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Volume 1191

From the Steven Utley Collection

Recently, as I leafed (carefully) through some of the pulp magazines I store in my closet, I noticed a number of letters and features concerning Edgar Rice Burroughs and his contemporaries, and it occurred to me that ERBzine readers might be interested in seeing them. Bill Hillman has kindly given me the opportunity to test this theory. (He has also astonished me by telling me that there is something called “the Steven Utley Collection.” Here I'd been thinking it was just my stuff.)  Not daring to run crumbling ancient publications through an optical scanner or a photocopier—those of you who have your own closetloads of pulps will understand—I must resort to typing items into the computer, though they lose something defining (aromatic as well as visual) in the process. Fascinating (and all the more so for being unaccountable) typographical eccentricities and syntactic constructions are reproduced exactly from the magazines. As for the sense of certain pieces, it should be obvious that they were not products of painstaking scholarship. 
—Steven Utley

Pellucidar’s Creatures
[From Argosy, February 13, 1937, 
which featured the sixth and concluding installment of “Seven Worlds to Conquer”]

Readers of “Seven Worlds to Conquer,” will be interested in the fact that geologists recently discovered a deposit in Saskatchewan of prehistoric mammoth bones, bones of the giant mammoths, the same creatures which play roles in the story. 

Further digging disclosed, also, the remains of an ancient hippopotamus. The bones were in a pocket in the formation known as the oligocene period of the tertiary. Included in the find are the jaws of an unidentified animal. There are jaws and skulls of titanothere and elothere rhinoceri and hippopotami. In all, more than six hundred specimens have been unearthed, including jaws, limb bones and teeth—the remains of the great beasts which roamed the earth 25,000,000 years ago.

—Bernard Elas
© by the Frank A. Munsey Company

Burroughs of Barsoom
[From Amazing Stories, March 1949]

There is hardly any necessity to explain a single thing to any fantasy reader after just mentioning the name Burroughs. The name of Edgar Rice Burroughs is practically a household word in the United States—for that matter—the rest of the world. The fame of the man rests solidly on the series of yarns he has spun about Tarzan of the Apes. These books have been translated into practically every modern language and have sold by the million both here and abroad. Yes, Edgar Rice Burroughs is a legend in his own right. The Tarzan series have assured that.

But to the died-in-the-wool reader of fantasy fiction, the real aficionado, when the name Burroughs is mentioned, a different chord than “Tarzan” is struck. For the real fan of Burroughs thinks of him as the author not of Tarzan but of the “Martian” books.

Burroughs’ first story was “A Princess of Mars” and in the opinion of those who know, it was one of his best. Written during the first World War when such things as fantasy and science-fiction were as yet unformed, it created hardly a stir upon its publication in magazine form. In book form, a little later, it caught on and started a whole series of stories that will be immortal wherever the printed word is read.

It is almost superfluous to repeat any of the characters and names of places that Burroughs created in this series, for “Barsoom (Mars)”, “John Carter (hero)”, “Dejah Thoris (heroine)” and many others are as familiar to most readers as their own names.

In the Mars stories Burroughs used none of the elaborate paraphenalia that we usually connect with science-fiction. By an almost unexplained event he had his hero transferred from Earth to Mars by sort of a telepathic transportation. And the stories are nothing more than the adventures of the hero and a host of strange creatures that he met—some beautiful, some horrid.

The magic of the stories lies in the reality with which they are created. And they still convey that feeling today. It is possible to read “A Chessman of Mars” and still feel as if it were written yesterday. Such artistry is of the highest.

When reading these stories it was possible for the reader to so closely identify himself with the hero that it was almost as if one were living the book. And this was in spite of the frequent intrusion of the author. The stories were mostly told in the first person which aided very effectively in preserving the illusion of reality. Those readers who followed the Burroughs’ series on Mars in Amazing Stories a few years back will readily recall this.

It is the advice of any student or reader of fantasy and science-fiction that unless one has read the Burroughs stories, one has not lived. They are the essence and the prototype of all fantasies.

There have been hosts of imitators who have tried to capture a touch of the master—without success. He has an indefinable something that made and makes it impossible for an imitator to do justice to him.

Burroughs made no elaborate explanations in his stories for the events through which his heroes went; he simply described those events and in such a rich and flowing language that it is possible to remember the phrases always. When a Green Man attacked a warrior from Helium (the capitol city of Barsoom) you knew you were in for one of the most exciting descriptions of combat that you could imagine.

It is generally agreed that the Martian stories were Burroughs’ best; it is essential for anyone who wants a good knowledge of fantasy to read them. And they can be read again and again with the same sustained interested as they were begun with. The only trouble is that the stories end eventually.

—Lester Ryan Fletcher
© by Ziff-Davis Publishing Co

Mesozoic Reptiles
[From Amazing Stories, June 1949]

Geologists usually allot periods in the Earth’s history definite names to describe the characteristics of the time. Thus approximately a hundred and fifty million years ago, a period began which in its way was one of the most impressive of all time.

The period is called the Mesozoic Age or the Age of Reptiles. It was a time when most of the Earth was little more than a huge swamp, luxuriant and verdant, bristling with life and the habitat of monstrous beasts. The sea saw the development of gigantic crayfish and octopi. The land saw the development of huge and varied insects—the cockroach being one of the hardiest survivors of this period. But it was the dinosaurs who characterized the scene.

The reptiles, the hideous saurian creatures who inhabited this monstrous story-book world, are almost unbelievable, although they are as well known to the average person as the animals of the present day. Some of the dinosaurs reached a weight of a hundred and fifty tons—others as little as a few pounds. Flying reptiles assisted in making the scene one of incredible horror and ghastly magnificence.

For a description of this time, and a reasonably accurate one, as far as the reptiles and vegetation are considered, though grossly inaccurate in many other respects, is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ famous “The Land That Time Forgot.” No one reading this volume will ever forget the Mesozoic period. Here are described the gigantic Brontosaurus, the ravenous Tyrannosaurus, the ponderous Triceratops, with such fidelity as to stagger the mind.

Here, too, the flying reptiles are “delightfully” depicted. And they were of extreme importance, for they were the progenitors of the bird species, a closer link with our mammalian time than the great reptiles.

The speculation which surrounds the gradual disappearance of the Big Reptiles is great—and a good deal of it of questionable validity.

It has been suggested and with some endorsement by independent thinkers that some other creatures preyed on the reptiles. It is hard to think of anything preying on such huge beasts. They were physically greater than anything before which appeared, and they were the peak in what the earth is able to produce with regard to size—therefore, the only logical preying attacker could be the insect members of this fantastic world. Perhaps this was so, perhaps not, only more research and time can prove it one way or another.

—Pete Bog
© by Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.

Meet the Authors: Ralph Milne Farley
[From Amazing Stories, June 1939, which featured “The Radio Man Returns”] 
My first science-fiction story was “The Radio Man.” It recounts the landing of a projectile on my farm on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. The projectile contained an account of the adventures of my missing Harvard classmate, Myles Standish Cabot, greatest scientist of two worlds. While experimenting with the wireless transmission of matter, he accidentally transmitted himself to Venus, where he rescued the human race from domination by huge ants. Myles marries the beautiful princess Lilla. 

In “The Radio Beasts,” Myles returns to earth, visits me, and recounts further adventures. Myles’s son, Prince Kew, lawful heir to the throne of Cupia on Venus, had been deposed by the renegade Prince Yuri, friend of the antmen, but Myles had finally won. An SOS from Lilla interrupts Myles’s visit to my farm, and he transmits himself back to Venus by a huge radio set which he has built. 

I got the rest of his story via that radio, and told it in “The Radio Planet.” This one is really three novelettes, strung together. Myles lands on Venus on the wrong continent, the one to which the antmen had been banished. There he finds another human race and leads them to victory over the ants. Then, en route home, he flies to another continent inhabited by “Whoomangs,” a strange collection of pterodactyls and every kind of beast, who are rendered human by the insertion of a certain kind of maggot in their brains. Fleeing them, Cabot finally reached Cupia, kills Yuri, and places little Kew on the throne.

In “The Radio Menace,” the Whoomangs invade the Earth, but Myles Cabot appeared merely in the final scene when the victorious humans ship the last of the Whoomangs back to Venus. 

There has been such a demand among the fans for a return of my radio classmate, that I finally decided to bring him back to my thirtieth reunion this spring.

—Ralph Milne Farley, Harvard, 1909 
© by Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.
[Ralph Milne Farley was the pen name of Roger Sherman Hoar (1887-1963), descendant of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an interesting individual in his own right: teacher of mathematics and engineering, inventor of a system for aiming large guns by the stars, Massachusetts state senator, and author of works on constitutional and patent law. As Farley, he wrote not only Burroughsian interplanetary and inner-world yarns but also a number of archetypal time-travel-paradox stories, and seems to have been directly responsible for Ziff-Davis’ hiring Raymond A. Palmer in 1938 to edit Amazing Stories. Judging from Hoar’s signature on the Argosy letter below, he was less protective of his pseudonym than, say, Clark Kent is of his. —SU]

Paging Mr. LeFavour
[From “Argonotes, The Readers’ Viewpoint,” Argosy, June 7, 1930, 
which featured Part I of “The Radio Menace”]
A while ago we published a letter from Mr. James LeFavour, who was rather surprised to see himself in “The Radio Gun-Runners.” Ralph Milne Farley, author of that story and of “The Radio Menace,” which starts in this issue, replies: 
I have read with interest the letter from Mr. James LeFavour in the current Argosy. 

Please tell Mr. LeFavour that my almost invariable custom is to pattern the characteristics of each character after some one whom I know, and to twist the name of the model into a name for the character, sufficiently different so that no one will recognize the source except myself. 

Practically the only exception to this rule so far was the bane if the hero of “The Radio Gun-Runners.” That name merely came to me out of thin air. 

Accordingly it is not unlikely that Mr. LeFavour, who says he enjoys my stories, was reading one of them at the time I was writing “The Radio Gun-Runners,” and that his thoughts flashed across space and suggested his most uncommon name to me. In no other way can I explain the coincidence.


THE RADIO MAN, by Ralph Milne Farley. Fantasy Publishing Co.
[From "The Science Fictioneer: Fantasy Bookshelf," 
Conducted by Frederik Pohl, Super Science Stories, July 1949]
Myles Cabot, attempting to perfect a three-dimensional television transmitter, accidentally causes a short-circuit—and suddenly finds himself torn from his Boston laboratory and cast onto a beach in a strange world, which turns out to be Venus. He finds that the sunward planet is inhabited by a dominating race of intelligent ants, to whom the humans of the planet are slaves. Naturally, Myles goes to work to free Venusian humanity from its shackles, which he accomplishes with very little trouble.

On the artistic score, the credits the book earns for its attractive two-color jacket must be taken away again because of the inexcusably bad interior illustrations.

© by Popular Publications
[Other books reviewed in this column are: Without Sorcery, by Theodore Sturgeon; The Humanoids, by Jack Williamson; Divide and Rule and The Wheels of If, both by L. Sprague de Camp; Life Everlasting, by David H. Keller, M.D.; The Black Flame, by Stanley G. Weinbaum; The Grass is Always Greener, by George Malcolm Smith; Roads, by Seabury Quinn; Triplanetary and Skylark Three, both by Edward E. Smith, Ph.D.; and The Porcelain Magician, by Frank Owen. —SU]


Calling All Fantasy Fans
[From A. Merritt's Fantasy Magazine, December 1949]

It is with the utmost pleasure that we bring to you with this, our first issue of A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine, the best and most renowned works of one of the greatest masters in the field of fantasy writing—truly a master of spine-chilling fiction—A. MERRITT!

Since we are introducing a new magazine featuring the time-honored works of an author with whom you are no doubt already acquainted, let us for a minute or so outline our plans for your reading pleasure. It is our aim to bring you the complete works of Abraham Merritt. Being the fans that you are, you no doubt have read many of his books, but as you know, he was a prolific writer and his inimitable style has endeared him to millions of readers, so you will find in our new magazine, A. Merritt’s Fantasy, some familiar stories and some which are new to you.  Along with the full-length novel, we are planning to run another shorter length story by other prominent writers of fantasy. With these two features you will find 130 pages packed full of thrills and chills, designed to tingle the imagination and lift you out of the realm of reality into the world of fantasy.

Since the works of Mr. Merritt have inspired the creation of this new magazine, it is only fitting that we devote the rest of our column to a short review of his life and works.  Abraham Merritt was born on January 20, 1884, in Beverly, New Jersey. He began his newspaper career as a reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer and later became night editor of the paper. In 1912 he joined The American Weekly and was the editor of that widely circulated Sunday newspaper magazine section from 1937 until his death in 1943. However, Mr. Merritt was perhaps best known as a writer of fantasy fiction. His books included The Ship of Ishtar, The Moon Pool, Seven Footprints to Satan, The Face in the Abyss, The Woman of the Wood, Dwellers in the Mirage, Burn, Witch, Burn and of course, Creep, Shadow, which we are bringing to you in this issue.

Beside this fiction he wrote many treatises on archeology and witchcraft. His work has the ring of authenticity and with good reason, for Mr. Merritt’s interest in the mysteries of witchcraft and the weird practices of the ancient cults was so great that he did extensive experimental work in his own backyard. In the garden of his home he raised various poisonous herbs and plants. While experimenting with mandrake, a poisonous plant used by the Babylonians some 3000 years ago, he was inspired to write the story, Burn, Witch, Burn, and if you have read that one, you will well remember the terrifying Madame Mandelip, the witch and protagonist of the tale. Mr. Merritt did such thorough and intensive research that he was recognized as an authority on the ancient use of poisons and death-dealing potions of antiquity.

And so, Fantasy Fans, with this thumbnail sketch of Abraham Merritt and his famous books, we hope that you will become as enthusiastic about our new magazine as we are. In the February issue we are presenting Three Lines of Old French, a suspense-filled tale written in Mr. Merritt’w own unforgettable fashion. You will also find in our next issue George Challis’ Smoking Land.

So here’s to you fans and your reading enjoyment! Let’s hear from you—let us know what you think of our new A. Merritt’s Fantasy.

The February issue will be at your favorite newsstand on January 4th. Don’t miss it!

—The Editor
© by Popular Publications


Editor of Argosy:
[From “Argonotes, The Readers’ Viewpoint,” Argosy, February 6, 1932,
which featured Part III of “The Dwellers in the Mirage”]

Now and then I read a letter in your “Argonotes” expressing doubt as to the scientific accuracy of this or that un my stories,  Now and then I read letters from people who quite simply and frankly say they don’t like them. With the latter, I haven’t the least quarrel. If one doesn’t like something, I can’t, for the life of me, see why they shouldn’t say so. As the old rhyme goes—“Some like their pudding hot, Some like it cold, Some like it in the pot, Nine days old.” The Lord knows everybody is entitled to pick his own pudding—prohibitionists to the contrary. I pick mine.

But I am a bit sensitive concerning criticisms of my scientific accuracy.

I write entirely to please myself, what pleases me, as I please and when I please. I honestly don’t take into consideration whether what I write will please others. That isn’t any “high hat.”  I just can’t write any other way. I know that some will like what I’ve written. And I warm up to those unknown but sympathetic souls. I know they’re people I’d like to talk to, and who probably would get some enjoyment out of talking to me. As for the others, well, there are any number of entirely worthy folk who wouldn’t enjoy talking to me at all, and who would leave me quite cold if I met them. And they are probably just as interesting to others, or as interested in others, as those who like what I write would be in me or to me. But if I had to think, every sentence or idea—“Will they like this or won’t they?”—I couldn’t write anything. So I write what I like, and when I read that someone likes it, too, I say—“I’m damned glad.”  And when they write they don’t, I say—“Well, why should you?”  And that’s that.

But the question of accuracy is entirely different. There was some criticism of “The Snake Mother.” Some even called it a “fairy tale.” That was rather funny, because, for example, if all the novelists and playwrights who have rewritten Cinderella could be laid head to foot they would reach to the moon and back. And every so-called “realistic” story can be paralleled in plot by Grimm and Hans Andersen. However, there is not a single scientific statement in “The Snake Mother” that cannot be substantiated. If any one, even at this late date, desires to ask any question about it I will be glad to answer him. Or her.

And now, for the benefit of those who may question, or of my friends who may be questioned about the accuracy of the scientific framework of “The Dwellers in the Mirage,” I would like to say that is entirely sound.

The bulk of criticism, if any, will probably be directed at the idea of the Little People. I refer these critics to the Nineteenth Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, J. W. Powell, Director. In this will be found an exhaustive account of the legends of the Yun’wi Tsundi’, or dwarf race the Cherokees ran across when they came to the “New World” from Asia. It includes evidence of the Little People’s occupancy of certain parts of Tennessee into post-Civil War times. A very able investigator, Mr. James Mooney—see ibid.—is authority for this.

I particularly call the attention of those interested enough to read this report to the significance of the simple account of the visit of a hunting party of the Cherokees to a debased tribe of the Little People in Florida, and its remarkable resemblance to the story of Herodotus concerning the storks and the pygmies. Certainly this is not the kind of story the bigoted missionaries, or perhaps I should just say missionaries, would have told the Indians. It must, therefore, pre-date the arrival of the white plague in America.

As for the Kraken, I myself have seen its symbol carved high on the Andean peaks by hands thousands of years dead, and listened to Indians telling me of the Destroyer of Life.

As for the alternating personality theme, read Dr. J. Morton Prince’s “Dissociation of a Personality” and see how conservative I have been.

The Alaskan valley?  None knows how startled I was when last October I read on the first page of the New York Times of the discovery of a tropical valley in that locality where summer reigned even when the outside temperature was forty degrees below zero!

Enough of explanations. I hope your readers will enjoy the tale. Those who do not will find plenty to enjoy in the other pages of your most excellent magazine.

Very truly,
A. Merritt
New York City


The Readers Write
[From “The Reader’s Viewpoint,” Argosy, June 11, 1927]

I have read the Argosy for the past six or seven years and found it the best all-around recreation magazine on the market. Your stories are nearly all good, but, like others, I have my own particular authors. For instance, I like E. R. Burroughs the best for highly imaginative tales; “The War Chief,” which I am reading at present is excellent; he tells the Red Man’s story to perfection. Charles Francis Cole knows how to write Western stories, and, by the way, I like the Argosy better as it is now, not too many Westerns. “Those Lima Eyes,” by Fred MacIsaac, was a very enjoyable story. More of the same, Fred!

There are a few stories which do not appeal to me, such as “Land of the Free”; this story seems to me to be wrongly named. “Thundering Dawns” and “Battle Sight” were fair stories, but for certain reasons I do not favor stories of this type.

How about more yarns from the author who wrote about the fellow that went to Venus or Mars?  Carter, I think the hero’s name was. It’s been quite awhile since I read the last one. I’ve almost forgotten it.

Here’s luck to the Argosy, and may it continue to dish up what the majority of us subscribers like.

J. G. P.
Millerdale, Saskatchewan, Canada


[From “Argonotes, the Readers’ Viewpoint,” Argosy, September 12, 1936]

I am writing this letter to inform you that a very important branch of Argosy fiction is being sadly neglected. This is the pseudo-science or “fantastic” as some people insist on calling it. Where is Edgar Rice Burroughs? Will we ever get that long anticipated Tarzan serial? Another of my favorites is Kline. How about a Mars or Venus story such as “The Pirates of Venus.” A. Merritt will do in a pinch but I don’t care for his type of story. Looking back a bit, I would just like to mention a few of the pseudo-science stories which I think were excellent. They are “Caves of Ocean,” “The Hothouse World,” “Pirates of Venus,” “Tarzan and the City of Gold,” “Jan of the Jungle,” “Creep Shadow.” How about a moon or a center-of-the-earth story?

However, I still think Argosy is the cleanest magazine and the best buy on the market.

Fred Bender
Chicago, Ill.
We are most happy, Mr. Bender, to suggest that you look at page 132 of this issue.  There you’ll find an item of interest. Mr. Burroughs has also promised another story that will appear shortly after Tarzan. And, maybe, with Burroughs setting such an example, we can convince Kline and Merritt to follow.

[Two thirds of page 132 is given over to the following announcement:]

The Triumphant Return of TARZAN

War-drums boom in the jungle depths of the dark continent. Nations drunk with conquest lavish golden bribes on savage chiefs—fanning the spark of massacre that may blossom into the flame of world-conflict…. Battleships and roaring planes and the might of armies are helpless to stay it now. It is a task that only one many alive can accomplish—and Tarzan of the Apes answers the challenge. The Lord of the Jungle Wild plunges into his greatest adventure!

It is not the claws of Numa, the lion, he must fear. He knows the way to fight against panther and eagle and death-fanged snake. But can the power of his mighty hands rip asunder the occult welt of the Kaji that steals away the brains of men? Can he conquer the sinister force that radiates murder across the miles? How can he steel himself against the spears and darts of those warrior-women who are as cruel as they are beautiful?... You will find the absorbing answers in Edgar Rice Burroughs' newest and most enthralling story—

Begin it in next week's All-Star Issue of ARGOSY]


[From “Argonotes, The Readers’ Viewpoint,” Argosy, March 18, 1939]

Here’s a resounding rap over the knuckles from a gentleman who did not like the latest Burroughs serial. Although we cannot agree with his somewhat didactic refusal to take what seemed to us to be an enchanting and unusual piece of tomfoolery as that and no more, we admire his Spartan decision about what to do about it.

Are you such blind worshippers of former Tarzanian reputation that you dignify the nauseating, synthetic Mars-Men phantasmagoria with presentation to your readers?

With due allowances for poetic license, one cannot swallow such crass nonsense nohow, utterly devoid of any astronomical, geographical, biological, physical and metaphysical verisimilitude. What a let-down after the lofty tenor and dignity of your usual material. 

I cannot do without Argosy every week, but shall take pains to skip the remaining five parts of the absurd synthetic Martian false prophecies.

E. M. Smola
New York City

An open letter to Hollywood from a confused but eager-to-be-enlightened Tarzan-devotee:
 [From “Argonotes, The Readers’ Viewpoint,” Argosy, September 9, 1939]
The Hon. Mr. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 
Dear Leo: 
In a restless moment the other sultry night, we went to see your film, Tarzan Finds a Son. That was the one, in case you don’t remember, in which the Lord of the Jungle had a baby laid on his doorstep by a careless aeroplane. 
When some English rascals came along to take him back to London, Tarzan—for some reason which was never entirely clear—refused to give him up. (The English rascals only wanted him for his money; otherwise they wouldn’t have been caught dead with him around the house, and I don’t blame them.) 

The picture ends on a distinctly somber note: Tarzan gets to keep the boy—and I’ll bet he regrets that by now; and Ian Hunter, who has hitherto escaped the bitter fate of cinematic marriage to people like Kay Francis and Jeannette MacDonald, is more or less dismantled by bloodthirsty savages. 

All this merely to refresh your memory. What we’re really trying to get straightened out are the baffling blood-ties of the Greystoke clan. We distinctly remember, when Mr. Burroughs first started to write about Tarzan in this magazine, that Tarzan was the missing Earl of Greystoke, sole male survivor of that distinguished and fantastically wealthy family.
But in Tarzan Finds a Son, the other characters keep murmuring that Boy (Tarzan called him that—I should have preferred Little Scorpion) is the nephew of Lord Greystoke. Tarzan’s nephew, do you mean? But in that case Tarzan would have had just as much right to be his guardian as Ian Hunter and Frieda Inescourt, who played lesser Greystokes.

Or is this entirely some other branch of the family? Do all Greystokes become Missing Heirs the moment they get near the Africa jungles? Can’t any of those people ever get where they’re going without being abducted by gorillas or wrecked in a plane? The Dithering Greystokes, that’s the way we’ll have to think of them. Why, they can’t even cross Piccadilly Circus without becoming hopelessly lost. So whatever makes them think they could cope with the Dark Continent?

At this rate, the Greystokes are going to be in a dandy spot to hold a Big Family Get-Together just west of Mombesi. We’ll try to make it if we can possibly get there. Meanwhile, could you straighten the Greystoke genealogy out for us a little?

Your admirer, 
Hamilcar Ishwerwood (né Greystoke)


[From Famous Fantastic Mysteries, March 1945]

I have just received the Sept. 1944 F.F.M. and as per my usual custom, I read through the letters from the readers first, and have already begun reading “The Day of the Brown Horde” which promises to be very good. In this issue, I particularly enjoyed the letter of A. H. L. and I share many of his opinions.

I am a minister and now working on my Doctor’s degree. (I already have my B.A., B.D., and Th. M. degrees.)  However, this does not keep me from reading FANTASY—and this type of reading proves a wholesome diversion from my regular reading and study. I have many hundreds of magazines in my collection but it was not until a few months ago that I saw my first copy of F.F.M. The only reason I didn’t begin buying F.F.M. with the first issue was because of its title. I don’t particularly care for “mysteries” and naturally supposed that a magazine labeled a “mystery” magazine would contain this type of stories. As soon as I realized what F.F.M. was I began researching back copies and now have all five Fantastic Novels and all but three F.F.M. The three I lack are Dec. 1939 and April and August 1940. If any readers have these issues in duplicate I would like to hear from them. Incidentally, I have picked up about a dozen duplicate F.F.M.s which I’ll trade.

Looking back through the letters from the readers, I find some of unusual interest. Three individuals who had outstanding ideas in their letters were Cecil M. Hinote, Chas. W. Wolfe, and Stanley Haynes. I agree with these and hundreds of readers who want the best in Fantasy whether it be reprint or not. The best source for most of the best fantasy is of course, the old Munsey publications.

I am a collector of Edgar Rice Burroughs and have all fifty-five of his books in the first edition, including the two rare “Tarzan Twin” books. I even have book jackets for all these except two. I have the only five A. L. Burt reprints and a number of foreign editions in German, Spanish, Bohemian, Esperanto, British, etc. I would like to find more of these, and also ERB big-little books, book jackets, and Tarzan comics from newspapers.

I also have the majority of ERB in its original magazine form. I still lack a few older story parts from All-Story, All Story-Cavalier, Argosy-All Story, New Story and reprint stories from Modern Mechanix and Invention. I would be interested in hearing from fans who may have duplicate ERB magazine parts. I have saved a large number of duplicate parts which I would trade.

I believe I am one of the few collectors to have all four of the early and very rare ERB stories that never had book publication—“The Man-Eater” (Ben, King of Beasts) from N.Y. Evening World, “Beyond Thirty” from Feb. 1916 All Around Magazine, “The Girl From Farris’s” from All-Story Weekly and “The Efficiency Expert” from Argosy-All Story.

To complete my files I need a number of copies of Argosy, All-Story, Cavalier, Amazing Quarterly, Blue Book, New Magazine, “New Story” Magazine and All Around Magazine.

In closing I want to thank the editors of the finest of all the fantasy magazines for their courtesy in printing this letter.

Rev. Darrel C. Richardson
Ormsby Village, Anchorage, Kentucky


[From  “What Do You Think?” Fantastic Novels, July 1949]

It is gratifying to read so purely atmospheric a piece as Leinster’s “The Man Planet”, which achieves a quality of other-worldliness not completely separated from reality. Stories like this, along with Merritt’s and a few others, gave rise to the Munsey legend in fantasy. Few writers of the present era manage to inject the atmosphere of the non-ordinary into their work; Ray Bradbury, in his better moments, and C. L. Moore, are exceptions. They deal mostly in fantasy, while Leinster’s novelette was a fine blend of both fantasy and science-fiction. A tale of “The Mad Planet’s” calibre makes me wonder if perhaps the “good old days” of fantasy pulp fiction were really a couple of decades ago, as has often been claimed.

Of late there have been some signs of confusion in your letter sections, mostly about Burroughs’ titles. Mr. Coriell, in the February F.F.M., informed some people about “The Red Star of Tarzan”; now, in the March F.N. a Mr. Latimer is well-informed on unpublished Burroughs titles with the exception of the novel “Land of Hidden Men”. I should like to add to the general confusion: “Land of Hidden Men” was published as “Jungle Girl”. Burroughs had a habit of changing titles of magazine serials when they were issued between hard covers.

The other stories mentioned are novelettes; only one, “The Resurrection of Jimber Jaw”, appeared in Argosy. “Tarzan and the Champion” and “Beyond the Farthest Star” were in Blue Book in the issues April, 1940 and January 1942 respectively. “Tarzan and the Jungle Murders” (an atrocious tale, by the way, and as unlike Burroughs as the Weissmuller movies) can be found in the June 1940 number of Thrilling Adventures. And most fans know that “The Scientist’s Revolt” was the lead story for the second issue of Fantastic Adventures, July, 1939.

But Charles Miller and others need not despair in their enthusiastic search for unpublished “Tarzan” novels. There is one, serialized in Argosy for August 23, August 30, and September 6, 1941. It was entitled “The Quest of Tarzan”, which is not to be confused with the published novel “Tarzan’s Quest”, which was called “Tarzan and the Immortal Men” as a Blue Book serial. It is perplexing, isn’t it? The Argosy “Quest” was illustrated by Virgil Finlay and I do not have copies for sale. It wasn’t a very good story anyway, using several old Burroughs gimmicks, but as good as most Burroughs stuff that came out after 1935.

Since there is a new reprint edition of “Tarzan”, “Mars” and “Venus” stories available for a dollar, with more scheduled for the future and because practically all of “the old master’s” novels can be obtained from fantasy book dealers at more or less reasonable prices, I’d suggest you avoid bringing out any “Mars”, “Venus” or “Pellucidar” etc., adventures; only a rare item like “Beyond Thirty,” originally a newspaper serial, would be acceptable. As for Kline, for whom I note many demands in the letter column of late, I’d say “no” again. For, while in the Burroughs tradition, Kline’s efforts lacked the atmosphere apparent in the early John Carter books. One exception is probably Kline’s “Planet of Peril”; otherwise his writings were merely cloak-and-swords antics transported to other worlds.

I’d enjoy more bits like “The Mad Planet”, which is an ambiguous request, but anyway, less adventure and more effect, and writing ability like Leinster’s.

John Bernard

The critic John Simon -- fluent in Serbo-Croatian, Hungarian, German, and French before he got around to English -- writes in the introduction to his 1980 work, PARADIGMS LOST: REFLECTIONS ON LITERACY AND ITS DECLINE:

"On the eve of my departure for the United States I had to relearn my English in another crash course at home from the Dickensianly named Mr. Foggit, an odd-looking, whimsical tutor who may have been a British secret agent.  I picked Edgar Rice Burroughs's Martian novels for us to read, partly because I was in love with their shocking-pink heroine, Princess Dejah Thoris, the color of whose skin matched that of her planet.  My fiercely hatchet-faced yet gently balding tutor supplemented our reading with tales of his love life, including episodes involving a small, delicated redhead named Madge, who liked making love in the shower where her skin was as pink, I assume, as that of Dejah Thoris.  No wonder English became eroticized for me, what with a rutilant princess and a dainty redhead with a steamily rubescent epidermis."

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