Dejah Thoris has been seriously injured in an accident. Only Ras Thavas the mastermind of Mars can save her. Carter with his personal guard Vor Daj set out to Thava’s compound in the Toonolian marshes. There they discover that Ras Thavas is a captive of his own creations the Homads. The Homads are synthetically cloned men that are seriously deformed. They force Thavas to build an army of Homads to conquer the world. They also force him to transplant their brains into the bodies of normal men.
Carter and Vor Daj conspire with Thavas to escape. Vor Daj convinces Thavas to transplant his brain into the body of a Hormad to spy on their captives. As a Homad named Tur-Don-Bar he falls in love with a slave girl named Janai. Fighting among the rulers separate Vor Daj from Carter and Thavas. The balance of the story involves Vor Daj’s adventures in rescuing Janai and trying to find Carter and Thavas to get his brain transplanted back into his body.
The ninth book in the Martian series is another weird adventure. A lot of weird science in this one. Still it has the classic trademarks of exotic lands, strange creatures and adventure that make this series an enjoyable read.
Dick and Doc are fourteen year old cousins born on the same day. One in England and the other in America. They both look alike so are called twins. When it is discovered that they are distantly related to Lord Greystoke otherwise known as Tarzan the two are called the Tarzan Twins.
When they are fourteen the two are invited to visit their relative Tarzan bungalow in Africa. While traveling in East Africa their train breaks down. Being teenage boys they wander off exploring and get lost. They get captured by a tribe and must use their own wits and cunning to escape.
This is technically not a Tarzan book. Tarzan only makes an appearance at the end and has nothing to do with the story. This was Burroughs attempt at writing a children’s book. There really is not much to the story. I don’t even think children would find it that exciting. Unless your a Burroughs completest like me I’d pass on this book.
The city of Zodanga is a hotbed of sedition for the Helium empire. The Guild of Assassins is growing in strength and John Carter is determined to wipe them out. He disguises himself as a wandering adventurer named Vandor and heads to the city. There he meets Rapas the Ulsio(rat) and finds service in the household of Fal Sivas. He is in competition with another scientist Gar Nul to create a synthetic brain to pilot a ship to Thuria(the nearer moon of Phobos).
Gar Nul is also head of the assassin’s guild and has kidnapped Dejah Thoris. He flees to Thuria and Carter must steal his employer’s ship to pursue. On Thuria Carter is captured by a race of blue haired people that have the power to mentally project themselves invisible. To escape Carter must join forces with his adversary and a cat man. Through heroic sacrifice and betrayal Carter and his friends manage to rescue Dejah Thoris and return to Barsoom.
The eight book in the series is the first since the third that John Carter is the main protagonist. It has intrigue and a whole new world to explore. I really enjoyed it. The book showed daily Martian society and showcased the dreaded Guild of Assassins which have been hinted at in previous books as the scourge of red Martian cities.
It is after World War II and there are two safari’s searching for the lost city of Ur. One is lead by an archeologist and his daughter. The other is made up of deserters from the French Foreign Legion. The deserters are able to overpower the safari lead by Dr. Eugene Hanson.
Luckily Tarzan is back after his service in the RAF. He manages to safeguard the Hansen safari and the survivors reach Ur. There they are captured and Tarzan must battle a giant preying Mantis. Tarzan ends up trapped in the lair of the mantis who is hinted as coming from Pellucidar. Tarzan decides to follow the tunnel down to the earth’s core and leave the modern world.
Burroughs did leave an unfinished manuscript at the time of his death. Back in 1995 Dark Horse Comics with permission from the Burroughs estate contracted Joe Landsdale to complete the novel. It was serialized in four parts with an old John Carter strip done by Burroughs grandson and some articles.
I remember being real excited at the prospect of a new Tarzan story. While the story was good it just wasn’t what I was hoping for. I guess I was expecting something a lot more exciting. I also didn’t care for the ending. It didn’t seem like the right ending for Tarzan’s final story. Below is a link to the changes by Lansdale. http://www.erblist.com/erblist/tzlostsum2.html
My final thoughts on the Tarzan series. Tarzan is obviously Burrough’s most famous creation. He’s one of a handful of characters like Superman or Sherlock Holmes that is recognized the world over. I was a fan as far back as I can remember. I loved watching the old Weismuller movies on a Saturday afternoon and eagerly looked forward to the comics written and drawn by Joe Kubert. Tarzan has lived on in countless books, movies, comics, a Saturday morning cartoon, several TV series and a Disney movie. Tarzan will live on far after my life has ended.
It has been a year since Godzilla’s epic battle with King Ghidorah. The U.S. and most of the world is in a deep recession due to the monsters destruction. The INN news network is sponsoring a scientific expedition to Antarctica. The Destiny Explorer is a thirty foot long dirigible that will have the best and brightest teenagers in the field of science.
At this time a mysterious hole opens in the Antarctic and the worlds communications are knocked out. Monsters start causing a reign of destruction. Gigan destroys satellites and lands at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Megalon and Battra rampage through South America. Manda attacks Shanghai and Hedorah Osaka.
Luckily for the Earth they have their own defenders. Godzilla with Anguirus, Mothra, and Rodan fight back. The Destiny Explorer rescues some Army Rangers in Lima and heads off for the Antarctic. There they find a deranged teenage girl using technology of an ancient civilization for revenge on the world. The timely arrival of Godzilla and his battle with Biollante saves the world.
The third book in the series is another exciting read. Godzilla is back and once again the good guy. New monsters and a lost civilization of crystalline beings make this book a fun read. Marc Cerasini really shows his knowledge of the Godzilla universe and combines it with his knowledge of geography and military hardware.
Jason Gridley is able to establish radio contact with Mars. Ulysses Paxton is the Earthman that they find to reply. He proceeds to tell the story of Tan Hadron a Padwar in the navy of Helium.
Tan Hadron is a lowly Padwar(lieutenant) in the Helium navy. He comes from a poor but proud family. Because he has some minor family connections to royalty he gets routinely invited to parties. At one he falls madly in love with Sanoma Tora from a wealthy family. Sanoma is beautiful but incredibly vain and shallow. She wants nothing to do with a lowly Padwar.
Sanoma’s beauty does attract the attention of Tul Axtar the mad Jeddak of Jahar. Tul Axtar has grandiose plans to conquer all of Barsoom and is assembling an army. He also has developed a secret weapon on immense destructive power. His agents kidnap Sanoma for his large harem. Tan sets off the rescue Sanoma. Along the way he ends up rescuing a girl from savage green men. He finds out that Tavia has escaped from Tul Axtar’s harem and agrees to help Tan.
Tavia is sort of a tomboy. She is witty, intelligent and good with a sword. What follows is an incredible adventure. The two encounter incredible beasts, savage peoples and a mad scientist. After rescuing Sanoma Tan starts to have serious doubts of his love. Sanoma’s shallow and cowardly personality begin to get on his nerves. It is dealt a serious blow when Sanoma betrays him to save her own life. Tan Hadron finally realizes that Tavia is his true love. After defeating Tul Axtar he proclaims his love and finds out in the end that Tavia is actually a princess. Because in Burrough’s books you can’t fall in love with an ordinary woman.
The seventh book in the Martian series is one of the best since the first three books. It goes back to the sense of wonder and swashbuckling adventure that I always associate with this series. There are strange beast, exotic peoples and strange science and an equally stranger scientist. Throw in a mad ruler hell bound on conquest and you have the makings of an excellent adventure.
Tavia is actually an atypical heroine for Burroughs. Mostly the women in the stories exist to look pretty and be rescued. Tavia is witty, self-sufficient and can handle a sword. The story does have elements of an 80’s teen comedy. You have the handsome man madly in love with the popular girl. But later he discovers he really loves the awkward geeky girl that at the end is revealed to be both beautiful on the inside as well as outside. Yep Burroughs was decades ahead of his time.
Tarzan is captured by poachers. An injury robs him of speech and the poacher sells Tarzan with the animals. Krause the buyer plans to take him to America and exhibit Tarzan as a wild man in the circus. Somewhere in the south Pacific the crew mutinies and during a storm Tarzan escapes. The storm grounds the ship on a reef off an uncharted island.
After freeing the animals Tarzan exiles the mutineers and explores the island. He finds a lost civilization of Mayans. Captured he escapes the sacrificial altar and with the help of his elephant and orangutan friends convince the Mayans he is a god.
Tarzan and the Champion
“One Punch” Mulligan has just won the world’s heavyweight championship. He decides to take a trip to Africa. Mulligan is arrogant and a bully thinking his great size and strength will allow him to get away with anything. Armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun he drives around in a jeep machine gunning herds of zebra and elephants.
This disgusts Tarzan and he confronts Mulligan. Before the two can settle it a savage tribe captures them. After they escape Tarzan teaches Mulligan a lesson in humility and who the real world champion is.
Tarzan and the Jungle Murders
Two men murder a scientist and steal plans for a device that can knock out internal combustion engines. They plan to sell it to Italy. The plans are in turn stolen by a British agent and he takes off for Cape Town. The two pursue in a plane and a gun battle forces both down in the jungle.
Tarzan discovers both planes and tracks the survivors to a safari. Two of the survivors are found murdered and suspicion falls on Tarzan. Tarzan uses his jungle craft to expose the real killer.
The Castaways was a good solid story. It takes Tarzan out of Africa to find a new civilization in the pacific. It had an interesting setup and supporting characters.
The Champion was a very good short story. Mulligan was a villain that you just wanted to get what was coming to him.
The Jungle Murders was my least favorite. It was dull and predictable. It was also very short so it had something good about it.
This was the Twenty-fourth book in the series. It was published after Burroughs death using three short stories that were published previously in a magazine. This is the last book that was fully written by Burroughs. It used to be the last Tarzan book until the 1990’s which I will explore in a future post.
Ulysses Paxton is a captain in the American Expeditionary Force in 1918. During an artillery attack on the western front Ulysses body is torn in two. Instead of dying he is mysteriously transported to Mars just like John Carter. He ends up in the compound of Ras Thavas.
Ras Thavas is the most brilliant scientist on Mars. He is also completely amoral. He spends a lot of time transplanting brains from humans to animals and vise versa. He has a lucrative side business of transplanting brains from old and damaged bodies into young and health ones. One such victim is Valla Dias.
Ulysses becomes Ras Thavas’s assistant and learns his secrets. While in his employ he strikes up a friend ship with Valla Dia. The friendship soon turns to love and Ulysses vows to return her young body back to her. That body now belongs to Xaxa the Jeddara of the powerful city of Phundahl. Now Ulysses must escape from Ras Thavas, infiltrate Phundahl and bring back Xaxa alive to perform the surgery.
The sixth book in the Martian series is another exciting book. It has excitement, romance and adventure that you would expect in a Burrough’s story.
The drums sound out a message across the jungle. Tarzan has become an enemy stealing young women from their tribe. A young English woman who is the daughter of a millionaire has also been kidnapped. The millionaire has offered a huge reward for the capture of Tarzan and the return of his daughter.
Tarzan is not responsible but real pissed that an imposter is ruining his reputation. So he embarks on a quest to bring to justice the imposter. He tracks him to a lost city of descendants of Portuguese explorers.
The twenty-third book in the series is OK. It was interesting but nothing really memorable. This story was found in Burroughs years after his death. Maybe he had plans to improve on it. If you read the first twenty-two you might as well read this one.
Tara the daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris is in a tantrum. She has been angered by Gahan the Jed of Gathol at her fathers party and decides to take a ride in her flyer. Soon after she takes off a large storm appears and blows her flyer to an unknown land. The land is ruled by the Kaldanes. The Kaldanes are heads without bodies. They use the Rykors which are bodies without heads in a symbiotic relationship.
Gahan meanwhile decides to set out after Tara. He dresses as a landless soldier of fortune and the storm that took Tara also deposits him in their land. After rescuing Tara with the help of Ghek the three get captured by the city of Manator. Tara like the beautiful women in all Burrough’s books has to put up with the unwanted attentions of the Jeddak of Manator.
Gahan is sentenced to fight in the city’s version of Jetan or Martian chess. Only this game of Jetan is played with real people in fights to the death. Gahan eventually escapes and rescues Tara from marriage and wins the fair Tara’s love.
The Fifth book in the Martian series is another exciting adventure. It has the trademark weird creatures and mysterious, exotic civilizations. I was a bit confused by Tara not recognizing Gahan when she just met him. Seemed just a little too farfetched to suspend disbelief. Otherwise it was a real exciting story.
Burroughs at the end included instructions to play Jetan. I thought it sounded like a fun game. Wikipedia has that a prisoner in Leavenworth in 1922 made a set and the game proved popular with the inmates.