Due to Ray Palmer's championing of the Shaver Mystery by printing it in Amazing Stories when he was editor, and his ballyhooing of several authors and stories in his publication, who did not quite live up to their billing (in the minds of some fans), skepticism, if not incredulity, was rife when he announced when he announced in the pages of his newest publication, Other Worlds, his determination to find a writer who could write in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs and seek the ERB estate's sanction to have him write authorized sequels to the Tarzan and John Carter of Barsoom stories. In part, Palmer felt confident he could do so, as he knew the Burroughs' heirs from the days in the 1940s when he had commissioned Burroughs to write what became the last ERB John Carter novel, Llana of Gathol, as well as new adventures of David Innis in Pelucidar and Carson Napier Venus.
Could anyone really emulate Burroughs' inimitable style? And who would the author be? Inquiring, and disbelieving, fans wanted to know. Some even believed, based on the quality of Palmer's own homage to Tarzan, the Toka, King of the Dinosaurs series, that the author he had in mind was none other than himself!
To dispel all doubts, in the June 1956 Other Worlds Palmer let them in on his master plan in a double-barreled salvo that broke the news that the first such book, titled Tarzan on Mars, had already been written, and named the potential Burroughs successor, in a mini-editorial titled:
LET'S APPOINT A SUCCESSOR TO EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS
When the famous author of Tarzan, and John Carter of Mars, and all the other wonderful characters the whole world has come to know and love passed from this earthly scene, we lost more than we want to lose. Must these wonderful characters die too, because their creator is gone? Decidedly no! say thousands of Other Worlds readers. And now, something is being done about it—and you can take part!
Three things are necessary, to achieve the goal of this greatest of all science fiction fan projects: First, a writer who can recreate the wonderful realism of these historic characters. Second, the writing of these stories. Third, the permission and cooperation of the present owners of the copyright and title to the Edgar Rice Burroughs characters.
The first condition has been fulfilled in the person of John Bloodstone, whose wonderful stories have thrilled thousands, and whose life ambition is to fill the shoes of the writer he has admired and emulated since 1917. Here is a man whose already published works number in the millions of words, and whose ability is unquestioned.
The second condition also has been fulfilled. John Bloodstone, embarking on a labor of love, without thought of gain, certain that his only right is to write the story, then do nothing with it, hasEdgar Rice Burroughs. On the word of such renowned science fiction experts as Forrest J. Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, Everett E. Evans, and your own editor (to mention just a few), this is a sensational story, truly proof that John Bloodstone is the new Burroughs. Could any greater tribute to a great writer be paid than this tremendous effort on the part of John Bloodstone? No mere proposition here, but an established fact, a monumental work, a terrific novel!
The third condition seems to us to be the most simple of all. To appoint a legal successor to write more adventures of the greatest science fiction characters of all time is but a reasonable reaction to the heartfelt wishes of many, many thousands of readers, who pledge their perpetual loyalty. The demand exists, as this magazine is ready to prove. Your editor hereby humbly requests that the Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., of Tarzana, California, appoint John Bloodstone to write more stories in the Burroughs tradition, and that they begin by authorizing the publication of Tarzan on Mars.
Let's Bring John Carter Back To Life!
Write Today To Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Tarzana, California
And say: Appoint John Bloodstone to be legal successor to Edgar Rice Burroughs!
(While Palmer, for whatever reason, withheld the moniker of the author behind the John Bloodstone pseudonym, it had already become widely known in science fiction fandom, at least, that John Bloodstone, who had written feature novels for Amazing Stories and Other Worlds itself, particularly Last Days of Thronas and the Michael Flannigan Trilogy, was none other than pulp magazine veteran Stuart J. Byrne.)
Next in our recounting of this fannish cause celebre, fandom's response from the letter columns of Other Worlds.
You can see free for yourself whether Byrne was a fitting successor to Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Visit our Stuart J. Byrne page - just click on The Land Beyond the Lens, the first volume in his Burroughs-inspired Michael Flannigan trilogy, select the Buy tab and it will take you to a location where you can download the book free for kindle or epub.