors…
Such passages help promise the reader, that the story will rest upon logical foundations. So, when the heroine faces a mighty challenge, the reader is reassured that the author won’t cheat – that it won’t all be fixed by some lazy trick.
The challenge, in the Venus story, is provided by the ‘Murris’.
…Gerry Carlyle’s temper flared.
“What is the mystery about this Murri, anyhow? Everywhere I go, on Venus, back on Earth among members of my own profession, if the word Murri is mentioned everyone scowls and tries to change the subject. Why?”
No one answered. The Carlyle party shifted uneasily, their boots making shucking sounds. Presently Strike offered, “The fact is, you’ll never take back a Murri alive. But you wouldn’t believe me if I told you the reason, Miss Carlyle. I – ”
“Why not? What’s the matter with them? Is their presence fatal to a human in some way?”
“Are they so rare or shy they can’t be found?”
“No, I think I can find you some before you take off.”
“Then are they so delicate they can’t stand the trip? If so, I can tell you we’ve done everything to make hold number three an exact duplicate of living conditions here.”
“No, it isn’t that either,” the trader sighed.
“Then what is it?” she cried. “Why all the evasions and secretive looks?…”
I certainly didn’t guess the mystery. This author, in my view, really does deliver the goods. The stories – all of them – are unpredictable yet always manage to make their own kind of sense. We’re taken to several varied worlds: Venus, Amalthea, Triton, a comet, Saturn and Titan. Each time we’re given a starkly different kind of native life, with biological inventiveness to match that of Stanley G Weinbaum.
Harlei: Just a moment, Zendexor – you’ve said some good things about the book but I want you to praise it some more, in a different way. I’m a bit worried that some prospective readers might get the wrong impression from what you’ve said so far. I can imagine some of them thinking: well, maybe the stories are colourful and inventive, but still, they’re likely to be a bit repetitive, if each and every one of them is mainly concerned with the heroine capturing some difficult beast… I mean to say, if that’s the only structure the stories have –more stuff to come, apparently
Zendexor: I get the point. But – no need to worry: Gerry’s plans run into plenty of other problems. It’s not just about catching beasts! There are alien intelligences too. Not that she is out to ensnare intelligent species, of course, but, unsuspecting, she meets some nonetheless, on Titan and on Almussen’s Comet. Also, the plot can hinge upon hostile action by her human enemies, for she has plenty of trouble from her own species, and these crises mingle with the simultaneous dangers from alien beasts and environments. Think of what happens on Triton and on Jupiter Five.
Stid: So, you’re giving it all the thumbs-up.
Zendexor: Look, such tales have the virtues and limitations of frontier adventures. They won’t give you what you get from Burroughs, Hamilton, Brackett, or from Clark Ashton Smith in The Immortals of Mercury and Vulthoom, namely the thrill of wandering among the ancient mysteries of exotic civilizations. Nevertheless if you follow Gerry and her “Ark” you will get the thrill of discovery, like in Smith’s other interplanetary masterpiece, The Immeasurable Horror. Although one must admit that Barnes is not a match for Smith stylistically, he’s still good enough, and his achievement will be appreciated by old-style OSS fans.
To sum up, this book is much, much better than it looks. And the Emshwiller illustrations are a delightful bonus. I have given only the Venus ones on this page; there are many more from the other worlds visited in the stories.
Arthur K Barnes, Interplanetary Hunter (1956).
See the Amalthea page for the visit to that moon, including a reference to the fearsome Cacus.
See the Triton page for the adventure set on that moon.