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Good Effort, But Not Quite ERB
on January 20, 2004
I did not necessarily have high hopes for this book. As a pre-teen and teenager I was in love with the writing of Burroughs and Robert E. Howard, as well as their most famous characters, Tarzan and Conan, respectively. And I have had a lot of respect for the company controlling Burroughs's copyrights for not dumping a lot of Tarzan pastiches on the marketplace as has happened with Conan. But having watched hack after hack literally destroy Conan, my expectations for this book were fairly low.
Fortunately, I was somewhat surprised. While it definitely lacks Burroughs's tone in many places, it's relatively true to the original character. Lansdale appears to be a decent enough writer and I think he has a lot of respect for the Tarzan mythos. He wisely introduces one of my favorite characters into the storyline, Jad-Bal-Ja (the golden lion), but I ultimately wasn't overly impressed with what I considered the science fiction aspects of the story, e.g., the bug-like monster.
Not that Burroughs didn't frequently troll the waters of science fiction in Tarzan, it just seemed to lack a degree of originality. The downer ending was also something of an oddity. Admittedly, "Tarzan of the Apes," the one that started it all, had a downer ending, but for the most Burroughs generally wrapped up his Tarzan stories with a semblance of "everything is now right in the world." Okay, so maybe I'm being picky.
I do recommend this book. It is an entertaining read and is never boring. I guess anyone who tries to pick up where my favorite authors left off is usually going to face some negative criticism.