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Volume 3962
Amazing: February 1927 - Land That Time Forgot
J. Allen St. John: Land That Time Forgot - 4 interior sepia plates
Ace paperback: Roy G. Krenkel art
Ace paperback: Roy G. Krenkel art
Ace paperback: Roy G. Krenkel art

Part One
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
(Dedicated to George McWhorter)

“It must have been a little after three o’clock in the afternoon that it happened – the afternoon of June 3rd, 1916. It seems incredible that all that I have passed through – all those weird and terrifying experiences – should have been encompassed within so short a span as three brief months. Rather might I have experienced a cosmic cycle, with all its changes and evolutions for that which I have seen with my own eyes in this brief interval of time – things that no other mortal eye had seen before, glimpses of a world past, a world dead, a world so long dead that even in the lowest Cambrian stratrum no trace of it remains. Fused with the melting inner crust, it has passed forever beyond the ken of man other than in that lost pocket of the earth whither fate has borne me and where my doom is sealed. I am here and here must remain.” (LTF/1.)
Those are the opening lines of The Land that Time Forgot, the title of the first book of the trilogy as well as the Caspakian Trilogy as a whole. The other two books in the Trilogy are The People that Time Forgot and Out of Time’s Abyss. These three books form the three trimesters of revelation about Caspakian evolution that the overall work offers the reader. Moreover, this trilogy comprises most of the published work of ERB during 1917 – the year the USA entered the First World War. It is safe to assume, from the dates that appear in the story itself (see above), that ERB began writing the first book on June 3, 1916.

At the ERBzine C.H.A.S.E.R site (ERBzine # 0766), it is boldly stated that ERB began writing the trilogy in September 1917, with a working title for the first book, “The Lost U-boat,” which makes sense, seeing that most of the time the story takes place on board the U-33. This means the USA was already actively involved in WWI when ERB began writing, making the series all the more war propaganda. It is stated that he began writing the third book of the trilogy, Out of Time’s Abyss, in May 1918, six months before the conclusion of WWI. So there was never a time ERB was writing this trilogy that the USA was not at war with Germany. Who says a double negative can’t sound right?

Although it is true that David Bruce Bozarth (“Tangor”) and Rick Johnson have covered Caspak in detail (see, “Caspak: The Land that Time Forgot”; “A Caspak Glossary”; and “Caspak is an Enigma”; at, I may still have a thing or two to add. (See, also, the insightful “Caspak in Review,” by Steve Servello, ERBzine #2120, as well as the many 25 ERBzine references below.) First and foremost is the very strange way ERB has gone about in the telling of the story.

It begins with the viewpoint of the first person lines quoted above, which are allegedly from a journal written by Bowen J. Tyler, Jr., discovered some time later in a bottle that washed ashore in Greenland. The finder of the bottle and journal, an “unidentified narrator” (Bozarth identifies him as ERB, but we will call him U.N. from now on for the reasons stated below). The U.N. then picks up the story, also in the first person, narrating how he found the bottle with its long message. Then – hold on to your hats! – the story again shifts back to Bowen Tyler’s point of view, who, in the journal, finishes the story begun above, ending with his signature, as well as that of his common law wife’s. And that’s just for the first trimester. In fact, except for the last book of the trilogy, which is told in the third person – primarily from Bradley’s point of view – the first two books, regardless of the narrator, are told in the first person.

The second book begins again in the first person, told from the point of view of the U.N., who tells the story of how he and Tom Billings, the assistant secretary of Bowen Tyler, Sr., organized a relief mission to rescue Tyler, Jr. and whoever else survived their ill-fated voyage to Caspak. That narration comes to a sudden end at the end of Chapter One when Billings disappears in his airplane over the forbidding outward cliffs of the island Caprona, into the forbidding interior of Caspak. Chapter Two then shifts quite abruptly without notice to the first person narration of Billings, who finishes the story. In fact the shift is so abrupt, it takes a second to realize that someone else other than the U.N. is narrating.

As mentioned, the third story is told entirely in the omniscient third person, but we can assume that the U.N. is telling the story for the sake of continuity. Structurally, as a whole, the narration of the Caspakian Trilogy appears as thus:

1) Bowen Tyler (in the first person from his journal);
2) The U.N. (in the first person);
3) Bowen Tyler (in the first person from his journal);
4) The U.N. (in the first person);
5) Billings (an abrupt shift, in the first person);
6) The U.N. (an assumption; told in the third person from Bradley’s point of view).
As can be seen, this is a very complex, and sometimes confusing, narrative structure. Either ERB was experimenting, or having fun, or both. Anyway, it is not half as interesting as the story itself.

I have no dispute with Mr. Bozarth over the identity of the U.N. I mean, after all, since ERB wrote the story it is a logical assumption that he expected his readers to believe that was the U.N. As we know from the Barsoomian Mythos, it was not uncommon for ERB to give fake backgrounds to his story were he was a major character. (See, “The Epiphanies of John Carter and the Fake Autobiographies of ERB,” ERBzine 3908 and ERBzine 3311.)

What is different, however, between the Barsoomian Mythos and the Caspakian Trilogy, is that in the Mythos, ERB identifies himself specifically as John Carter’s nephew. In contrast, there is no way of positively identifying the U.N. in the Trilogy by any other information than that which is given...which, as we shall see, is bleak.

A. The Unidentified Narrator (U.N.)
This is the man who finds the journal hidden in the bottle. His purpose, of course, is to establish a foundation for the suspension of disbelief to follow. ERB had a lot of fun with how this story is told, for the personalities of Tyler, Billings, and Bradley differ widely. Tyler is an idiot when it comes to trusting blood-thirsty, double-dealing, back-stabbing Prussian nobility, who has a very non-John Carter defeatist philosophy of life. Billlings is more worldly, but his weakness for adventure and discovery, like that of Tarzan’s in Tarzan at the Earth's Core, is reckless and puts everyone’s hope of rescue in dire peril. And last of all, Bradley is the utmost pragmatist, whose running joke line is the conservation of ammunition. From all these different points of view, Caspak is revealed, much as the life of Jesus must be pieced together from the biased and heavily redacted sources which make up the New Testament.

I will now quote from the Trilogy what material there is about the U.N., and then you can compare for yourself that material with that of what we know about the real life of ERB. After the quote above from Tyler’s message in a bottle, the U.N. then begins his account of finding the manuscript:

“After reading this far, my interest, which already had been stimulated by the finding of the manuscript, was approaching the boiling-point. I had come to Greenland for the summer, on the advice of my physician, and was slowly being bored to extinction, as I had thoughtlessly neglected to bring sufficient readingmatter. Being an indifferent fisherman, my enthusiasm for this form of sport soon waned; yet in the absence of other forms of recreation I was now risking my life in an entirely inadequate boat off Cape Farewell at the southernmost extremity of Greenland.” (The Land that Time Forgot, Chapter One [LTF/1].)
I don’t believe the real ERB ever traveled to Greenland on the advice of a doctor. Thus, in my opinion, the narrator is a fictional character created to achieve the purpose of giving the story an element of pseudo-historical truth, since the story itself is so fantastic. The U.N. is thus the bridge between the writer and the reader, the trusted charlatan that guides the reader’s imagination into realms of wonder. Remember, in 1917 many places in the world were still unexplored and full of mystery; the reading public fantasized about lost continents and peoples and openings at the poles into a hollow earth, and were open to suspending their disbelief in these matters, as modern audiences are willing to do so with UFO’s, Ancient Astronauts, and the Bermuda Triangle. The U.N. continues:
“Greenland! As a descriptive appellation, it is a sorry joke – but my story had nothing to do with Greenland, nothing to do with me; so I shall get through with the one and the other as rapidly as possible.” (LTF/1.)
The reader can immediately perceive how effective this technique is. The fact that the U.N. gives us information about Greenland, and then tells us to forget it lends credibility to the narration and adds excitement, mystery, and adventure to what is to come.
“The inadequate boat finally arrived at a precarious landing, the natives, waist-deep in the surf, assisting. I was carried ashore, and while the evening meal was being prepared, I wandered to and fro along the rocky, shattered shore. Bits of surf-harried beach clove the worn granite, or whatever the rocks of Cape Farewell may be composed of, and as I followed the ebbing tide down one of these soft stretches, I saw the thing. Were one to bump into a Bengal tiger in the ravine behind the Bimini Baths, one could be no more surprised than I was to see a perfectly good quart thermos bottle turning and twisting in the surf of Cape Farewell at the southern extremity of Greenland. I rescued it, but I was soaked above the knees doing it; and then I sat down in the sand and opened it, and in the long twilight read the manuscript, neatly written and tightly folded, which was its contents.
“You have read the opening paragraph, and if you are an imaginative idiot like myself, you will want to read the rest of it; so I shall give it to you here, omitting quotation marks – which are difficult of remembrance. In two minutes you will forget me.” (LTF/1.)
Being ignorant of the Bimini Baths, I Googled it and discovered that the baths were a popular Los Angeles destination between 1900 and 1950, especially for the Hollywood crowd. Not only ERB, but stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Charlie Chaplin used to frolic in the thermal hot springs that bubbled up freely under the baths. Information from the Bresee Foundation, which currently controls the property, states:
“It was first built in 1900 by Dr. David Edwards who decided to take advantage of the natural hot springs that still exist in the ground beneath the street today. Five years later, this original wooden structure burned to the ground.... It was rebuilt more magnificent than before, with hot and cold water pools, an upper floor gymnasium, café, game room and lots more. The H street car brought tourists from downtown Los Angeles to Bimini. Hollywood movie stars stayed in the apartment buildings and the grand hotel across the street (all of which are still there!), and kids took their first plunge in a pool at Bimini as there were few private and no public swimming pools in Los Angeles at the time.” (
I surmised that ERB must have known this place intimately since he refers to the ravine behind it. He probably used the baths on one of his visits to Los Angeles during this period. 

Anyway, the reference to the baths gives another element of credibility to the story, which now shifts back to the manuscript and Tyler’s narration. We don’t hear from our U.N. again until the first chapter of The People that Time Forgot, where he first relates how, after reading Tyler’s manuscript, he delivered it to Tyler’s father in Santa Monica, California.

“I am forced to admit that even though I had traveled a long distance to place Bowen Tyler’s manuscript in the hands of his father, I was still a trifle skeptical as to its sincerity since Bowen had been one of the most notorious practical jokers of his alma mater. The truth was that as I sat in the Tyler library in Santa Monica I commenced to feel a trifle foolish and to wish that I had merely forwarded the manuscript by express instead of bearing it personally, for I confess that I do not enjoy being laughed at. I have a well-developed sense of humor – when the joke is not on me.
“Mr. Tyler, Sr., was expected almost hourly. The last steamer in from Honolulu had brought information of the date of the expected sailing of his yacht Toreador, which was now twenty-four hours overdue. Mr. Tyler’s assistant secretary, who had been left at home, assured me that there was no doubt but that the Toreador had sailed as promised, since he knew his employer well enough to be positive that nothing short of an act of God would prevent his doing what he had planned to do. I was also aware of the fact that the sending apparatus of the Toreador’s wireless equipment was sealed, and that it would only be used in event of dire necessity. There was, therefore, nothing to do but wait, and we waited.
“We discussed the manuscript and hazarded guesses concerning it and the strange events it narrated. The torpedoing of the liner upon which Bowen J. Tyler, Jr., had taken passage for France to join the American Ambulance was a well-known fact, and I had further substantiated by wire to the New York office of the owners, that a Miss La Rue had been booked for passage. Further, neither she no Bowen had been mentioned among the list of survivors; nor had the body of either of them been recovered.
“Their rescue by the English tug was entirely probable; the capture of the enemy U-33 by the tug’s crew was not beyond the range of possibility; and their adventures during the perilous cruise which the treachery and deceit of Benson extended until they found themselves in the waters of the far South Pacific with depleted stores and poisoned water-casks, while bordering upon the fantastic, appeared logical enough as narrated, event by event, in the manuscript.” (PTF/1.)
Again, ERB is having fun. Note how he addresses any reader who may have doubted the credibility of the first book of the Trilogy. ERB is making sure that reader understands that his crazy story is half-way believed by the U.N. and Tyler’s assistant. After all, they give logical reasons for their belief and once again this proves a neat method for establishing in the second book another round of readers’ suspension of disbelief.

As we discover, the island of Caprona and the land of Caspak are in the South Pacific near Antarctica; whereas Greenland, where the thermos bottle was found, is in the North Atlantic, a mighty long way for the bottle to have traveled. One can imagine the bottle traveling via ocean currents eastwards under South America, then northward, somehow getting into the Gulf Stream, ultimately making landfall in Greenland. According to my World Atlas, Cape Farewell is at the
southernmost tip of Greenland. 

Anyway, ERB never gives us a time frame between the launching of the bottle from the cliffs of Caspak and the U.N.’s discovery of the bottle in the water’s of Cape Farewell. At the time of the discovery of the bottle, it would appear from the actions of the Germans in the story, that WWI was not yet over. Thus, we don’t really have any clue as to how much research ERB did on this to give a satisfactory scientific basis for the journey of the bottle, but it appears to me that it would have taken over a year or more.

If I remember correctly, it only a took a few months in 1947 for Thor Heyerdahl to sail on a balsawood raft from Peru to Tuomotu in the South Pacific following ocean currents. But like I said, ERB doesn’t give us a time frame for the U.N.’s narration in the second book, other than his belief that Tyler was still alive and that they still had time to save him if he was.

“Caprona has always been considered a more or less mythical land, though it is vouched for by an eminent navigator of the eighteenth century; but Bowen’s narrative made it seem very real, however many miles of trackless ocean lay between us and it. Yes, that narrative had us guessing. We were agreed that it was most improbable; but neither of us could say that anything which it contained was beyond the range of possibility. The weird flora and fauna of Caspak were as possible under the thick, warm atmospheric conditions of the superheated crater as they were in the Mesozoic era under almost exactly similar conditions, which were then probably world-wide. The assistant secretary had heard of Caprona and his discoveries, but admitted that he never had taken much stock in the one nor the other. We were agreed that the one statement most difficult of explanation was that which reported the entire absence of human young among the various tribes with which Tyler had had intercourse. This was the one irreconcilable statement of the manuscript. A world of adults! It was impossible.” (PTF/1.)
This last fact is highlighted in the narration for it is the most important clue which leads to the final revelation of Caspakian’s strange evolution, an impossible evolution under the laws of evolution as we currently understand them.
“We speculated on the possible fate of Bradley and his party of English sailors. Tyler had found the graves of two of them; how many more might have perished! And Miss La Rue – could a young girl long have survived the horrors of Caspak after having been separated from all of her own kind? The assistant secretary wondered if Nobs still was with her, and then we both smiled at this tacit acceptance of the truth of the whole uncanny tale.” (PTF/1.)
The astute reader will see the contradiction in this last bit of speculation, for the end of the manuscript informs the reader that Miss La Rue was found by Tyler before he cast the thermos off the cliff. After all, the manuscript was cosigned by Miss La Rue, who signed it as “Lys La R. Tyler,” with a tacit recognition of her common law marriage to Tyler. ERB usually had so many stories going at the same time that it is no wonder that mistakes like this were made.
“‘I suppose I’m a fool,’ remarked the assistant secretary; ‘but by George, I can’t help believing it, and I can see that girl now, with the big Airedale at her side protecting her from the terrors of a million years ago. I can visualize the entire scene – the apelike Grimaldi men huddled in their filthy caves; the huge pterodactyls soaring through the heavy air upon their batlike wings; the mighty dinosaurs moving their clumsy hulks beneath the dark shadows of preglacial forests – the dragons which we considered myths until science taught us that they were true recollections of the first man, handed down through countless ages by word of mouth from father to son out of the same unrecorded dawn of humanity.’
“‘It is stupendous – if true,’ I replied. ‘And to think that possibly they are still there – Tyler and Miss La Rue – surrounded by hideous dangers, and that possibly Bradley still lives, and some of his party! I can’t help hoping all the time that Bowen and the girl have found the others; the last that Bowen knew of them, there were six left, all told – the mate Bradley, the engineer Olson, and Wilson, Whitely, Brady and Sinclair. There might be some hope for them if they could join forces; but separated, I’m afraid they couldn’t last long.’
“‘If only they hadn’t let the German prisoners capture the U-33! Bowen should have had better judgment than to have trusted them at all. The chances are von Schoenvorts succeeded in getting safely back to Kiel and is strutting around with an Iron Cross this very minute. With a large supply of oil from the wells they discovered in Caspak, with plenty of water and ample provisions, there is no reason why they couldn’t have negotiated the submerged tunnel beneath the barrier cliffs and made good their escape.’” (PTF/1.)
From statements such as this, it seems safe to assume that WWI was still going on as the U.N. and the assistant secretary further conversed. This is important in the context of the story since it is basically disguised war propaganda where Germans and war atrocities during the war went hand in hand. ERB was a true patriot. Germany was one of his biggest markets before the war, and he knew that writing these kinds of stories, where the Germans were portrayed as monster sadists, would cost him most of that audience, which it did:
“‘I don’t like ‘em,’ said the assistant secretary; ‘but sometimes you got to hand it to ‘em.’
“‘Yes,’ I growled, ‘and there’s nothing I’d enjoy more than handing it to them!’ And then the telephone-bell rang.
“The assistant secretary answered, and as I watched him, I saw his jaw drop and his face go white. ‘My God!’ he exclaimed as he hung up the receiver as one in a trance. ‘It can’t be!’
“‘What?’ I asked.
“‘Mr. Tyler is dead,’ he answered in a dull voice. ‘He died at sea, suddenly, yesterday.’
“The next ten days were occupied in burying Mr. Bowen J. Tyler, Sr., and arranging plans for the succor of his son. Mr. Tom Billings, the late Mr. Tyler’s secretary, did it all. He is force, energy, initiative and good judgment combined and personified. I never have beheld a more dynamic young man. He handled lawyers, courts and executors as a sculptor handles his modeling clay. He formed, fashioned and forced them to his will. He had been a classmate of Bowen Tyler at college, and a fraternity brother, and before that he had been an impoverished and improvident cow-puncher on one of the great Tyler ranches. Tyler, Sr., had picked him out of the thousands of employees and made him; or rather Tyler had given him an opportunity, and then Billings had made himself. Tyler, Jr., as good a judge of men as his father, had taken him into his friendship, and between the two of them they had turned out a man who would have died for a Tyler as quickly as he would have for his flag. Yet there was none of the sycophant or fawner in Billings; ordinarily I do not wax enthusiastic about men, but this man Billings comes as close to my conception of what a regular man should be as any I have ever met. I venture to say that before Bowen J. Tyler sent him to college he had never heard the word ethics, and yet I am equally sure that in all his life he never has transgressed a single tenet of the code of ethics of an American
gentleman.” (PTF/1.)
Well, maybe this narrator is supposed to be a fake ERB after all, because that sure sounds like him talking. In fact, of all the multiple narrators in this story, Billings, even more than the U.N., is the most like ERB, especially when he captures and tames a horse. Thinking about that right now, I am leaning back to the narrator not being a fake ERB, but just an unnamed tool of narration.
“Ten days after they brought Mr. Tyler’s body off the Toreador, we steamed out into the Pacific in search of Caprona. There were forty in the party, including the master and crew of the Toreador; and Billings the indomitable was in command. We had a long and uninteresting search for Caprona, for the old map upon which the assistant secretary had finally located it was most inaccurate. When its grim walls finally rose out of the ocean’s mists before us, we were so far south that it was a question as to whether we were in the South Pacific or the Antarctic. Bergs were numerous, and it was very cold.” (PTF/1.)
I must interrupt at this point to make an observation. In a typical ERB adventure story, plans would have gone totally awry by this time, and the rest of the story would be comprised of a series of adventures that had absolutely nothing to do with their started goal. Then ERB would wrap up the story in just a few pages at the end. Although this story is more focused around Caspakian evolution, ERB essentially stays true to his writing method. Bowen Tyler’s plans were to join the American Ambulance in France, yet he wound up in Caspak. It was Tom Billings’ plan to fly to the top of the cliffs so as to lower ropes down to the Toreador, yet he ended up exploring the interior and crash landing after being attacked by a pterodactyl. Finally, Bradley’s search party plans were foiled and he was unable to return to Fort Dinosaur on time, losing one man to a Tyrannosaurus, and another to a saber-tooth tiger. But ERB only allows the story to go according to plan until it reaches Caspak. Then everything falls apart. No wonder the ERB writing method drives most English Professors crazy.

This is a method that is impossible to teach. No wonder it is easier to dismiss ERB as a hack pulp fiction writer who broke all the rules of plotting rather than deal with him as a master of creativity with a unique writing style that mesmerized the world stage of readers for decades.

“All during the trip Billings had steadfastly evaded questions as to how we were to enter Caspak after we had found Caprona. Bowen Tyler’s manuscript had made it perfectly evident to all that the subterranean outlet of the Caspakian river was the only means of ingress or egress to the crater world beyond the impregnable cliffs. Tyler’s party had been able to navigate this channel because their craft had been a submarine, but the Toreador could as easily have flown over the cliffs as sailed under them. Jimmy Hollis and Colin Short whiled away many an hour inventing schemes for surmounting the obstacle presented by the barrier cliffs, and making ridiculous wagers as to which one Tom Billings had in mind; but immediately we were all assured that we had raised Caprona, Billings called us together.
“‘There was no use talking about these things,’ he said, ‘until we found the island. At best it can be but conjecture on our part until we have been able to scrutinize the coast closely. Each of us has formed a mental picture of the Capronian seacoast from Bowen’s manuscript, and it is not likely that any two of these pictures resemble each other, or that any of them resemble the coast as we shall presently find it. I have in view three plans for scaling the cliffs, and the means for carrying out each is in the hold. There is an electric drill with plenty of waterproof cable to reach from the ship’s dynamos to the cliff-top when the Toreador is anchored at a safe distance from shore, and there is sufficient halfinch iron rod to build a ladder from the base to the top of the cliff. It would be a long, arduous and dangerous work to bore the holes and insert the rungs of the ladder from the bottom upward; yet it can be done.
“‘I also have a life-saving mortar with which we might be able to throw a line over the summit of the cliffs; but this plan would necessitate one of us climbing to the top with the chances more than even that the line would cut at the summit, or the hooks at the upper end would slip.
“‘My third plan seems to me the most feasible. You all saw the number of large, heavy boxes lowered into the hold before we sailed. I know you did, because you asked me what they contained and commented upon the large letter “H” which was painted upon each box. These boxes contain the various parts of a hydro-aeroplane. I purpose assembling this upon the strip of beach described in Bowen’s manuscript – the beach where he found the dead body of the apelike man – provided there is sufficient space above high water; otherwise we shall have to assemble it on deck and lower it over the side. After it is assembled, I shall carry tackle and ropes to the cliff-top, and then it will be comparatively simple to hoist the search-party and its supplies in safety. Or I can make a sufficient amount of trips to land the entire party in the valley beyond the barrier; all will depend, of course, upon what my first reconnaissance reveals.’
“That afternoon we steamed slowly along the face of Caprona’s towering barrier.
“‘You see now,’ remarked Billings as we craned our necks to scan the summit thousands of feet above us, ‘how futile it would have been to waste our time in working out details of a plan to surmount those.’ And he jerked his thumb toward the cliffs. ‘It would take weeks, possibly months, to construct a ladder to the top. I had no conception of their formidable height. Our mortar would not carry a line halfway to the crest of the lowest point. There is no use discussing any plan other than the hydro-aeroplane. We’ll find the beach and get busy.’” (PTF/1.)
For all of Billings’ cool leadership and foresight, he is about to force his crew to waste their time anyway working out details to surmount the cliffs since he will soon be crashing the hydroplane in the Caspakian jungle.
“Late the following morning the lookout announced that he could discern surf about a mile ahead; and as we approached, we all saw the line of breakers broken by a long sweep of rolling surf upon a narrow beach. The launch was lowered, and five of us made a landing, getting a good ducking in the ice-cold waters in the doing of it; but we were rewarded by the finding of the clean-picked bones of what might have been the skeleton of a high order of ape or a very low order of man, lying close to the base of the cliff. Billings was satisfied, as were the rest of us, that this was the beach mentioned by Bowen, and we further found that there was ample room to assemble the seaplane.
“Billings, having arrived at a decision, lost no time in acting, with the result that before mid-afternoon we had landed all the large boxes marked ‘H’ upon the beach, and were busily engaged in opening them. Two days later the plane was assembled and tuned. We loaded tackles and ropes, food and ammunition in it, and then we each implored Billings to let us be the one to accompany him. But he would take no one. That was Billings; if there was any especially difficult or dangerous work to be done, that one man could do, Billings always did it himself. If he needed assistance, he never called for volunteers – just selected the man or men he considered best qualified for the duty. He said that he considered the principles underlying all volunteer service fundamentally wrong, and that it seemed to him that calling for volunteers reflected upon the courage and loyalty of the entire command.
“We rolled the plane down to the water’s edge, and Billings mounted the pilot’s seat. There was a moment’s delay as he assured himself that he had everything necessary. Jimmy Hollis went over his armament and ammunition to see that nothing had been omitted. Besides pistol and rifle, there was the machine-gun mounted in front of him on the plane, and ammunition for all three. Bowen’s account of the terrors of Caspak had impressed us all with the necessity for proper means of defense.” (PTF/1.)
We must remember that this was written in 1916 and published in 1917, when it was lawful for any American citizen to own a machine-gun. Fully automatic weapons were allowed until American gangsters utilized the Tommy-gun and caused so much trouble for law enforcement. Ah, the good old days.
“At last all was ready. The motor was started, and we pushed the plane out into the surf. A moment later, and she was skimming seaward. Gently she rose from the surface of the water, executed a wide spiral as she mounted rapidly, circled once far above us and then disappeared over the crest of the cliffs. We all stood silent and expectant, our eyes glued upon the towering summit above us. Hollis, who was now in command, consulted his wrist-watch at frequent intervals.
“‘Gad,’ exclaimed Short, ‘we ought to be hearing from him pretty soon!’
“Hollis laughed nervously. ‘He’s been gone only ten minutes,’ he announced.
“‘Seems like an hour,’ snapped Short. ‘What’s that? Did you hear that. He’s firing! It’s the machine-gun! Oh, Lord; and here we are as helpless as a lot of old ladies ten thousand miles away! We can’t do a thing. We don’t know what’s happening. Why didn’t he let one of us go with him?’
“Yes, it was the machine-gun. We would hear it distinctly for at least a minute. Then came silence. That was two weeks ago. We have had no sign or signal from Tom Billings ever since.” (PTF/1.)
And that’s the last we hear of U.N. It is to be assumed that he is on board the Toreador at the end of Out of Time’s Abyss, since he couldn’t have gone anywhere in the meantime.

However, the third person narrator of Out of Time’s Abyss never speaks in the first person at the reunion aboard the Toreador, which would be strange if the story was supposed to be told by the same narrator who found the manuscript and went on the expedition with Tom Billlings. Thus, make your own mind up about the U.N. Your guess is as good as anyone's.

Continued in Part Two
(For any comments, contact

Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.
(Dedicated to George McWhorter)
ERBzine Refs
The Land that Time Forgot - eText edition

CASPAK IN REVIEW by Steve Servello
Caspak Dictionary by Banks Miller
Wieroo of Caprona by Den Valdron
The Mystery of Caprona by Den Valdron
Caspak Maps
Caspakian Demography
Caspakian Fauna
Caspak Art by Mahlon Blaine
Sociology of the Wieroo by Rick Johnson
Popular Science and the Land That Time Forgot by Phil Burger
LOOSE STRING ~ COS-ATA-LO by Sailor Barsoom
The Land That Time Forgot - Film Version
The Land That Time Forgot - ERB C.H.A.S.E.R.

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