the November, 1955 issue of Other Worlds, publisher-editor Ray Palmer, who had
last Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars stories in Amazing stories when
he was its editor, trumpeted his intention of contacting the ERB estate and
seeking permission to have a suitable author continue the adventures of
Burroughs' famous character Tarzan as well as John Carter. The book Palmer
envisioned would ultimately be written by sf pulpster Stuart J. Byrne under the
John Bloodstone pseudonym he had used for his Burroughsesque novels, Last Days
of Thronas and the Michael Flannigan Trilogy. Palmer would title it, cannily
enough, Tarzan on Mars, which he was certain would arouse the interest of any
Burroughs fan, promising as it did to do the seemingly unthinkable and
impossible: cross his two most famous series and bring his two most famous
characters, the world-famous apeman and John Carter together into the action.
Palmer hoped to bring the enthusiasm of the author's legion of fans to bear on
the Burroughs family and leave them little choice but to agree with his
proposal. And Burroughs fans, at least those who read Palmer's magazine Other
Worlds, received the announcement with exactly the kind of excitement he envisioned,
as the letter columns soon showed. What follows is a representative selection
of the missives Palmer received, with his responses signed with his nickname,
Rap. In addition to revealing the enthusiasm for the project, these letters
also reveal a great deal about the social and political landscape of the world,
and science fiction, at that time.
don't know when the November, 1955 issue of Other Worlds hit the
newsstands, but hope I am among the first to respond to your "Tarzan Never
Dies". editorial. Since I am out of the country most of the time I doubt
that I can be much help to your campaign with the Burroughs interests but I'm
your man! Because your plea comes from an obvious adherent of John Carter and
reflects my own feelings, I'm taking the liberty of telling you the following
little story which should please you:
am on home leave from foreign service with two weeks to go. Every two or three
years during such leaves rereading various items in my Burroughs collection is
one of my chosen relaxations from a demanding job—when I'm not wandering the
wooded hills of Vermont. This time I worked backwards thru the Mars stories
having read the first ones so many times. I got to thinking what a shame it is
that there will be no more additions to the map of Barsoom I made years ago
while convalescing from a severe illness.
Then I looked at the excerpt from Amazing
Stories, February, 1943, containing
"Skeleton Men of Jupiter" and
decided to write the editor to ask him to confirm 1) that the "new
series" referred to on page 6 was never continued because of the untimely
death of the author and 2) to ask if anyone else is now writing in the same
vein and if so who and where. The only one in the past to my knowledge was Otis
Kline (also dead)—not a close second but a second.
two of this little drama finds me in the local magazine emporium looking at sf
magazines but with little enthusiasm, since post-war trends don't "send
me" as they say. My eye was caught by a cover—poorly reproduced but not so
bad but what I recognized old friend J. Allen St. John's handiwork. I said to
myself, that requires a closer look, and there was your title "Tarzan
Never Dies", so I bought a copy, learned you are the man I should write to
ask the above questions. I also was delighted to learn that someone in the
business was moving in a direction which revives a long lost hope of my own.
Here endeth my little story with the hope that your efforts will meet with
every success and result in many more stories of adventure in Burroughsland—particularly
Mars and Tarzan's country. Zane Grey, the Oz stories, Bulldog Drummond and many
others did not die with their creators and I doubt that any of these had as
many followers as John Carter and Tarzan.
have often wondered about Kar Komak and also have always thought that doughty
Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol deserved a story after nobly renouncing' his claims
to Thuvia. Speaking of Jupiter reminds me of several unanswered riddles to
whit: John Carter and Dejah Thoris were not reunited at the end of the story
which also left Barsoom under the threat of invasion from the Morgors. As you
point out, the possibilities are legion.
carries on might be interested in the results of my mapping which reveal that
unexploited territories of considerable extent, on a flat plane basis, exist in
the northern hemisphere from 60 degrees north latitude to the Great Ice
Barrier; in the southern hemisphere from 60 degrees south latitude (except for
Tjanath and the Valley Hohr) to the Otz Mountains and southern ice fields; the
western hemisphere is unknown from about 60 degrees west longitude to 180
degrees except for Toonol at 165' degrees west and thirty degrees north and
possibly Koal on the equator. The old master tripped over his geography once in
a while—re: Aanthor and Jahar and Lothar—but for the rest is pretty consistent.
gone on a bit beyond your request for a one-line indication of support but hope
this letter will encourage you. Incidentally, I've made a small copy of my map
to take with me to Beirut in case you succeed before I get back—a little
challenge for you!
J. Nevins Beirute
"new series" referred to was never continued because Burroughs went
abroad en a government assignment, and then because he died. Yes, somebody else
is writing in the same vein—John Bloodstone, who has done the magnificent novel
I'm trying to bring to you; and Howard Browne, who has penned several
"Tharn" stories, very similar to Tarzan, and also very good.
"Warrior of the Dawn" was the first, and it appeared in book form as
well as magazine. Browne is far better than Kline. Well, Kar Komak has put one
of those empty spots on your map into the "known" category, and we
sure hope you can add the details to your map before too long! To do it, we
need EVERY reader of Other Worlds to add his name to
my growing list. And to those doubting Thomases who think it can't be done,
they should read some of the letters we get! We'd say it's GOTTA be done! You
never saw such eagerness! Just recently, out of curiosity, we visited a very
large newsstand to find out just how much. good adventure fiction anywhere near
the calibre of Burroughs, etc, is available, and we were appalled. There ISN'T ANY!
* * *
fan letter. My god! Haven't done that since the 30's, with the exception of
want lists to FFM. Your new Other Worlds and the Tarzan plug prompted
me. Let's get oriented. In the lingo I'm a collector. Have 'em all with
exception of Weird Tales No. 1, Thrill Book and the like. Read avidly in
the old Argosy, S&I, early
Gernsback, a member of the ISA (1931-32). Have read only sporadically since
then—sf, that is. Still prefer sf to other literature, but would rather forego
it than to do without, say something like Jas. Aldridge's Diplomat, Heroes
of the Empty View, Gwyn Thomas' World Cannot Hear You, B. Traven,
the best of Howard Fast.
Currently my preferences
are Ray Bradbury, the Ballantine selections, and in the magazine field I
suppose it would be Boucher's F&SF as top dog, though I really don't know
since time does not permit me to do more than scan the lot. Time nor, I admit,
inclination. I wait for Conklin and the novels and anthologies that appear in
pocket book form. Jerry Sohl kept my interest. So did Wilson Tucker. David Duncan's
Beyond Eden, ChadOliver's,
Shadows in the Sun, Arthur C. Clarke's Earthlight—theseI found
stimulating and exciting. The birth of Science
Fiction Plus filled me with an old-time thrill. I did read most of the
stories and found them to my liking. Can't understand its short life.
dislikes are cold-war psychology, (John Wyndham's Out of the Deeps was
ruined by dragging this up incessantly.) ; variations on the "1984"
theme in which the author himself projects his own cynical, anti-humanitarian,
anti-scientific outlook into the framework of the story, (Hell's Pavement was
good extrapolation I felt, Gladiator-At-Law left a bad taste in my
mouth) ; finally prejudices against races, etc. (Whatever Reynolds and Brown's
intentions were, their Dark Interlude, in Frontiers is Space, isquestionable).
hell, I'm prejudiced also. I'm afraid Bill Hamling and I would not get along
nohow. He admires Joe McCarthy.
the above long dissertation on my likes and dislikes, but it should be
interesting for an editor to know how someone who grew up on science fiction and
Tarzan stands today. You see, Ray, I also knew Tarzan lived and John
Carter's Barsoom was as real as Market St. and more vivid.
faults were numerous. Everybody knows them (What fate is worse than death? I'd
like to know. Certainly, not what Edgar Rice had in mind!) His big failing was
picking up the current prejudices and exploiting them. His last Tarzan and
the Foreign Legion is typical of Burroughs' mind, in his references to the
Japanese. O. K., it was written in war time. I still say it was a poor swan
song for Lord Greystoke. Or go back to the original book and his caricature of
Esmeralda—the stereotype Negro servant.
you're right that no one could surpass Burroughs in making other worlds live.
This is undeniable—at least to those of us who have experienced them. If this
author of yours can give us Burroughs magic without Burroughs' prejudices and
faults, then I say, go to it. You have my support.
know, I never particularly admired OW, but maybe you'll make the grade. I admit
I'm wary of your [new magazine] Mystic. I don't understand all your mental
gyrations, admire some of your stands, am fascinated by your editorials. You
know what? I think I'll wish you luck with the NEW OW. O.K.? Must go. My
daughter's calling to finish Glinda of Oz.
such an old timer, maybe you'll understand what's happening to Ray Palmer these
days. And, of course, to OTHER WORLDS. We've gotten all wound up, and we're
going to make the biggest impression on science fiction we've made yet, and we
hope, the best. We have long-range plans, and also results already in sight. By
this time next year, we predict there'll be a bit of excitement in the ranks of
the readers of science fiction, and a brand new look that will settle for once
and for all just where science fiction is going. You say a lot
of things I agree with—and when I'm through, I expect you'll place your
preference for science fiction before Aldridge, Thomas, Traven and Fast. You
see, I have the firm conviction that science fiction has to be that good—and
I'm going to make it so, or fry every author in peanut oil and feed them to the
banths! As for Bloodstone avoiding the Burroughs prejudices, he does!
* * *
is my dime for your Tarzan On Mars project. I can contribute more if'
needed, not so much because I think this novel may be what you say it is, but 1
because I admire your sheer guts and because, when I was a child and an adolescent
I shared your attitude towards Tarzan, John Carter, David Innes, Julian, and
the rest of that adventurous company. But I'm flabbergasted at your statement
that Annas, Byrne, Shaver, etc., are such great writers, especially 1 when you
admit you furnished them with so many of their plots and elsewhere have stated
that you had to re-write much of their stuff. These boys are imitators of Burroughs,
and not very good at it. Burroughs himself was a superb story-teller, but even
one who loved him as much as I did can easily see his faults and terrible
inadequacies in handling the English language, his ineptness at
characterization—with some minor exceptions—his monotonous use of cliches, his
unreal people, and so on down the line. Anybody whose aesthetic sense is even
slightly developed may see that. Nevertheless, I am grateful to him for the
golden happy hours I spent with him, and I am very curious to follow Tarzan all
the way to Mars. But if this is another hoax Ray, if this novel has been
written by you, I'm coming up all the way to Amherst, clad in my leopardskin,
and tearing you apart. It had better be what you say it is. In grade school my
nickname was Tarzan because I spent so much time in the trees playing at being
him. I'm thirty-eight now and haven't climbed a tree for a long time, but my
hands are still strong, and I can utter the victory cry over a dead profaner of
the blesser of my childhood.
words, from a writer as fine as you are, Phil, are music to my ears! We agree
that you write a polished story; but not that Burroughs did not (nor those
others you mentioned). A story that holds you fascinated in spite of the word
usage, is a STORY! And if it does that, it doesn't matter a tinker's damn how
well written it is. As an editor, I've rewritten, yes (EVEN BURROUGHS), but
sometimes I think I didn't help any. No, this isn't a hoax. This is just the
most wonderful adventure of Tarzan and John Carter I've ever read, and I
"swang" through those same trees! As for being written by
me ‑ let's get this straight—I just ain't capable of anything near as
good as Burroughs, and I'm the first guy to admit it. Annas, Byrne and Shaver
are just beginning—so let's leave their final ranking up to future history, eh?
* * *
reading science fiction since before Amazing
Stories was born when Gernsback found that the boys were buying Science and Invention just to read the
stories in it.
you remember "Dr. Hackensaw's Secrets", and "Around the
Universe"? Read almost every issue of Amazing until
it went to pot a couple of years ago and has not been worth reading since.
Subscribe to four SF mags, and usually find at least one story in yours that is
superior to all the rest each issue. Going to remain on your subscription list
as long as we last.
that idea of yours to keep alive Ed Burroughs characters, and I will certainly
take your word when you say you have found a writer good enough to do the job
properly. Thought a lot of old Ed both as an author and friend. Knew him when
he lived in Waikiki at the Niumalu Hotel, and later when he flew with me when I
dropped bombs on Jaluit and Ailingalap from a B-24—he was representing the Los
Angeles Times as war correspondent. After observing him under Jap
ack-ack fire, I could see why he was so well qualified to write about guts and
courage. He had plenty himself.
wrote a letter to a magazine editor before, probably never will again. Simply
had to join your campaign to keep Burroughs characters rolling, though, so had
to write something to wrap my dime in.
case you publish this, I want to go on record to certify that in my opinion a
chap named Ray Palmer has done more constructive and intelligent work in the
field of science fiction, both as a writer and editor, than anyone else. After
reading, observing, and enjoying it for nearly 35 years, I am grateful. Thank
you, Mr. Ray Palmer.
R. Franklin Lt. Col. USAF Retired,
letter telling about Burroughs' wartime experiences is vastly interesting to
us. We had our series in Amazing
Stories interrupted by that very jaunt, and we certainly regretted it.
Thanks for your kind words—and we hope we can continue to live up to them!
* * *
only reason that I picked up the November issue of OW was the word
"Tarzan" on the cover. Really, Ray, I'd like to read this new novel, but can you picture Tarzan on
Mars? That stretches the old imagination a bit, don't you think? I've read
about all of ERB's books and the idea is way off base, to my way of thinking.
say that the Burroughs' interests want to let all the characters die, well
then, how come one sees Tarzan and John Carter in the comic books on the stands
and in the newspapers? This does not speed up the process of dying a bit. How
this story and author is so red-hot you could publish it with different names.
There's nothing wrong with copying Burroughs' style, characters and ideas;
witness the rash of Ki-Gor, Kaanga and assorted Jungle Lords in the magazines
for the past ten years.
House published "Ki-Gor" in Jungle Stories for years and as
far as I know, no law suit from anyone. I guess this magazine has folded now
and the way could be open for you to take over and if these stories are any
good, you could make yourself a mint, boy. Especially if you could get St. John
the way, what's the chances of purchasing a St. John original for my study?
for your "crusade", even though I can't see it myself, I'll send
loads of letters to the Burroughs' interests for you when you give the word.
That's the least I can do for you in return for the many hours of reading and
relaxing in Amazing Stories since
1938. I got sick and tired of the tripe in 1949 and still look back at the
early forties as the "Golden Years".
always liked your "personal" interest in your magazines and feel that
this is a big selling point. It's something the other mags lack. As
a bit of idle speculation, I
wonder if your new author is "John
Bloodstone" who you heralded as "the logical successor to
Burroughs" when his "Last Days of Thronas" appeared? Or' maybe
the guy who used to publish the Burroughs Bulletin? Oh well, we'll soon see.
Rap, I'm with you, and here's hoping that you get back on your feet financially
and stop reprinting illustrations and covers from a few years back, and by the
way, give Hal Annas back to the Indians. Bring back the Science Fiction and
Fantasy I like and you'll be sure of selling at least one copy a month.
raised a vital point. And as Ray Palmer, I find myself agreeing with you 100%.
No, I couldn't picture Tarzan on Mars. And maybe I've misled everybody,
because actually, this isn't Tarzan on Mars—this is
JOHN CARTER. By this I mean that as far as science fiction goes, John Carter IS
science fiction; while Tarzan is not. Thus, I myself could never picture Tarzan
on Mars—until John Bloodstone. did it for me. Fred, Tarzan is no longer the
ape-man, the Ki-Gor type, but a "character" like John Carter, as
wonderful as he can be! I could not believe my eyes, as I read the story ...
but THIS is the Tarzan that he was in his early days, only many times better.
publishing Burroughs' material in OTHER WORLDS, we promise you that we intend
to publish science fiction. Real science fiction. This novel should be
described as another of the Mars series, rather than another of the Tarzan
series. It is definitely not a Taman story. If you line up the books in two
categories, there can be no hesitation in putting it in the category labeled
"John Carter." Thus, I admit, perhaps I've misled many. I myself did
not like many of the Tarzan books, and was disappointed in my hero in his
antics in them. But THIS Tarzan I like! He's terrific, and he FITS on Mars like
we can get St. John to illustrate. In fact, we wouldn't think of anything else!
* * *
few months back I didn't share your belief that sf needs the adventure type of
story to make a comeback. I didn't understand why everyone said that sf was
beginning to stink. I didn't understand because I was a newcomer to the field
and I thought every story was simply terrific! But soon I found out that the
same type of story was printed in Galaxy and Astounding month
went downtown and bought up some back-issues. Most of these were Palmer mags.
The first story I read was a 45,000 worder, "The Last Days Of
Thronas" by John Bloodstone. I read it through and I was completely fascinated. The same goes for "The Land Beyond The Lens", and a host of others. I had
that "sense of wonder" when I read those stories. So, I made up my
mind: I'm with Palmer.
FuturesPast Editions is so excited to the only publisher of the work of the late pulp science fiction author Stuart J. Byrne authorized by his estate, and to finally bring his entire Star Man saga into print for ebook readers at last - especially books 7-11 which have been out of print for more than a decade, and the never-before published 12th volume - that we want everyone to read this masterful fusion of space opera, metaphysics and just plain fun!.
So we are giving away an ebook edition of the first two books in the series, Supermen of Alpha and Time Window free in a special 2 in 1 omnibus.
Byrne wrote The Star Man saga when the last U.S. publisher of the Perry Rhodan series lost the license to translate any further Rhodan books. Asked to come up with something that would appeal to the same audience, went back to a pulp novel he had written in the mid-1950s and retooled it as an unfolding tale of cosmic adventure seemingly without end.
Below is how the author described the Star Man series when it was later sold to Dell Publishing's Dell Paperback division:
from story material preceding Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Deepspace
9, and Babylon 5, the Star Man saga reaches beyond them in terms of unlimited concept,
scope, and characterization — the kind of old time vicarious reading adventure that
In the far
future, the trinary star system of Alpha Centauri is Man's new frontier and threshold
to the galaxy. But the tri-planet dictatorship of Sol (Earth, Mars, Venus) triggers
an interstellar revolution. The Star Man, Steve Germaine, becomes the catalyst:
the Alpha uprisings, the mutinous star trip to Sol, capturing a prize of war, raiding
the cosmium vaults of Martanium on Mars, riding a comet to Luna (our moon) and blasting
the Empire Fleet, raising a second front on Venus (while enslaved), finding the
lost mutant labs of the 23rd century "Magicians" (mutants), using their
science to create a cosmium-powered inversion-drive star ship, then becoming lost
in a negative universe and discovering the awesome Nebula Worlds, only to fall into
a time trap, etc.
What of the
cosmic secret of the Quasar Crystals, of the Era Unspoken, the Star Warden guidance
of the Lords of the Nebula? Meet "Si" the human cyborg . . . Alphie, the
batrachian mascot creature with a child mind and super I.Q. . . and great Karmax,
the "Minotaur" wizard-creator of the Temonoids (one step beyond androids)
with his destiny-warping super-cosmic quest. Who are the sacred ZRAAL, the oldest
star race? WE are! Earth is merely a time-lost pocket colony of the ancient Zraal;
Germaine is the mutant key to our new stellar emergence, aided by superhumans whose task is to
prepare ALL worlds for the coming threat of the Kosmikons. (This is a Unisol word
for Cosmi-Khans, Dark Force hordes from Beyond.) Hence the Star Wardens' secret
communications via the Quasar Crystals, to those who are "ready" to understand.
On the personal
side, Star Man's perennial enemy is Vincent Cardwell, nefarious empire builder..
The mysterious woman between them is the beautiful mutant, Anne Cardwell, who bears
a mutant son. Actually there are twins, one of whom is a negative personality, kidnaped
by Cardwell and groomed for becoming Sol's first emperor. The indestructible Emperor
becomes a nemesis to both Cardwell AND Germaine. Through a stolen Quasar Crystal,
he contacts alien agencies of the dreaded
The Star Man
series is never-ending in its wide-ranging expansions and thought-variant scope.
Alien worlds and civilizations, negative and alternate-time universes, cosmic purposes,