In the Horseclans Universe (which I have not read), events occur over some centuries after WW-III. Some very few people are effectively immortal and invulnerable in that they do not age and can be killed only by suffocation, drowning or decapitation plus they are mildly telepathic. Milo is a central character in the series who was born much earlier than 1936 but suffered amnesia in that year so he does not know when he was born. Milo is both ageless and immortal and survived WW-III, turning some survivors from bomb shelter refugees into nomadic horse-peoples. Some animals in this world are also telepathic, though it is unknown it they also are immortal.
Published in 1987, this means that Maureen visited Elizabeth sometime in 1986 or early 1987 during Elizabeth’s honeymoon with Josh Fein, a newly graduated doctor. As Elizabeth was born in 1964, she is 22 or 23 with Maureen supposedly 21 or 22 by-the-calendar. However, as was shown in Part 2 of this series, Maureen skipped the four years between her attempted return to Mars and her return from Pellucidar so is nearly 17, though she still looks and acts 16. I believe that this will be explained later.
Elizabeth and Josh are in Bermuda for their honeymoon and when Elizabeth enters her bathroom to change, Maureen is waiting for her there. One important question I have is how can Maureen unerringly find Elizabeth regardless of where she is, though her timing leaves much to be desired, but somehow always manages to miss the entire planet Mars! Perhaps the solution lies in the emotional bond between the two women who are best friends and were roommates for three years compared to a schoolgirl infatuation with Prince Van.
One thing that should be mentioned immediately is that Maureen, though appearing 16, is no petite cheerleader, nor is she some athletic movie heroine. Elizabeth describes her as having large breasts that require an underwire bra, chubby with a fat ass and the armorer who made her a helmet mentions her having a large nose. She is also fast and strong so finding any actress to play her would be difficult.
Maureen appears to Elizabeth wearing leather pants tucked into high boots, a sleeveless quilted cotton shirt covered with chain maile and a crested helmet with a large nose guard. She wore her Martian Sword, “Old Betsy” on one (left) hip with a larger sword and dagger on the other (right) hip. I would suggest that old Betsy was a very light and thin blade as 1) the Orovars did not have our muscles or gravity so a light, thin blade was necessary and 2) Martians do not wear armor so speed and agility was more important than mass and power. Think of how modern Fencers us a very light foil over the older and heavier Rapier*. However, in the Horseclans Universe, she would need a heavier blade to break armor so imagine Old Betsy as a foil or epee designed to punch neat holes through cloth into flesh verses a heavy broadsword made to cleave a breastplate. Maureen challenges Milo to a duel and he chooses a saber to match hers, she commenting that the baskethilt of hers is jewel-encrusted and Milo, later mentioning “You’re very good with that saber…”. Maureen also uses Fencing moves which are impossible with a heavy blade so we now know that Old Betsy is a very light (curved) saber with a jewel-encrusted basket-hilt.*NOTE: A modern Fencing Foil weighs 500 grams (17 ounces) with tournament foils with tournament foils far less at 350 grams (12 ounces). I found that my practice foils were far heavier than were my tournament foils (which I traded as a down payment for a kayak when I gave up tournaments) and both were outweighed by my brass-wire-guard Rapier which was in excess of 3 pounds. My Broadsword, designed to hammer plate, weighs more than 3 ½ pounds.Obviously she had just returned from the Horseclans universe. It is what happens between Pellucidar and the Horseclans that concerns me.
Maureen states that she was ready to retire and hang up her sword but she states “…there wouldn’t be anybody to look out for the wretched and downtrodden on all these planets without me…” followed by “…every time I have an adventure I meet a real cute boy.” As Effinger only describes Barsoom and Pellucidar, she must have had more adventures between Pellucidar and the Horseclans.
Now remember that she went directly from Pellucidar to the 34th Street exit of the Penn Station in New York. Now she returned from the Horseclans to Bermuda. Although she describes whooshing to Mars and hitting a tree in the Horseclans universe, it is possible that she had a few adventures between Pellucidar and the Horseclans that she alludes to but does not describe. She describes wearing a beige sleeveless shirtdress, cashmere sweater and puma shoes as she leaves Earth but when Milo stabs her through her shoulder she swears but fails to mention her clothing being damaged, something that would be mentioned by a JAP who intimately describes her Earthly clothing. She was wearing a sleeveless dress but when stabbed because Milo could easily see the wound which implies a spaghetti strap top. Therefore I believe that between Pellucidar and Horseclans, she had at least two adventures and had returned to Earth and so was wearing a different outfit during her duel.
It is at this point where Maureen discovers that her wound is healed and that she is, effectively immortal and possibly afeless, having stopped ageing at 16. One question is; was she always this way as was Milo or did she become ageless and immortal when she first whooshed to Mars?
I recall that with John Carter, we know something similar to this as he describes himself in the 1880s as possibly being a hundred, possibly more which implies that JC was born around 1780 and had ceased to age at 30 around 1800, but not much earlier. JC also managed to survive multiple sword injuries on Barsoom and was able to transit between the two worlds, carrying or creating his Barsoomian Harness as he transited, though JC learned how to Transit from Kar Komac of Lothar while Maureen seems to have been born with the skill. Maureen and JC also possess some telepathic abilities, JC being able to read the minds of the Red Men on Barsoom and to control his Thoats and Calot telepathically while Maureen is able to understand and communicate easily with any people she meets plus her war horse in the Horseclans universe.
Robert Adams, author of the Horseclans series, mentions that some very few people, 8 known are listed, are effectively ageless, immortal and telepathic, some being born before WW-III, Milo in particular, being born well before 1936 when he lost his memory of his past. Could John Carter and Maureen Birnbaum be of this group? I theorize that when John Carter reached the age of about 30, he suffered an accident that induced his immortality and telepathy and the ability to Transit between Barsoom and Earth, possibly a strong head injury that robbed him of his memory. Maureen suffered an ‘injury’ on the ski slopes on Vermont that initiated her immortality but as this was probably a heart attack or stroke due to her weight and lifestyle so her memory remained intact. This is how she was so easily able to survive the rigors of Mars. It is also probably that the ability to Transit, or whoosh, is innate in these immortals, John Carter believing that he learned it from Kar Komac who simply awakened the skill. John Carter learned Barsoomian very quickly, another aspect of the Immortal’s telepathy?**NOTE: Milo, John Carter and Maureen are immortal, ageless and telepathic. John Carter and Maureen possess the ability to Transit/Whoosh between the worlds. Does Milo also have this ability but never had the reason to explore it? Is there a connection between the three? Perhaps there is a connection between these three and the immortals of Connor and Duncan McLeod fame?With Maureen, her much stronger telepathy allowed her to communicate with all who she met, she simply in her immaturity, assumes that they all spoke English, the Horseclans people are easily able to understand her though she required a bit of time to understand them (hours?). Perhaps as they were speaking a variant of English, she COULD understand them but it took time for her to realize that she could.
When Milo tells her that she is 800 years post-WW-III, she now realizes that she can travel through time as well as space which explains how she spent only a couple weeks in Pellucidar but thought it was four years. She had traveled from 1981 Earth to 1985 Pellucidar then was delivered by underground machine to the surface, then off to future Earth. Thus, rather than being by-the-calendar 20 as she imagines, she is still only 16, her entire known adventures lasting only weeks.
During the battles she fights, Maureen mentions that this is her first taste of War, however she DID mention that she had killed Green Men and GREAT APES but not men! Note that while in Pellucidar, she never killed anything or anyone, thus indicating that she had had another adventure between Pellucidar and the Horseclans, one where she had killed a number of Great Apes. Could this be a trip to the Valley of the Palace of Diamands or Opar? [ref: The Jewels of Tarzan] Did she have an adventure where she rescued La from the followers of the men of Opar or did she rescue La from the Bolgani of the Valley of the Palace of Diamonds? Or did she save some ‘cute’ African Explorer or the teen-aged son of said explorer who managed to get captured by the Bolgani as his father was seeking Opar. Inquiring minds need to know.
Although not specifically dated, this was published in 1987 so it must have happened in 1986 or early 1987. At the end of the story, Elizabeth comments that she is 22 but Maureen still looks 16 and as Elizabeth was born in 1963, the year must be 1985. While Maureen was at the Earth’s Core, Elizabeth was in Cancun with a married dentist. By the beginning of this story, Elizabeth is married to a Doctor.NOTE: Maureen was able to appear in the exact bathroom in the exact hotel on the Isl of Bermuda at the exact time that Elizabeth is preparing for her honeymoon. This and her earlier arrival in Elizabeth’s apartment (that Maureen never knew existed) indicated that Maureen is focusing on her friend and so can Transit or ‘woosh’ to a specific person.OUR MODIFIED TIMELINE NOW IS:
1963- Elizabeth Speigleman is born.
1964- Maureen Birnbaum is born.
1977or 78- Rod Marquad is born. He will become an inventer and crimefighter.
1979, Aug- Maureen attends the Greenberg School as a Freshman and rooms with Elizabeth.
1979, Aug (?)- Maureen studies Fencing for 6 weeks under Ms Duplante as a Sophmore.
1981, 8 (?) Jan- Maureen goes to Mad River Glen Ski Resort in Vermont (20-30 miles west of Montpiler) to ski, dies of an unknown reason, and transits to Mars.
1981, 15 Jan 1982- Maureen returns to Earth, NYC. She stays in room 1623 of a well-known hotel within walking distance of 8th Avenue and 435th Street.
1981, 15 Jan- Maureen leaves Earth for Mars but lands in Pellucidar by mistake.
1981, Nov- Elizabeth gives Maureen’s adventure, two months early, the George Effinger who publishes it the following January in 1982.
1985, January 15- Maureen returns to Earth from Pellucidar and contacts Elizabeth who ignores her to spend a week with a married dentist. This was published in February 1986, a year and a month after it occurred.
1985, 16 Jan- Maureen leaves NYC for Mars but lands in Pellucidar. She claims to have remained there for four years but probably only a few weeks.
1985, late Dec- Ron Marquad summons his subterreine vehicle to rescue Maureen. He takes her through the earth to deliver her to a NYC subway platform. She is still wearing the gold g-string and bra as she sells a gem to a jeweler and visits the home of Elizabeth to record her story.
1985, Late Dec- Maureen leaves NYC and probably has other adventures.
Possibly one including La and the Bolgani of the Valley of the Palace of Diamonds from Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar.
Probably at least another adventure on another planet. Amtor or Vah-Nah?
1985- Maureen probably visits her parents, changes clothes, leaves for mars and lands in 2780.
C2780- Maureen arrives in Virginia, 800 years post WW-III and helps Milo fight the Horseclan’s Battle of Gettysburgh. She learns that she is immortal but has not yet accepted being ageless though this is mentioned by Elizabeth.
1986- Maureen probably returns to Earth, Bermuda to interrupt the honeymoon of Elizabeth. After telling her story, she leaves again passing Josh as she exits.
CONTINUED FROM PART II
Rick Johnson Feature Articles and Fiction in ERBzine
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