thing to say about Tam, Son of the Tiger, is that it doesn't waste
time. Within the first three pages, young Tam is abducted by a Tiger.
The next eighteen years whiz by in less than thirty-six pages.
Basically, the story is that a White Burmese or Bengal Tiger, named
Leang, is strolling around minding its own business when little Tam Evans,
mistaking it for a big kitty, comes along and starts harassing the poor
thing. Now normally, it would be lunch time, but in fact, this
Tiger was raised by a human so she's a lot more tolerant than she ought
to be, and a couple of her kittens have died, so she just up and adopts
the fearless little nipper.
Tam's somewhere between two and five years old I figure, he's old enough
to go toddling around and playing with balls and stuff, and he's got some
basic language skills, so he's not exactly a newborn raised from savagery,
he's got a head start. Anyway, along comes the next several years
of being raised on tiger milk and raw meat, and learning to be a tiger.
You would think that's the sort of thing that would screw a person up
pretty thoroughly, and in fact, Tam is growing up into a fine young headcase.
Then the guy who raised the Tiger in the first place, a wandering buddhist
monk, Lozong, shows up.
Lozong is actually a pretty interesting character. His family
was Tibetan, but had moved to Hanchow China when he was a boy. He
became a Christian and joined the YMCA, travelled to Japan, saved the descendant
of a Samurai and learned martial arts and swordsmanship. From there
he'd returned to Tibet and found his village slaughtered by Chinese soldiers.
He turned brigand and became the most ferocious bandit in the region.
Tiring of bloodshed at thirty, he entered a Lamasery and swiftly rose to
Abbot or Chief Lama. Then he simply decided to become a wandering
Monk, stopping to raise a tiger cub named Leang, and then continuing his
travels. When he encounters Tam's father, the group of Europeans
already know his name. He's famous throughout this part of Asia.
It's a hell of a life, and you sort of wish that Kline would have written
a book about him, rather than letting him sit as a supporting character.
After some awkward moments, where Tam tries to kill and eat him (well,
just kill him) the Monk begins the long process of humanizing Tam...
A process that includes teaching him not only half-remembered English,
but various languages, including ancient Sanskrit, as well as reading,
writing, in these languages, mathematics and geography, as well as martial
arts and swordsmanship. Talk about lucky breaks or what.
The bottom line is that Tam grows up to be a weird hermit of a young
man, but not a raving psycho loony. Well, not as much of a
raving psycho loony.
There is actually a partial literature on real feral children.
Kids who wind up adopted by or living with animals, usually dogs or wolves,
and who lose touch with humanity. Generally, its not a good thing,
kids need human contact growing up for proper stimulation, they go through
critical developmental stages psychologically, including language acquisition
and reasoning. If they don't get the right stimulation at the right
time, which normally comes from hanging with humans, the wiring doesn't
develop at all.
So instead of Tarzan, growing up as a sort of feral noble savage and
genius savant, teaching himself to read, and independently inventing an
inner life, most feral children wind up as severely damaged goods.
Hell, when you think of it, Tarzan was raised by near-hominid apes, so
he had a huge leg up, practically raised by humans, and even then, he possessed
an infrahuman quality. Although he fit easily into human culture,
he was an ape at heart.
On the other hand, Tigers aren't even close to human. Tam
should have grown up with severe malnutrition and a whole host of developmental
handicaps and rampaging psychosis. Hell, he should have simply been
To be fair, Tam wasn't exactly raised by tigers. It was
more like he spent a really really long vacation with them.
He fell in with them after he was running around a little and talking,
so he'd passed some critical physical and linguistic thresholds, and a
few years later he started hanging with a real human.
I don't even know why I'm taking this seriously.
But anyway, Tam grows up surprisingly normal. I'm not sure how
a human raised by tigers would think, psychologically. But
Tam seems all too normal, even levelheaded, where Tarzan really did have
a certain inhuman quality. So, on the whole, it doesn't really work.
It's just basically a piece of shtick, part of the whole ‘raised by animals’
Jungle man thing that was popular around this time.
But anyway, back to the ‘Plot’. One day, Tam is out searching
for his elephant, when he runs into a beautiful maiden.
Yeah I know, if I had a nickel for every time that happened to me.
Actually, he rescued her from a tiger. It turns out that
she's a half-goddess Princess, named Nina, from an underground kingdom
fleeing from her enemies who are out to conquer the surface world
Like I said, if I had a nickel for every time that happened to me.
It turns out that Tam is a figure of prophecy. What's the prophecy?
Beats me, it gets referred to several times through the book but nobody
actually gets around to mentioning what it was. Maybe Otis had a
sequel in mind. Tam's response is pretty interesting, actually
And this gentle reader, is the closest that the book ever gets to suggesting
that, just maybe, Tam's not quite the same as your average person in terms
of his mental layout.
“It's a secret, I should never have mentioned
“Never mind,” replied Tam, “I'll forget it.
Prophecies bore me anyhow. Tell me who you are and where you live.”
Things start to happen pretty fast after that: The bad guys,
who are pasty faced four-armed giants riding prehistoric monsters show
up and kick ass. Tam is knocked out for a day, wakes up and decides
that this is as close to getting laid as he ever got in his life, and starts
off in hot pursuit.
Okay, now flash back a bit, and we focus on some great white hunters
who are sitting on a hill watching a battle. Basically four-armed
pasty giants on prehistoric critters are fighting regular-sized white people
on mammoths. The battle goes badly for the little guys, and the princess....
Tam's princess, is forced to flee. Here's an amazing coincidence,
turns out that one of the great white hunters is Tam's long lost Dad.
Eventually, they head over to the battle site where they encounter a survivor,
and Tam's foster dad, the Monk.
Anyway, still in flashback, they find the site where Tam rescued the
Princess. Lozong shows up to explain things to them, and Mr.
Evans realizes that this is his long lost son. Then they all of them
head off in search of Tam, who himself is in hot pursuit of his girl, who
is herself in the possession of the bad guys.
Oh yeah, Tam's on his elephant, who's finally showed up, and Tam has
followed the four-armed critters into an underground world. And the
two tigers who are Tam's foster mom and brother, are accompanying the monk,
Lozong. So everyone is accounted for. With a cast like
that chasing after each other, you almost expect some Scooby Doo/Marx Brothers
antics, but that never quite materializes.
Tam follows the bad guys into a vast underground world, called Irimatri.
How vast? We'll get to that. He catches up with the bad guys,
rescues the Princess, but later gets captured. That's going to happen
a lot. Tam and the Princess Nina get taken to the city of the
bad guys, who are called the Saiva, worshippers of Siva or Shiva.
Tam gets sentenced to be eaten by a giant snail (I'm not making this up)
but escapes without too much trouble and rescues the Princess. They
head off into the woods where she's kidnapped by Monkey men. He rescues
her again. Tam winds up fighting a dinosaur, and Nina gets kidnapped
by dog-headed men. Tam encounters some red four-armed giants, who
are much friendlier, and rescues Nina once again. They all
head towards Nina's kingdom.
Meanwhile, Tam's real dad, foster dad, tigers and sundry wind up getting
captured and enslaved by blue four-armed giants who aren't actually evil,
but they just don't like all this traipsing around and want some peace
and quiet. They escape and head to Nina's kingdom as well.
Unfortunately, while Nina was gone, her evil uncle took over.
His evil scheme involves marrying her to his deformed mentally defective
son (or having her raped by a dog-headed man, he's pretty flexible) and
putting his own daughter on the throne. Luckily, Tam comes to the
rescue. You see a pattern? This girl is just high maintenance.
Anyway, there's a picturesque pilgrimage to the celestial home of the
gods, in which Tam encounters but doesn't do anything fun with Serpent
Men, and gigantic naked female black four armed followers of Kali.
It's worth mentioning that Jan in India encounters Kali worshippers and
a giant, black, female four-armed statue of Kali. Tam
gets to rescue Princess Nina a few more times. Then they all
live happily ever after, with Nina marrying her hero, which, considering
how accident prone she is, is probably a wise move. Let's face
it, this girl needs a big strapping jungle guy around to rescue her two
or three times a day.
So, how does it all stack up?
Not bad, but perhaps not too great. There's no shortage
of action and adventure, Tam hardly takes a breath, without getting into
mortal combat with Tigers, White Giants, Giant Snails, Monkey Men, Dog
Men, Dinosaurs and sundry other critters. And when Tam isn't
having a battle, then evil dudes are conspiring, his family is having a
battle, there's thrilling escapes and rescues. All the while
his girlfriend Nina is always getting into trouble. It's pretty
On the other hand, we don't get much of a sense of Tam, except that
he's earnest, plucky and very put upon, but he takes it all in good spirit.
Unlike Jan who comes across as a fully realized character, Tam is mostly
a cipher. The characterization for everyone except the Monk Lozong
is pretty thin. The romantic relationship with Nina is pretty undeveloped,
which makes sense because its pretty much happening during a book length
car chase scene, and we have to take it for granted.
One of the big drawbacks to the incredibly fast pace is that there's
very little time for Kline to develop this exotic world he creates.
As an example, towards the end we meet the Nagamanacs, or serpent men.
It's a brief encounter, which goes along the lines of:
“Hi, we're Serpent men.”
“Pleased to meet you.”
“Yeah, likewise. Oh well, be seeing you around.”
We don't actually learn any more than that. Instead, there's
a headlong rush of exotic details and events, which in the simple rush
of events, never quite gets developed.
This isn't to slag Kline, since he does put a lot of effort into describing
scenes and events, but all too often he just skims.
It might have been better if Tam stretched out across another twenty
or thirty thousand words, or perhaps spun off a sequel or two.
Certainly we could have stood to have the personality of a man who was
raised by Tigers fleshed out a bit more (or then again, that might not
have been a good idea). Or better yet, it would have been fascinating
to have gotten a better look into the lives of these four-armed giants.
But what the heck, it's a fun read, an exotic adventure and a nonstop
ride. Can we ask for anything more?
Four-Armed Giants, Children
Lupoff, in his book Edgar Rice Burroughs, Master of Adventure suggests
that the resemblance of the four-armed giants in Tam, Son of the Tiger
to the four-armed, giant Green Men of Mars may not be entirely coincidental.
The Tharks are a good collective name for the giants of Irimatri, who seem
to be far and away the dominant race of the underground world.
There are several individual varieties, the pasty white-skinned Saiva,
the red-skinned Brahm, the blue-skinned Vishnu and the black skinned Kali.
Out of nine known nations, the Tharks represent four, three more are non-Thark,
and two others, the peoples of Yama and Indra are unknown, but one or both
may be Thark.
So what do these ‘Thark’ of Irimatri look like. Well, they're
giants, standing eight to ten feet tall, with four arms. Habitually,
they ride baluchitherium or indricotherium, a species of extinct hornless
rhinoceros that was the largest mammal that ever lived. They
seem to be a fairly warlike race or races. Females are described
as slightly smaller than the males.
After that, the description gets a little fuzzy. Do they have
hair? Or are they bald? Do they have fangs? Red eyes?
Big ears or no ears? How are the females distinct from males,
besides size? We don't know. Kline describes
the Saiva as hideous in appearance, but does not go into specific details.
Interestingly, he does spare a paragraph:
“What surprised Tam the most was the
variety of monstrous forms which these people assumed. Some of them
had but one eye, placed just above the nose. Some had three and even
four eyes. And there did not seem to be any uniformity in the number
of limbs. The number of arms varied from two to eight, four being
the average, and some of them had as many as six legs. From
the uniform size of the soldiers and the fact that they were all four armed,
two legged and two eyed, Tam judged that the individuals who formed the
army were chosen from among those who had these particular qualifications.”
One would assume that the other colours of the Tharks bear the same tendency
As for the rest, we learn very little. They live in cities, their
cities sport a diversity of architectural styles, they work at a variety
of occupations and their individuals are as different as ours are.
We see some children, already larger than humans when half grown.
But we don't see infants and have no idea whether they give live birth
or lay eggs. Their religion seems to consist of worship of
patron gods with a dollop of reincarnation.
But here's a very interesting thing. On two occasions, they
refer to humans as ‘earthlings’:
“You know much for a modern earthling,”
said the girl finally. “I thought the world had forgotten Nina.”
That's pretty much a naked admission that they're not from around here.
Even back in the 1930s when this was written, pretty much nobody walked
around calling people Earthlings unless they happened to originate on another
planet. I would take this as a deliberate hint by Kline that
the four-armed giants are not native to earth.
“For the most part, the outer-earthlings have
forgotten the Gods..... What are you outer-earthlings doing
in Iramatri, and why were you trespassing on my lands? (Pp 116)
“Outer-earthling he is, but you miscall him weak,”
retorted the scientist. (Pp 117)
In which case, where are they from? Well, that's a mystery,
To be fair, Hindu mythology is full of multi-armed deities and demons.
So it's no question as to where Kline's real inspiration for these creatures
comes from. In his gods, in his monsters, in his exotic underground
world, he's drawing from the rich and vivid traditions of Hindu myth.
Traditions that, because they've been almost completely ignored in western
fantasy, reverberate with a rich and exotic strangeness.
But Kline at points appears to want to have it both ways. His Irimatri
is not completely defined by myth and folklore. Is this magic and
legend in the strangeness, or is there some science and super-science behind
His protagonists struggle to find a logical explanation for the light
within the cavern, and it's suggested that there is indeed one.
Most of the animals seen come, not from myth, but from prehistory.
Races like the Hanuman, Nacamanac and Zargr have their counterparts in
the races of Pal-Ul-Don and Pellucidar, notably the Don, the serpent-like
horribs Horribs and the bestial Sagoths. Nina wears what is apparently
an electronic device which amounts to a GPS locator for Irimatri, and there
are references to ‘terrible weapons’ stored away.
So, it seems that Kline is leaving himself the ‘out’ that Irimatri is
not a supernatural land, but the refuge of a prehistoric race or races
that once achieved levels of super-science unknown today. But obviously
the four-armed giants are pretty much incompatible with any vertebrate
evolution on Earth. So I think that Kline is acknowledging
that they must be from outer space.
Which takes us to... Barsoom? Not necessarily.
Four-armed alien races are not all that big a stretch, or unknown to pulp
science fiction writers, or even regular science fiction writers.
I believe that Isaac Asimov in some of his early stories included a race
of four-armed aliens. Except of course, that they're giants.
In particular, they're four-armed, equestrian, warrior, alien giants
riding around on monsters. That sounds a lot like Tharks.
Sort of inescapably like Tharks.
Of course, in the context of the story, they would have to be warriors.
And what with one thing and another, the fact that they're riding around
on big critters may not count for too much. What are they going to
Finally, as we'll see, Irimatri has strong overtones with Pellucidar,
and its bizarre mix of fauna. And many of the other races seem to
have their counterparts with Burroughs, all of which adds to the circumstantial
series of affinities.
Of course there are discrepancies. Kline's giants are on
the small side, but that might relate to Earth's heavier gravity.
And they don't seem to bear the Green Man's remarkable appearance, and
they're not green... On the other hand, the Siva are described as
‘horrible’ and Hindu statuary depict fangs, tusks, so they may be closer
than we think. Kline's giants may be ‘lost races’ of Thark,
now extinct or well hidden on Barsoom. Or perhaps they diverged
radically after they got to Earth. Our glimpse of civilian inhabitants
of the Saiva city suggest that there's a lot of radical mutation going
on, with eyes running from one to four, arms from two to eight and legs
up to six.
Interestingly, we have reason to believe that the Green Men of Barsoom
may be susceptible to rapid mutation or evolution. Basically,
they lay eggs, as many as thirteen a year, over an immensely long lifespan.
That's a lot of opportunities to play with the genetic lottery.
And Barsoomian life shows a lot of flexibility in the number of limbs,
and even with the eyes, as we see in the Apts and Masena Cat Men.
Indeed, there's a suggestion that Barsoomian species genetic coding
may include greater or fewer limbs. Generally, specific species on
Barsoom have fixed numbers of limbs, but that may simply be natural selection.
Barsoom's Calot has ten legs, but interestingly, on Thanator there is a
creature almost identical to the Calot, the Othode, with only six.
So perhaps evolution or natural selection for Barsoomian life can throw
in or subtract pairs of legs.
In any case, we might infer that the Irimatri population of giants is
extremely inbred, and may be popping out genetic defects or mutations at
a high rate. It's worth noting that the ‘two-legged, two- eyed,
four-armed’ variety seems to have a special social status.
The bottom line is that while there are other explanations for everything,
the sheer volume of similarities and correspondences with Burroughs' races
and worlds suggest that, while we can never be conclusive, we can form
a pretty reasonable judgment that the four-armed races of Kline's underworld
are descended from the four-armed races of Burroughs' Barsoom.
If we accept that Kline's worlds are contiguous with Burroughs, that
Kline's Mars and Venus are just different parts of Barsoom and Amtor, that
Irimatri is related to Pellucidar... Then I don't think we've got
any choice but to acknowledge the four-armed giants as long lost cousins
to the Tharks.
The Scenic Road to Barsoom
There is an indirect
theory that might allow us to get Kline's four-armed giants to Barsoom.
Bear with me. Most of the four-armed giants we see in Tam belong
to Brahm, Siva and Vishnu. But we do get a glimpse of black-skinned,
giant, four-armed amazons who serve Kali. Kali, or her people and
her cult, therefore, are real in Tam.
Now, if we look to Jan in India, the sequel to Jan of the
Jungle, Jan encounters a cult of Kali worshippers. He doesn't
encounter a four-armed giantess, but his girlfriend Ramona is shown a giant
statue, jet black, of a four-armed giantess and told that Kali really did
inhabit such a body. Well, this may be crazy religious talk.
Or it may be literal truth. Still, the fact that Jan
encounters the Kali cult allows us to infer that he may well be in the
same ‘universe’ or reality as Tam.
Indeed, there are other overlaps between Jan and Tam. In Jan,
the apes and monkeys have a non-human language. In Jan, this non-human
language is shared by semi-human ape men. Also in Jan, we have a
lost world of dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. So there
are definitely shared traits, which suggest that the two inhabit the same
Okay, looking to Jan of the Jungle, the first Jan story, Jan
encounters a lost world containing two civilizations. One of
these are the Lemurians who adopt Jan as their own. But the
other are a strange oriental race of yellow men who venerate feathered
serpents or dragons. Kline identifies these as Aztecs.
But their real origins seems to be more clearly oriental.
Now, this gets us into Kline's ‘Doctor Morgan’ universe, as identified
by J.G. Huckenpohlar. Huck notes that several of Kline's interplanetary
adventures: Outlaw of Mars, Swordsman of Mars, Planet
of Peril, Prince of Peril and Port of Peril, as well as the
story Vision of Venus, all feature a sort of ‘deus ex machina’ character
named Doctor Morgan. Kline's Martian adventures are so close to Barsoom
that the difference is barely worth counting. For more on this,
check out my other Kline articles.
In Swordsman of Mars, we encounter a yellow, oriental race called
the Ma Gongi, who are supposed to be from the moon, refugees from some
ancient war. The Ma Gongi appear in Maza of the Moon,
and Man in the Moon. Although Doctor Morgan doesn't appear
in these stories, they're clearly connected to Swordsman of Mars,
and therefore are part of the Doctor Morgan universe.
In Port of Peril, there's a yellow race on Venus called the Huitsen
who, although it's never explicitly stated, do appear to be derived from
the Ma Gongi. The Ma Gongi environment on the moon possesses
feathered serpents and creatures very much like Chinese dragons.
More particularly, the Ma Gongi in the Doctor Morgan universe founded the
oriental cultures of East Asia, as well as colonies on Mars and probably
So, if Jan of the Jungle features an anomalous oriental culture
impossibly in the middle of a lost world in South America which venerates
dragons and winged serpents, then I'm inclined to see this as another Ma
Gongi offshoot. Which would place Jan neatly in the Doctor
And Jan in India features a Kali cult, which connects Jan to
Tam, which suggests that Tam, Son of the Tiger is also in the Doctor
Morgan universe. Which features a Mars that bears a startling
resemblance to Barsoom, and indeed, fits quite neatly in with Barsoom.
Or at the very least, we now have the Doctor Morgan universe paralleling
Burroughs universe in so many particulars on Mars, Venus, Lost Worlds,
Jungle Men and Four-Armed giants, so similar in style, so frequently compared
by fans, that we might as well just call it a day and treat it all
as the same reality. It's like magnets, if they get close enough,
they just kind of jump together, you know what I mean? Or to put
it another way, if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and swims like
a duck, it's probably a duck. Or, a difference that makes no difference,
is no difference.
The Lost World of Irimatri
Worlds are not uncommon in the pulp universe of Edgar Rice Burroughs and
his colleagues. Tarzan was always stumbling across lost cities and
civilizations. Opar, Athne and Cathne, Xuja and so on.
It seems that some days, Tarzan couldn't throw a rock without braining
some unlucky member of a hidden lost race.
The most famous early Lost World, of course, was Arthur Conan Doyle's
‘Maple White Land’ named after its first, deceased discoverer, and rediscovered
by Professor Challenger in South America. It was a strange
land containing both true humans and ape-men, dinosaurs, pterodactyls and
prehistoric birds and mammals of different epochs and continents.
Doyle's lost world set the pattern for many that would come after.
Indeed, his novel was made into a stop motion animation feature at the
turn of the century, which directly inspired King Kong. Meanwhile, in literature,
Edgar Rice Burroughs was clearly inspired by Doyle's lost world, creating
his own, first in Caprona, in his Land that Time Forgot trilogy.
He went at it again in Tarzan the Terrible, with Pal-Ul-Don in Africa.
And he created the ultimate ‘Lost World’ with his Pellucidar.
Meanwhile, Ralph Milne Farley, contributed his own version of a Pellucidar
story with his Radio Flyers and Radio Gun Runners serials,
and Lin Carter was inspired by Pellucidar to create Zanthodon.
See how it all tends to connect up conceptually? Of course,
its likely that there were ‘lost worlds’ of dinosaurs in caves or hidden
valleys before Doyle thought it up. And inner worlds existed in literature
before Pellucidar. Hell, just look at Jules Verne's ‘Journey
to the Center of the Earth.’ Nevertheless, the ideas and concepts
were floating around, passed from one writer to the next, and the big ones,
like Doyle and Burroughs were particularly influential.
Anyway, the fact that everyone is using the same basic set of sloppy
ideas for a setting, tends to inspire us to try and connect them.
If we're finding all these lost worlds in different parts of the world
which repeatedly share the same features, shouldn't we assume that they
may be related in some way. They're not simply ‘fossil remains’ snapshots
of particular eras, rather, over and over, they pose impossible mixes of
flora and fauna, creatures that could never have existed together.
Irimatri is pretty typical of these lost worlds. Let's look
at the range of species. First we have dinosaurs of various
sorts, particularly, Tyrannosaurus Rex and Styracosaurus are described.
Protoceratops is referred to. Pterosaurs and creatures that might
be Itchysaurs are described. All well and good, we're looking
at a Cretaceous, Mesozoic Era landscape, somewhere from 100 to 65 million
So what are Indricotherium doing wandering around there? It's
from the Oligocene and Miocene eras. It's 25 million years
out at least. Andrewsarchus, a giant hoofed predator from 32
million years ago is seen. How about Mammoths from only a few million
In the real world, none of these creatures ever met each other, and
certainly none ever met a dinosaur. They're all separated from each
other by gaps of millions of years. So what are they doing
Well, to be fair, all of these critters populated asia, so they could
have just kept on wandering into Irimatri from time to time, like a homeless
shelter against extinction.
But wait. Tam also sees diminutive proto-horses and giant
flightless predator birds snapping them up. We have a problem
here. Horses evolved in North America, proto-horses never made it
to Asia. Meanwhile, giant flightless Predator birds evolved
in North and South America when each of these were island continents, but
never spread to Asia. So what did they do? Take a cab.
In fact, this sort of thing is a problem with just about every ‘lost
world’ found on the surface or in underground caverns, including Professor
Challenger's, Skull Island, Caprona and Pal-Ul-Don. And many of these
lost worlds have other problems. They're too small to sustain
the giants they possess. Limited territory often means that giants
downsize to dwarfs, but this doesn't seem to be happening. If anything,
many specimens are even bigger than the fossil record.
And worse, many of these lost worlds feature species which just don't
exist in the fossil record and may never have evolved on the surface.
All of which suggests that most of the ‘lost worlds’ that we encounter
are connected. If not to each other, then they are connected to and
derived from a ‘super lost world’: Pellucidar.
As to the mechanics and how this operates, I'd refer you to my articles
on Pellucidar, Zanthodon, Caprona and Va-Nah.
But the bottom line is that Pellucidar is an inner world which from
time to time, opens up to the surface, leaving little ‘islands’ of underworld
life trapped on the outer earth, or in great caverns.
Irimatri, I would argue, is not just Kline being inspired by Burroughs
Pellucidar, but rather, Irimatri actually is a part of Pellucidar.
Or at least, that it is a remnant of or connected to Pellucidar.
In support of this, there are the strange mysteries of the animal life.
But I'd also argue that several of the intelligent races of Irimatri have
counterparts in Pellucidar.
Hanuman - the Monkey
Are the non-human followers of the monkey god, Hanuman.
What are they? Well, obviously, they're Monkeys.
“He looked up and saw, peering down at
him, its beady eyes glistening beneath its beetling brows, an enormous
monkey fully as large as a tall man. Except for its immense size,
it might have been an ordinary Hanuman monkey of the Burmese and Indian
jungles; its hands and face were black like those of its smaller outer-earthly
prototype, and it was covered with grayish brown hair. But
was something about this monkey, other than its great size, which distinguished
it from its simian cousins of the upper jungles. For in its glittering
eyes was a look of intelligence that was strangely human. Strapped
about its hairy waist was a belt from which there hung a curved knife like
an Indian kukrie. Its left hand held a bundle of short javelins and
from its right, another, even as he looked, hurtled towards him.”
Okay, let's be fair here. Hindu mythology owns an Anthropomorphic
Monkey God named Hanuman, so it's not really a stretch. Although
Kline goes further into showing us more of these monkeys lives than some
of his other races, there isn't anything about them which isn't a reasonable
general fictional extrapolation. So we don't necessarily have
to connect these Hanuman to anything.
On the other hand, the fact that we don't need to doesn't necessarily
prevent us from wanting to try. Can these Hanuman be fit into Burroughs
universe? If we look closely, there are a few interesting things
going on. These aren't ordinary monkeys.
Well, that's obvious, what with their being human sized and intelligent.
But there's a little more to it than that. Regular asian and
hanuman monkeys have tails, of course, but they are not prehensile tails.
They're just plain old regular tails. But these Hanuman...
“The two embattled simians were rolling
over and over on the floor, a mass of flying feet and tails. Yet neither,
it seemed, had been able to injure the other vitally.” (Pp 123)
That's a prehensile tail. And prehensile tails are not found among
old world monkeys, but strictly around new world monkeys. Obviously,
Kline has mixed up his monkey traits.
“Half turning, the big monkey suddenly whipped
his long, muscular tail around Tam's legs, squeezing them together and
throwing him heavily.” (124)
But wait! Burroughs universe contains no less than four prehensile-tailed
humanoid races in Pal-Ul-Don. The hairless Ho Don, the black
hairy Waz Don, their hybrid Waz-Ho-Don, and the bestial Tor-O-Don.
In addition to prehensile tails, all of these races have monkey-like feet,
adapted for tree living.
And it gets better, Pellucidar gives us a race of prehensile-tailed,
arboreal-footed monkey-men and a second race of saber-toothed, prehensile-tailed,
arboreal-footed monkey-men. In short, in three different novels,
chronicling Pal-Ul-Don and Pellucidar, Burroughs gives us at least five
distinct races of creatures very much like the Hanuman.
Moreover, the ‘Monkey-Men’ of At The Earth's Core in Pellucidar,
live in sophisticated villages above the jungle canopy, much like the Hanuman
in Kline's novel do. A treetop village with a woven floor and
sophisticated huts, and signs of urban planning.... that's not an impossible
coincidence, but it does suggest a strong cultural relationship between
the two species.
Then there's language:
“All around him was the simian chatter,
loudest just above him. Now as he rested and listened, there came
to him memories of the language of the relatively tiny Hanumans of the
upper jungles, which he had learned to understand and to duplicate.
The tones of these large subterranean cousins of theirs were deeper and
more voluminous, but the language was similar. And it was evident
that a violent quarrel was taking place above him.”
Now, this is pretty interesting, because with the exception of the dog
headed men, everyone else in Irimatri is speaking ancient Sanskrit.
But somehow, the Hanuman have their own language, and astonishingly, it
is almost the same as the language of real monkeys on the surface.
Okay, at this point, let's turn to Burroughs. The apes that
raise Tarzan have a language, which we call Mangani, after their race.
Mangani is not confined to the great apes, but rather, is apparently spoken
by all primates. Gorillas and Chimps speak Mangani, even African
monkeys speak a simplified form of Mangani, and can understand the ape
Indeed, Tarzan discovers that Mangani is quite widespread.
Not only is Mangani spoken by Orangutans in Asia, but it is even spoken
by the Sagoths of Pellucidar. The Don of Pal-Ul-Don speak a
language derived from Mangani. Meanwhile, the Monkey-Men of Pellucidar
quixotically speak a language of their own, unidentified, which is clearly
distinct from the universal language of humans in Pellucidar.
So, in Burroughs world, there's really no doubt but that the Hanuman
monkeys of the surface are speaking a simplified Mangani. Which
would mean that the Hanuman race of the underworld are either speaking
Mangani, or a language derived from Mangani, perhaps the Don tongue.
Ah well, it's a nice theory. Is there anything to support it?
Sadly, we only get to learn one word of the Hanuman language, as two
of them argue over the captive Princess Nina, they call her a ‘Sa’.
‘Sa’, a footnote assures us, means ‘she’ or ‘woman’ or ‘female.’
The conversation is here:
“The golden sa should be given to me,
O Chief, as it was I who captured her.”
So let's take a wander over to the Don
and Mangani languages and see if ‘Sa’ or ‘Za’ gives us a match:
"The sa is mine, hunter,” replied a deep rumbling
voice. All things brought in from the chase belong to your chief,
who is responsible only to the great god, Hanuman.”
“But the sa is not a thing of the chase, brought
in to be eaten. I would take her to mate, like any sa of our race,
as is the custom when one of our warriors captures a strange sa.”
“The golden sa is not of our race and the rule
does not apply. Nor did you win her in combat. You only stole her
as she slept. Leave the sa with me and go to your hut. I have
But the hunter replied, “Depart then, warriors
of the Council, I remain to claim the sa from our chief by combat.
“This is a sa of another race, and you cannot
so claim her,” replied the rumbling voice of the Chief.
“A sa is a sa,” said one, her race should not
“Enough. I will fight this upstart, since
he insists. I will kill him. Then the sa will be mine.
I have spoken.”
At first glance, its not encouraging. The Mangani word for
‘female’ seems to be ‘Kalan’. Note that Tarzan's mother was ‘Kala.’
The general term for mother is ‘Kalu.’ The Mangani also have
another word for ‘she’ which is ‘Mu.’ And a word for female
mate which is ‘Por-Kalen.’ There are no equivalent words
given to us for the Don language.
But let's look a little further. Girl for both Don and Mangani
is ‘Za.’ Well, that pretty much settles it there, doesn't it?
But what the hell, let's go a little further.
The Mangani word for sister is ‘Za-Balu’ or ‘Sa-Balu’. ‘Balu’
in Mangani means baby, so a ‘Sa-Balu’ means ‘girl baby.’ A
lion in Mangani is a ‘Numa’, but a lioness is a ‘Sa-Bor’. Zan
in Mangani and Sat in Don means skin. Perhaps an inference that females
have smoother skin, or that skin is an attractive feminine quality.
The Mangani word for fish is ‘Pi-Sa’, but let's not dwell on that.
The Don word for ‘kind’ which may denote empathy or relatedness, both indirectly
suggesting feminine qualities is ‘Sa-to.’ The nose, a feature of
aesthetic beauty, is ‘Sar’ in Don.
In short, ‘Sa’ or ‘Za’ seems to appear frequently in Mangani and Don
denoting female or feminine qualities, and is in fact a root word for ‘she’
or an adjective denoting femaleness. But look a little further.
Clearly the Mangani employ a different word for full fledged mature breeding
females of their race, which seems to be ‘Kal**’ or perhaps Ka**.
This would be closest to our term ‘woman.’ ‘Za’ or ‘Sa’ seems to
refer to girls, or immature females, or to aspects of femaleness.
In short, ‘Za’ seems to mean ‘female in nature, but less than a complete
Which is exactly what you would call a captured woman of another race.
Let's be honest here. Trying to argue that a single word means
two speeches are the same or related would cause any real linguist to be
rolling around on the floor with uncontrollable laughter.
On the other hand, we aren't talking about real languages here.
We don't get anything like a full linguistic roster, or even a glossary
of a few dozen or hundred words. One single word of the Hanuman
speech, and the statement that it is simply a more complex form of the
language of surface monkeys is all we get.
But what do we make of the fact that the Hanuman language has an outright
Mangani term? Coincidence? Possibly.
Well, it could be deliberate. Remember that Kline was by all accounts
a dedicated fan and reader of Burroughs, as seen by him writing Burroughsian
tales. He obviously studied the Tarzan stories. So he may well
have picked up the term Za and used it as Sa here as a little ‘in joke.’
Remember, Kline and Burroughs were part of a community that included publishers,
writers, fans, fanzines, social occasions, conventions. In-jokes
of every sort were common.
Or it could be subconscious. Kline clearly read Burroughs
and he was a huge fan. ‘Alien’ terms inserted into a non-human's
speech gives it flavour, as in fact, was Kline's use of it in the Hanuman
speech. It makes it exotic, it gives it a different voice.
These words, for that reason, stand out a little, and become memorable.
It sticks in the back of the mind. So one day, Kline is writing
Tam, he's writing the Hanuman argument, but it's dull, it could be any
tribesmen arguing, and he wants to emphasize that this is an exotic nonhuman
race. He decides to add a word, to make it more exotic.
He thinks he's chosen something at random, but really, his subconscious
has popped out a dimly remembered Mangani word.
So, though its doubtless a shocking coincidence, or perhaps a deliberate
in-joke, or perhaps simply a bit of subconscious borrowing, we have a single
good, hard piece of evidence to strongly suggest that the language of the
Hanuman either is Mangani or Don, or closely related to those languages.
Take it all together, and you've got a very good case that the Hanuman
are part of the family of tailed races of Pellucidar and Pal-Ul-Don.
Zargs and Sagoths
“But they had not gone a hundred feet when they were halted
by a shower of stones, and there charged out at them from the thicket a
mob of hairy, shambling creatures, manlike and yet ape-like. They
were armed with slings and clubs, and each carried a bag of large pebbles
that hung from a cord around his neck.
These are the Zargs, described later as ‘shambling hairy creatures,’ ‘hairy
men,’ ‘hairy troglodytes’ Unfortunately, we don't get a better
description than that. So we're left with an impression of
primitive cave-men or ape-men, not quite human, hairy like animals.
Their shambling gait suggest that they haven't quite fully mastered bipedalism.
Their preference for clubs and slings, rather than spears, swords, knives
or bows and arrows suggests a primitive nature.
“They saw our smoke and sent the Zargs to cut off our retreat before
they charged,” said the girl.”
They serve the Saiva, and probably the other more advanced races, and
speak ancient Sanskrit to communicate with their masters. We
have no indication that they have a language of their own. They have
no nation or domain of their own, and we get no indication of their home
That's pretty much all we have to go on. They're generic ape-men.
Indeed, they bear quite a resemblance to the Hairy Ape-Men who inhabit
Jan's lost world. Indeed, Kline uses almost exactly the
same language to describe the Hairy Ape-Men of Jan of the Jungle.
That's not a huge stretch, Jan's ape men are generic themselves.
But having said that, the resemblance between the two sets of ape-men suggest
that Jan and Tam exist in the same universe.
But they also resemble the Sagoths of Pellucidar.
“Behind them, streaming through the pass
which leads into the valley, came a swarm of hairy men -- gorilla-like
creatures armed with spears and hatchets, and bearing long, oval shields.
. . . Our guards, whom I already have described as gorilla like men, were
rather lighter in build than a gorilla, but even so they were indeed mighty
creatures. Their arms and legs were proportioned more in conformity with
human standards, but their entire bodies were covered with shaggy, brown
hair, and their faces were quite as brutal as those of the few stuffed
specimens of the gorilla which I had seen in the museums at home. ... Their
only redeeming feature lay in the development of the head above and back
of the ears. In this respect they were not one whit less human than we.”
(At the Earth's Core)
The Sagoths are a bit more sophisticated in terms of weapons and wardrobe
than the Zagr, but they're clearly cut from the same cloth.
The names of both races, Zagr and Sagoths, are obviously similar.
And each are the henchman of more powerful and more intelligent races,
although there are known to be free roving bands or tribes of Sagoths.
The Zagr serve the Saiva, the Sagoths serve the Mahars. It's
not much of a stretch to see the Zagr as simply a branch of the Sagoths.
Of course, if the Zagr are a branch of the Sagoths, then Irimatri, and
possibly Jan's lost world are connected in some way to Pellucidar.
And Burroughs Pellucidar is in the same universe as Barsoom....
After the elaborate discussions of the Four-Armed Giants and the Hanuman,
this is rather brief. Sorry about that. I work with what I
Nacamanacs - The Serpent
The Nacamanacs are the serpent race of Irimatri, one of the seven nations
in this underground realm. Again, I think that Kline is basing his
race on Hindu folklore and myth, particularly the tales of the Naga, supernatural
beings with both human and serpent attributes.
“From the glint of day blaze on their
bodies as they moved, he judged that they wore close fitting polished armor....
As its square nose slid upon the gently sloping bank, Tam saw that the
rowers were not wearing armor, but were covered from head to foot with
scales like those of a cobra.
And that's it. This is all the description that we get of the
Nacamanac. For the record, lets compare this to the descriptions
of the Horibs in Tarzan at the Earth's Core.
“What are these creatures?” Tam asked Nina.
“The Nagamanacs,” she replied. “The
Snake-men. They are evolutionary descendants of the Nagas, the great
serpents who ruled the Earth long before the advent of man. They
are immune from attack by the Nagas and Maha-Nagas, and for this reason
are able to exist on the shores of the River of the Gods, where they ferry
pilgrims to and fro for a fee.”
“One of the Nagamanacs, who appeared to be a leader,
now leaped from the prow of the boat and advanced towards them. Tam
saw that he was hairless and that the markings on his scaly body corresponded
to those of a cobra, even to the dread spectacle mark. He came straight
to where Nina sat on her mount and bowed low before her.
“Speak Nagamanac,” she commanded.
“We await your pleasure, Majesty,” he said, and
Tam saw that when he opened his mouth to speak that his teeth were needle-sharp
like the fangs of a serpent. “Will it please your Majesty to cross
to the Land of the Gods in our humble craft?”
“Your price, boatman?” she inquired.
“A hundred fish spears with heads of steel and
a hundred keen-bladed kukries.”
“What are Horibs?” asked Tarzan.
The girl shuddered. “The snake people,” she whispered
in an awed tone.
“Snake people.” repeated Tarzan, “and what are
“Let us not speak of them. They are horrible.
They are worse than the Gyors. Their blood is cold and men say that they
have no hearts, for they do not possess any of the characteristics that
men admire, knowing not friendship or sympathy or love.”
Now for the first time Tarzan was able to obtain a good view
of the snake-men and their equally hideous mounts. The conformation of
the Horibs was almost identical to man insofar as the torso and extremities
were concerned. Their three-toed feet and five-toed hands were those of
reptiles. The head and face resembled a snake, but pointed ears and two
short horns gave a grotesque appearance that was at the same time hideous.
The arms were better proportioned than the legs, which were quite shapeless.
The entire body was covered with scales, although those upon the hands,
feet and face were so minute as to give the impression of bare skin, a
resemblance which was further emphasized by the fact that these portions
of the body were a much lighter color, approximating the shiny dead whiteness
of a snake's belly.
They wore a single apron-like garment fashioned from a piece of very
heavy hide, apparently that of some gigantic reptile. This garment was
really a piece of armor, its sole purpose being, as Tarzan later learned,
to cover the soft, white bellies of the Horibs. Upon the breast of each
garment was a strange device -- an eight-pronged cross with a circle in
the center. Around his waist each Horib wore a leather belt, which supported
a scabbard in which was inserted a bone knife. About each wrist and above
each elbow was a band or bracelet. These completed their apparel and ornaments.
In addition to his knife each Horib carried a long lance shod with bone.
They sat on their grotesque mounts with their toes locked behind the elbows
of the Gorobors, anomodont reptiles of the Triassic, known to paleontologists
as Parciasuri. Many of these creatures measured ten feet in length, though
they stood low upon squat and powerful legs.
As Tarzan gazed in fascination upon the Horibs, whose “blood ran cold
and who had no hearts,” he realized that he might be gazing upon one of
the vagaries of evolution, or possibly upon a replica of some form that
had once existed upon the outer crust and that had blazed the trail that
some, to us, unknown creature must have blazed from the age of reptiles
to the age of man. Nor did it seem to him, after reflection, any more remarkable
that a man-like reptile might evolve from reptiles than that birds should
have done so or, as scientific discoveries are now demonstrating, mammals
These thoughts passed quickly, almost instantaneously, through his mind
as the Horibs sat there with their beady, lidless eyes fastened upon them,
but if Tarzan had been astounded by the appearance of these creatures the
emotion thus aroused was nothing compared with the shock he received when
one of them spoke, addressing him in the common language of the gilaks
As Jason watched the Horibs at their grizzly feast, he became suddenly
conscious of a remarkable change that was taking place in their appearance.
When he had first seen them and all during the battle they had been of
a ghastly bluish color, the hands, feet and faces being several shades
paler than the balance of the body, but as they settled down to their gory
repast this hue gradually faded to be replaced by a reddish tinge, which
varied in intensity in different individuals, the faces and extremities
of a few of whom became almost crimson as the feast progressed.
The general conformation of the creatures, their weapons, which consisted
of long lances and stone knives, the apron-like apparel which they wore
and the evident attempt at ornamentation as exemplified by the insignia
upon the breasts of their garments and the armlets which they wore, all
tended toward establishing a suggestion of humanity that was at once grotesque
and horrible, but when to these other attributes was added human speech
the likeness to man created an impression that was indescribably repulsive.
So powerful was the fascination that the creatures aroused in the mind
of Jason that he could divert neither his thoughts nor his eyes from them.
He noticed that while the majority of them were about six feet in height,
there were many much smaller, ranging downward to about four feet, while
there was one tremendous individual that must have been fully nine feet
tall; yet all were proportioned identically and the difference in height
did not have the appearance of being at all related to a difference in
age, except that the scales upon the largest of them were considerably
thicker and coarser. Later, however, he was to learn that differences in
size predicated differences in age, the growth of these creatures being
governed by the same law which governs the growth of reptiles, which, unlike
mammals, continue to grow throughout the entire duration of their lives.
When they had gorged themselves upon the flesh of the Korsars, the Horibs
lay down, but whether to sleep or not Jason never knew since their lidless
eyes remained constantly staring. And now a new phenomenon occurred. Gradually
the reddish tinge faded from their bodies to be replaced by a dull brownish
gray, which harmonized with the ground upon which they lay.
The adult females differed but slightly from the males. Aside from the
fact that they were hornless and went naked, Jason could discover no other
distinguishing feature. He saw no signs of a village, nor any indication
of arts or crafts other than those necessary to produce their crude weapons
and the simple apron-like armor that the warriors wore to protect the soft
skin of their bellies.
The prisoners were now dragged from their mounts and herded together
by several of the warriors, who conducted them along the edge of the lake
toward a slightly higher bank.
On the way they passed a number of females laying eggs, which they deposited
in the soft, warm mud just above the water line, covering them lightly
with mud, afterwards pushing a slender stake into the ground at the spot
to mark the nest. All along the shore at this point were hundreds of such
stakes and further on Jason saw several tiny Horibs, evidently but just
hatched, wriggling upward out of the mud. No one paid the slightest attention
to them as they stumbled and reeled about trying to accustom themselves
to the use of their limbs, upon all four of which they went at first, like
tiny, grotesque lizards.
See the difference. The Horibs, although their presence
in Tarzan at the Earth's Core is hardly more elaborate than that
of the Nacamanacs in Tam, are a much more vividly realized race.
Burroughs describes them in detail, focusing on, not just their appearance,
but their clothing and weapons, the nature of their culture. We see
the community of the Horibs, observe females and children, get a sense
of their home life and way of thinking. Throwaway details of
weapons and symbols suggest a culture deeper and more elaborate than we
actually see. In short, Burroughs gives us a lot of information
on the Horib, and he suggests a lot more, to persuade us that these are
real beings just living their lives before Tarzan and Jason come along,
and who will go on living their lives after Tarzan and Jason have left.
In contrast, the Nacamanacs are barely sketched out. They're simply
yet another wonder, dropped in, briefly touched upon, and simply dropped.
We don't have any idea of the Nacamanacs home life, or how they get along
with each other, what concerns them. They're almost ciphers.
This is my big complaint with Tam, Son of the Tiger. We
see this kind of thing over and over. The Zargr are barely described,
even though they show up several times. Worse, the descriptions of
the four armed giants are tenuous at best: How many fingers
do they have? What colour are their eyes? Do they have fangs?
Are their facial features human, and how human? Etc.
It's a bit frustrating. I think that to have made Tam
a more fully satisfying work, Kline needed to spend more time.
He gives us this elaborate, beautiful, exotic world full of exotic and
mysterious races, and then just sprints through it.
On the other side of things, the lack of key detail makes it easier
for us to merge Kline's world and creatures with those of Burroughs.
Indeed, although detail helps us assign the Hanuman to the family of Burroughs
tailed races in Pal-Ul-Don and Pellucidar, it is the lack of contradictory
detail which helps us identify the Sagoth with the Zagr, and allows us
to argue that the four armed giants originate from Barsoom (okay, I admit
that I have to argue my way up from contradictory detail, for the four-armed
But anyway, getting back to Horibs and Nacamanacs, we've got a few similarities.
Both are explicitly races of ‘serpent men.’ Not dinosaur-men, not
lizard-men, not even reptile-men. Serpent men. Both are covered
with scales. Both are semi-aquatic, the Nacamanacs being shore dwellers,
river traders and fish eaters; the Horib making their home and dens in
river banks. Both speak the local language, Gilak and Sanskrit,
rather than their own language. Both seem oddly low tech, the Horib
technology lacks metal and is confined to stone and bone, while the Nacamanac
must trade for metal implements.
There's enough there to support a conclusion that the Horibs of Pellucidar
and the Nacamanacs of Kline's underground world are, if not the same, then
at least closely related races.
And for the record, there's a couple of other interesting references
to ‘serpent men’ that might be worth giving a thought to. Robert
E. Howard's King Kull frequently warred upon serpent men in the hyperborean
age. Meanwhile, Leigh Brackett's Sword of Rhiannon features
a race of serpent men who are connected to ancient gods of super-science
on Mars. There, however, I would leave it to the reader to
establish whatever connections and theories they wish.
The Manacvan - Dog Faced
The Manacvan are a race for which Pellucidar has no equivalent,
nor for that matter, does any other Burroughs world. The Manacvan
are also called Man-dogs or dog-faced Men. In appearance, they
resemble naked white men or women, but with the heads or faces of dogs
or wolves and long bushy tails resembling the brush of a fox.
Unlike most of the other races, excepting only the Zargs, the Manacvan
are almost unique in having no patron god and no realm of their own.
Unlike the Zarg, they have no relationship with any of the dominant races.
They do not speak Sanskrit, but they may have their own language.
They travel in packs and are notorious man eaters. Men who
fall into their hands are immediately eaten. Women who fall into
their possession are ‘horribly mistreaten’ before being torn to pieces
and devoured. Presumably, the Manacvan lust after human
females. It's likely, however, that the majority of their diet
is not human but regular carnivore prey. However, they also
practice cannibalism, devouring even members of their own family or pack.
The Manacvan hunt with ropes, which they use to lasso, snare or bind
their prey, and they live in earthen burrows. But there is little
other evidence of technology. In combat with each other, they
eschew weapons and use their jaws and fists.
They're definitely nasty brutes. Although no such creatures
appear in Burroughs, they do appear frequently in myth and legend.
Anubis, the Jackal Headed god of Egypt comes to mind immediately, of course.
But both Hindu and European folklore contain tales of dog headed people
and races. Indeed, Europeans believed for a long time that
a dog headed race of people lived in Ethiopia, or India, and one of the
early Christian saints was a dog headed man.
The Geography of Tam's
Lost World, Iramatri
is a vast underground world inhabited by prehistoric creatures and strange
beings largely unknown on the surface. It lies approximately
seven days hard travel due north from Tam's home.
It is accessed by an entrance in a cliff face, in a valley that is just
short of the mountain range which marks the border between Tibet and Burma.
The entrance is sealed by a huge trap door which swings on an ancient hinge,
and is opened by pressing a lever concealed on a giant statue of a female
buddha in front of it.
The trap door opens to a dark descending passageway which eventually
opens, after several miles travel, into a vast underground realm which
it is intimated, is beneath Tibet. Tam estimates that he is
miles underground. The cavern opens onto a cliff face with
a long winding road down which takes several hours to traverse.
How vast? We don't rightly know. The few times we're
given measurements, Kline mischievously gives them in the terms of the
people within. Thus we get helpful statements like “For the first
hundred varsads we will travel northwest...” (pp 95) However, we
do get a few ideas of the size of the place.
The underground land is divided into seven realms or nations, each worshipping
a hindu deity, respectively Nina, Indra, Brahm, Vishnu, Saiva, Hanuman
and Vasuki. Each with its own population and capital city.
The land which seems closest to the entry to the outside world is Vishnu,
the land of blue giants, who are charged with guarding the Portal.
T he Vishnu control the principal highway or road leading towards the portal.
However, the area is principally wild jungle and by avoiding the road,
one can travel to the Land of the Saiva or pasty white giants.
Saiva may border on Vishnu, since Saiva attempted to negotiate with Vishnu
on the quest to conquer the outside world. In the novel,
it's noted that the Saiva warriors snuck through the Vishnu jungles to
reach the portal. Vishnu is the most southerly of the lands
of Iramartri, and may well be the largest, since its territory not only
completely encloses the portal, but it has borders with both Siva and Nina's
lands, and they don't have borders with each other. The inference
is that Vishnu also borders either or both Hanuman and Brahm.
Interestingly, Nina was able to take a small party through the jungles
to the Portal outside. To do this, apparently she had to either pass
through Saiva land, and possibly intervening nations, and awoke Saiva pursuit.
Or perhaps she passed through Vishnu land and the Saiva were tipped off.
It's clear though that neither Saiva nor Nina's territory is near the portal.
Arya, or Nina's land, is due straight northeast of Saiva territory.
However, a straight line travel would take one throuh Vishnu, which means
that Vishnu's borders must fold around Saiva. Nina and Tam,
while in Saiva's territory, decide to travel northwest along a river, possibly
the Ind. Between Saiva's domain and Nina's land of Arya, are
two intervening nations, Hanuman, the land of monkey people, and the land
of Brahm. One crosses the river to go from Siva to Hanuman, and it
marks the division between Hanuman and Siva. A river, probably
also the Ind, divides Saiva from Vishnu.. The lands of Brahm and Nina are
divided by the River Ind.
The geography gets kind of interesting, but it looks like Saiva has
no actual border with Nina's land, but is off to the side.
Vishnu's land borders directly on that of Nina's land, but is not separated
by the river Ind, and in fact, no major rivers actually run through it,
it looks like the big river, or rivers constitute part of its borders.
But if Vishnu borders on both Nina's land and Saiva, then it must also
border on one or both of Hanuman and Brahm.
We don't have clear indications of direction, but the path to the Land
of the Gods is through the western gate, but the road lies northward.
Three days journey by mammoth north from Arya brings you to a place
where three highways blend into one. The Southern road leads
to Arya. The Southwest leads to the land of Indra. The
other road, Southeast, leads to Nagatun.
We can assume that one of these nations borders Saiva, directly or indirectly.
My guess is that the likely border is with Indra, since the land that the
Nagatun is likely closer to the length of the black river. The people
there, the Nagamanacs, seem to be connected to the great serpents who rule
the river, so we might assume that the river, for part of its length, runs
Soon after that, the road ends in a vast impenetrable marsh.
This is probably the vast trackless swamp which contains the Island, Mananavarta,
where criminals and exiles are sentenced. The seven nations
jointly maintain the prison, each contributing guards and officers.
Beyond that is a large river or lake, or perhaps a small sea, called
Kalaudan, or Black Water, the River of the Gods. The ‘river’
has its own islands, and its large enough to support a seven headed, cobra
hooded water serpent that can swallow seven full grown mammoths at a time
and swim off for a nap.
On the other side of the River, or at the end of the River, is the shores
and banks of the Land of the Gods. The ‘Land of the Gods’ is bordered by
a fifty foot wall with an large gateway, guarded by the black children
of Kali. Within the wall is a country of low rolling hills, with
a road paved with white stone running through it. The countryside
is divided into fields raising many different kinds of crops, which are
tended by people of all nations.
A few miles in is a second wall, higher than the first, manned by the
Red Warriors of Brahm. Within this is a belt of thick forest, the
hunting preserve of the Gods. Beyond that is a third wall guarded
by the warriors of Indra. This leads to a region of lakes which is
described as the fishing ground of the Gods, guarded by Vaishnava warriors.
The fourth wall, guarded by Saiva warriors encloses graves and mausoleums,
and is the burial ground of the Gods.
Beyond that is a ring shaped city, surround an immense white mountain,
approximately ten to twenty miles beyond the first wall, is an immense
white mountain whose peak seems to reach up to the mists shrouding the
top of the immense cavern. This is the Mountain of the Gods.
Passing through the city and approaching the mountain, is a small park
and a wall guarded by Arya warriors of Nina. This leads to a path up the
side of the mountain, there's an fiery chasm which must be crossed.
That leads to a path straight up, and eventually a doorway which opens
to a staircase that actually goes above the area of luminousity (apparently,
Iramatri's light comes from electrically charged clouds) which takes you
to the Antechamber of the Gods, and finally the ‘Most High Place’ where
the Gods live.
Overall, the ‘Land of the Gods’ seems to be a relatively small place,
perhaps no more than twenty to thirty miles across at most, and with a
surface area of perhaps only a few hundred square miles. It
is densely populated with representatives of all the races, but does not
seem to have a distinctive race of its own.
For each of these realms, the nations contribute levies of their own
people to maintain and operate. Nina's nation, Arya,
sends ten thousand male and ten thousand female slaves to serve.
The nations or Iramatri collectively send one hundred and forty thousand
slaves each year to serve for a term. It appears that the land has
its own indigenous population who are served by the slaves.
There appear to be two other adjacent lands, as Nina explains:
“Her (Kali's) nation is not in Iramatri,
but lies beyond the Land of the Gods in a place of eternal darkness which
borders the domain of Yama, King of Hell.”
Even the lands of Kali and Yama send slaves to work in the Land of the
Gods, which means that it is geographically connected. It would
appear that the lands of Kali and Yama lay on the other side of the land
of the Gods and actually consists of an unlit or poorly lit area of the
Iramatri cavern. We never see these lands, so there's not much that
we can say.
So, how big is this place? By any reckoning its huge.
Arya supports a population of at least 200,000, and its population may
be as high as two to three million, since at one point, there's a reference
to raising an army of a million men. Assuming that the other
nations are of comparable size, the complete population may run anywhere
from two to twenty millions.
That's pretty hefty, particularly when you consider that these populations
are basically practicing iron age, non-mechanized, pre-industrial agriculture.
Under those circumstances, a population density of twenty millions or so
is extraordinary. A more realistic figure may be between two
and five million. Even so, that's still substantial, particularly
for the level of technology and the gigantic size of many of the inhabitants.
It's also worth noting that much of the territory seems to be unoccupied
or wild jungle and forest. From what we see, substantially
less than half of the territory is cultivated. Indeed, indications
are that as little as fifteen to twenty per cent of the territory may be
occupied. Large herds of wild animals roam freely.
The lands from the portal to Saiva are jungle, the lands between Vishnu
and Arya are jungle. Nina and Tam pass through Brahm and Hanuman
without coming across much indication of cultivated land.
Irimatri may well be contiguous with a substantial area of Tibet or
the Himalayan Plateau. The mix of species suggests that it
is connected to or related to Pellucidar. However, it is at
best, only a few or few dozen miles beneath the surface of the Earth, so
clearly its part of the surface, rather than being a part of Pellucidar.
It is possible that Irimatri may be a simple Hoos, and that its large
territory may simply be a geographical distortion. Perhaps
its really a deep bowel whose sides, by a quirk of hollow earth gravity,
give the illusion of being flat land.
Or, here is another possibility. Perhaps Irimatri began
as an immense Hoos, an into Pellucidar between the Indian and Asian continental
plates, and when the Hoos closed, it pulled the plates together, one on
top of each other, creating the Asian himalayan plateau over and above
the section of the Indian plate which became Irimatri. Irimatri
definitely connects to the surface, and it may still have connections to
On the Edges of Irimatri
Interestingly enough, there was a second Tarzan clone who hung about
in an Immense cave system in the Himalayas. His name was Morgo
the Mighty, who appeared in a serial in ‘The Popular Magazine’ written
by a ‘Sean O'Larkin.’ Morgo was actually James Cooper, a nine-year-old
English boy who was separated from his parents on a Himalayan expedition
(cause climbing Everest is a family outing) and wound up in an immense
cave system. Unlike Irimatri, it seems to have been a genuine
immense cave system, rather than an underground lost world.
Morgo grew up amid jungles of fungus, and had as companions members of
a race of flying bat-men called Bakketes. Actually, according
to the cover art, the bat-men basically seem to be just big ass bats, but
there you go. There were also ape-men, dinosaurs and other
One is tempted to consider Morgo's land an outlier of Tam's Irimatri,
which itself we're arguing is an outlier of Pellucidar. I mean, dinosaurs
and ape men under the Himalayas? What are the odds? In
we're already told that there are adjacent lands to Irimatri, the dark
and lightless realms of Yama and Kali. So its hardly a stretch, and
there is a nice bit of elegance to connecting these two lost worlds.
Unfortunately, all I've got of Morgo is a couple of book and internet
descriptions, and a single internet reproduction of a magazine cover.
So I'm not really in a good position to go gung ho seeing if we can fuse
them. At best, I can raise the possibility.
And while we're making connections, we also have the similarly named
Morgyn the Mighty, yet another Tarzan clone (though a bit of a Hercules)
who is described by Jess Nevins as ‘fighting for good in the remote places
above and beneath the earth.’ Is Morgyn an older heavier version
of Morgo, gone wandering from his Himalayan cave haunts? Morgyn
was, like Morgo, a Brit. In this case, he was a British comic
book character who also came out around 1930.
Tharks in Pellucidar?
There are more than enough overlaps and similarities to make a good
case that the four-armed giants are descendants of the Green Men or White
Apes of Barsoom. And its pretty much a no-brainer that the
Irimatri, with its dinosaurs, ape-men and monkey men must be an outlier
So... What the heck are Tharks doing in Pellucidar.
That's a long walk from the purple moss and red deserts?
Is there an explanation? I think we can provide one.
If you read Secret of Thuria, you'll note that I argue that the ancient
Orovars managed to achieve space travel, and that Thuria is an artificial
habitat they carved out. In Burroughs Barsoom, the Barsoomians
appear to have, and appear to have had for a long time, all the basics
that should have allowed them to travel through space.
If we look to Otis Adelbert Kline's novels and stories, particularly
of Mars, Maza of the Moon and Man in the Moon, we learn that
in ancient times, white Martians achieved space travel and visited other
worlds. They encountered the yellow race of the Ma Gongi on
the Moon and the two races exchanged colonies on each others worlds.
At some point, the Martians and the Ma Gongi went to war, nearly destroying
both their worlds.
However, there's evidence in Kline that the Martians and Ma Gongi may
have planted colonies on more than each other's worlds.
The oriental civilization of China is clearly a descendent, for Kline,
of the Ma Gongi. The yellow civilization of the Huitsen on
Venus seems to be another Ma Gongi offshoot. And finally, the
city of Kor in South America, which Jan discovers, may be a third Ma Gongi
So if the Ma Gongi are getting around, why not Kline's White Martian
race, Burroughs Orovars? In Kline's universe, there are strong
indications that his Zarovians of Venus northern hemisphere may well be
transplanted Martians, or Orovars. The strange white
human race of Irimatri, who refer to surface humans as ‘earthlings’ may
well be another colony of Kline's White Martians.
In Burroughs, it's worth noting that the Pellucidarean land beneath
Pellucidar's moon is called Thuria, the same as Barsoom's moon.
Coincidence? Actually, probably just lazy writing, but you
never know.... Burroughs may have been dropping a hint.
In Linguistic Archeology
and Orovars, a sort of sequel to Religions
of Mars, I argued that ancient Barsoomian language had been heavily
influenced by the Tur cult. Tur, or variations like Tor, Thor,
Thur showed up constantly, in peoples names, in geographic names, in mathematics
and other references. Tur, in turn seemed to give rise to derivative
words like Bar, Far, Kar, Sar, etc., which showed up frequently and seemed
to be important concepts to the Barsoomians. This is the short
version, just read the articles.
Anyway, the interesting thing is that Tur is not confined to Barsoom.
Tur, as noted, shows up in Thuria, both a Barsoomian moon, and a moon shadowed
Pellucidarean land. But Thorth shows up in Kline's Venus as
the dominant religion. Which seems to drift into Burroughs
Venus as Thor. It shows up in Lynn Carter's Callisto as Thanator.
And even in Ralph Milne Farley's, where we encounter the Priests of Kar.
The implication is that the Orovars got around like gangbusters and
left cultural traces here and there.
At this point, I'll fess up to a bit of embarrassment. Y'see,
early on, I wrote a paper called Are
Barsoomians Human. One of the things that I relied
upon was the fact that humans, earth normal humans, kept showing up on
world after world as the dominant species, while other alien races tended
to be confined on their world. Thus, we don't see Tharks all
over the Solar System.
As it turns out, we do see Tharks all over the solar system - the Blue
Giants of Kline's Irimatri, the Sabits of Kline's Venus, the Formians and
Blue Apes of Farley's Venus, the Brue of Cummings Mercury, the four armed
giants of Carter's Callisto, even Burroughs Pellucidar Ants.
There seemed to be a lot of six limbed or four armed giants floating around.
Worse, we noticed in addition to the amphibian Lu of Caprona, two separate
amphibian races, Kline and Burroughs respectively, on Venus, and a further
amphibian race is briefly encountered on Carter's Callisto.
Bird winged humanoid races appear on Mercury, in several different depictions
of Venus, including Kline and Burroughs, on Carter's Callisto.
So it appears that the nonhumans got around too. Did they
astral teleport as I'm arguing for the humans? Possibly.
Or possibly they're transplants.
There are some other small anomalies. The Othode of Carter's
Callisto is a dead ringer for Barsoom's Calot. One thing is
for sure, even if we allow that humans might teleport, or even semi-humans,
the Calots and Othodes are definitely animals, and not teleporters.
There's a six-limbed creature of Burroughs Venus, the Tongzan, which seems
more appropriate to Barsoom as well. Again, its another creature
that's definitely an animal and not a teleporters. These anomalous
animals suggest that they were transported from Barsoom and went native.
So perhaps the Orovars, or possibly the Orovars and Ma Gongi were responsible
for transporting the other non-human races to other worlds, perhaps as
slaves or specialized labourers.
It's not out of the question. Our own western civilization
did quite a bit of that in the last few centuries. Africans,
for instance, were transported en masse to North and South America, to
the point where they became almost the exclusive population of the Caribbean,
and a large portion of the population of the United States and Brazil.
The British also relocated large numbers of Hindu to Guyana and the Island
of Trinidad, creating strange outposts of Indian culture.
So, it sort of makes sense to transport races of bird-winged fliers
from Venus to Mercury and Thanator. Or to plant colonies of
Amphibian men from Earth on sweltering Venus or a sea of Thanator.
And as for the Tharks, a race of four-armed warrior giants....
Well, they were at war, remember?
The Orovars probably had no particular interest in relocating beings
as dangerous as the Tharks offworld. But once the war broke out between
the Orovars and Ma Gongi, what better soldiers could they find?
So a contingent of Tharks were sent to Kline's Venus, and with the fall
of the Orovars, the leftover cultures became the white human Zarovians
(Zar-Orovar) and the Sabits. On the isolated realm of Poros,
they became Formians, with a population of White Apes becoming dwarf Blue
Apes. Around Jupiter, a small force was captured and enslaved
by the yellow race.
And in the Himalayan area, a military force of Orovars and Tharks established
a base in a fortified underworld not too far from the terrestrial Ma Gongi
Once the Martian civilization of the Orovars fell, all the colonies
and military outposts were left to their own devices, losing much of their
history and culture, and leaving the Tharks to mutate into different races.
So, how's that sound?