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Newsletter ERB-Date: 2001.06.15


The Pearl Harbor Murders
Max Allan Collins

The Pearl Harbor Murders by Max Allan Collins

Mystery writer Max Allan Collins is known for his award winning historical whodunnits, especially those starring a famous author during a real life disaster. The Pearl Harbor Murders is an excellent blending of history and fiction in a gripping tale featuring Edgar Rice Burroughs and h is son Hully. Collins paints a vivid picture of the Hawaiian islands just before and during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. On December 5, 1941, most Americans living on the islands knew that war with Japan was imminent, but they felt that Hawaii was safe from external attack. Residents were concerned over the loyalties of the Japanese-Americans who formed one third of the Hawaiian population. "Sabotage" was the buzzword of the day.

As the story opens, Edgar Rice Burroughs and his adult son Hully are enjoying their time together on Oahu. Ed agrees to arrange a meeting between a sultry Amerasian singer, Pearl Harada, and Army Intelligence Chief Col. Kendall Fielder. Pearl needs to persuade Col. Fielder that she loves his son and wants his blessing so they can marry. The next morning, a scream awakens Ed, who runs outside to find Pearl's corpse on the beach. Unable to resist investigating her death, Ed begins making inquiries. He wonders if one of Pearl's string of ex-lovers had killed her . . . or perhaps Bill's outraged dad, Col. Fielding, had murdered her . . . or perhaps someone had silenced her because she knew too much on the following day?

Collins has done an excellent job of researching ERB's life and affairs, even using his famous "O.B." moniker ("Old Burroughs") throughout the story. Burroughs comes to life as a credible and interesting human being. 

The Pearl Harbor Murders is a May 2001 release in paperback from Berkley Prime Crime Publishers, New York, for $6.99.  A critic for The Tennessean writes: "Probably no one except E.L. Doctorow in Ragtime has so successfully blended real characters and events with fictional ones. The versatile Collins is an excellent storyteller."  We agree, and highly recumbent this book.

George T. McWhorter: Editor 
The Gridley Wave #225 ~ 
The monthly newsletter of the Burroughs Bibliophiles 
Edgar Rice Burroughs Memorial Collection, University of Louisville, 
Ekstrom Library, Louisville, KY 40292
Edgar Rice Burroughs created the wildly popular Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars, but the exploits of his heroes cannot rival the writer’s own explosive adventure, sparked by the tragic murder of an exotic young beauty on a moon-swept Honolulu beach.

The killing is written off as the tragic result of a lovers’ quarrel, but Burroughs suspects that the alluring half-Japanese singer was executed by espionage agents. It’s December 6, 1941. War with Japan is looming, and Burroughs has reason to suspect an attack on Oahu is imminent. Was the songstress silenced to prevent her from “singing” about certain sinister plans? As Burroughs and his son Hully search for clues and track down suspects, all signs point to the next day—Sunday—as the perfect time for a Japanese invasion. But the thought of such devastation raining down on paradise seems almost unbelievable….

Set against the catastrophic aerial strike that led the United States into another world war, The Pearl Harbor Murders effortlessly mixes hard-hitting action and exotic romance in this gripping untold chapter from our nation’s most tragic day.

Banquet Guest of Honour Max Allan Collins
Max Allan Collins and ERBzine's Bill Hillman
Oak Park / Chicago 2005 Dum-Dum
Where author Collins was Guest of Honour
for the Annual ERB Convention

Internet gurus aim for the stars
By Robert Lemos
Special to CNET
May 24, 2001, 10:10 a.m. PT
E.T. may not be able to phone home anytime soon, but the lovable alien may be able to send e-mail--if a draft proposal released this week for an interplanetary Internet takes flight.

Described as a "work in progress," the proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force--the group that sets standards for the Net--calls for terrestrial testing of interplanetary Internet protocols later this year, with a live test onboard the NASA Mars mission in 2003.

"What we are fundamentally about is deploying as much re-usable, standardized communications infrastructure as we can afford around the solar system, so that future missions don't have to take it all along with them," said Adrian J. Hooke, manager of the DARPA InterPlaNetary Internet (IPN) Project and co-author of the proposal. "They can use capabilities put in place by other missions."
The proposal calls for a network of Internets to facilitate communication among planets, satellites, asteroids, robotic spacecraft and crewed vehicles and create a stable interplanetary backbone network.

While it may sound like a pie-in-the-sky plan, the person heading up the project is none other than Vinton Cerf, an MCI WorldCom vice president and creator of the TCP/IP standard--the foundation of communications on the Internet.

Furthermore, the project has drawn the interest--and funding--of both NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which could use it as a blueprint for future work.

Others working on the project include members of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mitre, Global Science and Technology, and SPARTA. Other parts of NASA have already begun experimenting with remote Internet communication, demonstrating last year that it could use standard Internet protocols to communicate with an orbiting spacecraft just like any other node on the Internet.

Planetary packet loss?
Like the Pony Express, such a "network of Internets" would have to deal with the lengthy delays that seem inevitable when communicating across the vast distances of space, Hooke said.

"It's 'e-mail-like' in that as the propagation delay increases it gets increasingly clunky to try to communicate in a chatty mode," he said.

When the objects are at their closest approach to Earth, light takes a little more than a second to reach the moon, almost 6 minutes to reach Mars and 9 minutes to reach the sun--not to mention the 4 years it takes light to reach the nearest other star, Alpha Centauri.

"Store-and-forward" networks would connect the more localized Internets, Hooke said. "Anywhere that there is a short-delay environment--around Earth, within a free-flying spacecraft, on and around another planet--we can use communications protocols that are fairly closely related to their terrestrial Internet counterparts."

Moreover, the organization of the network can change. Today, the quickest way to send a message to Mars would be directly, when Earth and Mars are close. Yet when the two planets are on opposite sides of the Sun, routing data through a third node--say at Mercury or Venus--would make the transmission more reliable.

Space poses other problems as well. Signals are more easily intercepted by others, making sturdy security a must, and data loss will be a routine occurrence, warns the draft.

On the Internet, the transfer of data from server to server is accompanied by acknowledgements and error messages in real time. With long delays plaguing the communications, however, such messaging would just slow things down, stated the proposal.

To handle these considerations, Cerf and the others propose a technology called "bundling" to connect Internets together. Such bundles of data will minimize the traffic between interplanetary Internet servers.

Space's common tongue
Furthermore, a standards-based approach to interplanetary communications will allow NASA to reuse communications data from mission to mission.

The use of the technology is not that far away, either, supporters contend.

Mars would be the first addition to the interplanetary Internet. By 2010, the group believes as many as seven satellites dedicated to communications could be in orbit around the planet.

Other missions could then benefit from the communications hardware on those satellites. "Doing this right, and in a way that can be shared among many projects and missions, makes a lot of sense," said Jerry Fiddler, chairman and co-founder of embedded software maker Wind River Systems. The company's operating system and software has been included in such missions as the Mars Pathfinder, the Clementine mission to the moon and the International Space Station.

However, the proposal states that the ultimate test will be commercial applications: "While such developments may still lie decades in the future, the potential investment and benefits can be appreciated as we contemplate the explosion of new markets associated with the commercialization of the Internet."

When that happens, the draft's authors state, the interplanetary Internet should really take off.

Men's Fitness Magazine (June 2001)
In the article on healthy eating: "Hit or Myth?"
Number 16 on page 154 states:
Tarzan was a stud not just because he swung through trees on vines, but because he ate the Paleolithic way."
Forever Young: 'A Princess of Mars' Still Beckons
By Chris Aylott
Special to
posted: 02:31 pm ET
03 December 1999 reprint
Although the Polar Lander is unlikely to find any evidence of her royal presence, the Princess of Mars is 87 years old this year, and she still looks great.

In 1912, when Burroughs churned out his first Barsoom adventures as a serial for All-Story Magazine, the idea of an alien civilization on Mars was commonly accepted, while protagonist John Carter's method of disembodied interplanetary transport was only slightly more dubious. After all, radium was still a popular ingredient in pharmaceuticals then, and light propagated through the ether.

By today's standards, Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars is a pure fantasy, and has been for at least half a century. The science is ludicrous -- not only does the fictional Red Planet have a breathable atmosphere, the women lay eggs -- yet the book retains much of its power to sweep a reader away into a planet of wonder and adventure.

The odd thing is that this disconnection from reality actually helps the story's believability. Science and Burroughs' fantasy have diverged so widely that nothing snags our suspension of disbelief.

Nonstop violence -- and sex!
It doesn't hurt that Burroughs jams his foot on the gas pedal at the beginning and never lets the action slow down. He sets the stage and introduces us to Carter, locking his hero in a tomb and planting mysteries about his mysterious origins. Then, before we're even four pages into the first chapter, we're fighting Apaches.

Once Carter gets to Barsoom, his life is a cavalcade of duels, horrible monsters and pitched battles. He gets captured and narrowly escapes certain death at least twice, gets chased halfway across the planet, and screams through the night in the Barsoomian equivalent of jet fighters. By the climax, he's leading the green Martians in a million-man battle to lift the siege on Helium, capital city of the Red Martians.

Pretty busy for a book that can't be more than 70,000 words with room left over for true love. Which brings us to Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium and the first great fantasy woman of science fiction. Forget Barbarella -- Dejah Thoris hangs around in jewels and a smile and looks nothing but regal doing it. Okay, she looks "regal and sexy."

She isn't the screaming frail thing typical of later imitators, either. She's smart and plucky, saving John Carter's life twice with her resourcefulness and courage. Moreover, neither Burroughs nor Carter make a big deal of this. She does it, Burroughs takes note of the fact and Carter is appropriately thankful without being surprised or effusive. It's just who she is, part of her character.

The Martian character
And character, ultimately, is why this book is still fresh despite being nearly a century old. Edgar Rice Burroughs doesn't have much of a reputation as a artist, but he did fill A Princess of Mars with exciting and likable characters.

Carter's arguably the least detailed member of the cast, made more archetype than man by the fact that he does not remember his childhood and has always been about 30 years old. Even he bears Burroughs' subtle touches: the stubborn pride that keeps him away from Dejah Thoris at precisely the wrong time, his moments of kindness to others, and his way of looking back and reflecting on the things he didn't understand in his early days on Barsoom.

It's not just Dejah Thoris and John Carter, because the real surprise is how well Burroughs shined in delineating his supporting cast.

Fans of the series will remember the characters, recognizing Sola's kindness and the tragedy that caused it, Tars Tarkas' slow understanding of friendship, and Sarkoja's vicious villainy even decades after putting the book down. These are basic portraits, just one step up from stereotypes, but Burroughs' enthusiasm and the way their individual drives illustrate Barsoomian society give them life alive.

Barsoom is long gone from the realm of possibility, as much a fantasy as Oz or Neverland. But like Dorothy or Peter Pan, John Carter will never grow any older -- it's still fun to watch him brawl his way across Mars.

Science dates, but good characters and stories don't, and Barsoom will always live on in the imagination.

Guests of Honour at
Dum-Dum 2001
Steve Hawkes
Movie Tarzan of Spanish Films
Eleanor Holm
Olympic Champion and Jane in Tarzan's Revenge
Steve Korchak
Author of the Unpublished J. Allen St. John Bio
Lydie Denier
Jane in the Tarzan Television Series
Lydie Denier

(Rescue & Respite)
MISSION #1: The Brooklyn Banth
June 3, 2001
Hadron of Hastor's storm-ravaged flier finds sanctuary in the
Northern Amtorian Gardens of JoN & Dej

JoN and Hadron at the Kensington entrance to the Amtorian GardensJoN and Hadron take a break from their ERB marathon
Dejah and Hadron in the ERBzin-e officeJoN and sons Ja-On and Robin prepare for the Dragon Parade in celebration of Dejah's birthday
Hadron carrying the ball of wisdom and being pursued by the formidable dragon

Watch for future ERBzines for more details on this
incredible adventure into the barbaric northern reaches.

Volume 0559

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