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Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (Bison Frontiers of Imagination) Paperback – April 1, 2006
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This book summarizes the adventures of Tarzan as relayed by Burroughs while placing them in an historical context, treating the ape-man as a real character and writing the definitive biography of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, AKA Tarzan.
But Farmer does much more: this book is the starting point of the Wold-Newton Universe (WNU), a fascinating pulp fiction concept that interweave the classic characters of yesteryear into one shared reality, much like the 'universes' of major comic book companies. Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, Captain Nemo, Conan the Barbarian and the Cthulhu Mythos all come together under the ever-widening umbrella of the WNU. As such, 'Tarzan Alive' is a must read not only for Tarzan fans, but for lovers of pulp fiction and classic characters of every stripe. Highly recommended.
This is truly the definitive edition of TARZAN ALIVE, and Bison Books has wisely added a number of extras that will make this edition worth owning even if one already has a Doubleday, Popular Library, or Playboy Paperbacks copy of the book. Collected here, but missing from the older versions of the book, are two gems: 1) "Extracts from the Memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke' (previously only available in the hard-to-find anthology MOTHER WAS A LOVELY BEAST); and 2) "Tarzan Lives: An Exclusive Interview with the Eighth Duke of Greystoke" (in which Farmer himself interviews the Jungle Lord). Further, the Bison Books edition includes an insightful new foreword by Win Scott Eckert (editor of MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER'S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE), which places TARZAN ALIVE in the context of "Sherlockian biographical scholarship," showing how Farmer's book is truly exemplary (and also transcendent) in the field of fictional biography. This is followed by a new introduction by science fiction author Mike Resnick discussing Farmer's other Tarzan pastiches.
The book itself is a compelling read. Farmer treats the subject of his "biography" as a living person about whom Edgar Rice Burroughs chronicled in fictionalized form. This livens up what otherwise would be a dry summary of ERB's Tarzan series, as Farmer often interjects with persuasive comments, conjectures, and elaborations in the brilliant style that is unique to him. In TARZAN ALIVE, Farmer breathes new life into the legend of Tarzan, all out of a respectful love for the character which pours from every word on every page of this delightfully wonderful work.
Still, recommended for any Farmer, Burroughs, or Tarzan fan.