The First and Only Online Fanzine Devoted to the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Master of Imaginative Fantasy Adventure
Creator of Tarzan and "Grandfather of American Science Fiction"
THE RED STAR OF TARZAN / TARZAN AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY
DIFFERENCES Pt 1 (...to be continued)The six Argosy Magazine installments of The Red Star of Tarzan from March 19 through April 23, 1938 eventually evolved into the novel Tarzan and the Forbidden City but there are many differences between the magazine serial and the finished novel.
One theory is that the story outline was first written by ERB as an outline for the Tarzan radio serial and later was adapted to first the magazine serial and then the novel.
Another theory is that the story outline was written by ERB early in his writing career – possibly between The Beasts of Tarzan and The Eternal Lover -- but expanded by one or more different writers in 1938 for the Argosy story, The Red Star of Tarzan. Here it was updated with many contemporary references from the late ‘30s. In any case, the Argosy serial was later almost completely re-written as Tarzan and the Forbidden City. Except for an occasional shared sentence or paragraph, each story is a separate piece of writing throughout.
Case for having being written earlier:
The Foreward depicts Tarzan as not being as widely known by the natives as he certainly was later in the series.
D’Arnot still holds the rank of captain but was promoted to Admiral in Son of Tarzan.
Tarzan is often referred to as a young man.
The phrase in Chapter XXIII reads, “that wild ape-tongue that of all men only Tarzan knew” seems to pre-date the inclusion of Korak and Meriem – as well as the old man in TGL and Balza in TLM - in this exclusive club.
THE STORYThe broad outline of the two stories is the same:
Tarzan’s old friend, Paul d’Arnot, enlists his aid in a search for Brian Gregory, who has disappeared while hunting for the forbidden city of Ashair and its treasure, the Father of Diamonds. The expedition led by Tarzan includes Brian Gregory’s father, his sister Helen, and a mysterious girl named Magra (actually an agent of the evil Eurasian, Atan Thome, and his East Indian henchman, Lal Taask). The villains, as well as the protagonists, reach the crater of the extinct volcano Tuen-Baka. Its outer walls are haunted by survivors of the age of dinosaurs. Inside is Lake Horus, on opposite sides of which are two warring cities of a primitive civilization: Ashair (ruled by Queen Atka) and Thobos (ruled by King Heart). Under the lake is the temple of the god Bruler, and the Father of Diamonds. After many adventures, Tarzan frees Brian Gregory from Ashair, the evil Queen Atka is deposed, and the Oriental villains are killed.
The book has Thome and Taask kidnap Helen Gregory, hoping that by using her as hostage they can persuade her father go give them his map of Ashair. The serial contains no such episode – for when the story opens, Thome has already stolen the map. The white hunter, Wolff, who is so loathsome in FC, does not appear in RS at all. In the book, Tarzan’s group is attacked by apes, who steal Magra; Tarzan rescues her by defeating the king ape. The serial omits this, but has the same apes steal Helen from her cannibal captors; Tarzan rescues her in the same way as he rescues Magra in the book. (FC has Helen rescued from the cannibals by Tarzan) Two dinosaur episodes appear in the serial only and many other differences occur in the same portion of the story.
Generally, FC relates common events associated with dinosaurs more simply and directly than RS, which tends to be discursive and repetitious. Many references to dinosaurs, pterodactyls and other pre-historic beasts omitted from the book.This contrast is less true of the later chapters. Still, numerous discrepancies do exist.
One of the most impressive differences is in the treatment of Queen Atka. In RS she is presented more fully and dramatically.
The “red star” in the RS title is never referred to in FC, but the prologue, omitted from the book, has the following clue:
“He was big in the smoke,” the witch-doctor said, “and red was the danger-star behind him… The red star will lead him to a world long dead and forgotten… the fire star –“
OPENING SCENARIO AND LOCALE
Tarzan had “travelled fast and far” to hold a pre-arranged meeting with Ogabi on the outskirts of Bobolo – a town on the Congo River hundreds of miles inland. We are not told where he had travelled from.
The story opens near the village of Loango – an Atlantic Ocean port town which lies 100 miles north of the mouth of the Congo River. Tarzan is “Lolling at his ease on the back of Tantor” when, to his surprise, Ogabi comes searching for him. Loango is later described as a squalid little village when in actuality, when the story was supposed to have taken place, it was a rail terminus with a population of 12,000. Geographical errors then have crept into the book version.
We are told of a letter to Tarzan, and of his many miles of travelling to meet with the native, Ogabi.
D’Arnot sends Ogabi from Loango hoping that he will locate Tarzan somewhere in the vast African jungle.
This does not seem logical or feasible.
The descriptions of the great apes and Tarzan are not as ERB would have written them:
“For swarming over the palisade, filling the brief hush with bestial howls, swarmed a shaggy troop of lumbering giants – man-like things that brandished great clubs as they swarmed to attack. ‘Kree-gah’ they screamed, the war-cry of the gorilla, greatest of apes.”
When the great apes speak their dialogue is written in broken English – something ERB never did. Furthermore, the adult apes are uncharacteristically shown playing games. Even the descriptions of the ape-man are not typically Burroughs – he is described as being massive and bewildered.
“Tarzan does not like big village. It is full of bad smells and sickness and men and other evils. Tarzan no go.” (p. 9)
“The ptomes stripped off Helen’s clothes then dressed her in the same sort of skin-tight suit and helmet that they wore.” (Ch. XX)
“The ptomes entered, removed the girl’s outer clothing and dressed her in the water suit.”
In RS the priest Brulor gave Helen to Zytheb as his handmaiden, whereas in FC he married them.
...to be continued...
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