Edgar Rice Burroughs, a man who quit the pencil-sharpener wholesale business to give writing a stab, is most known for his creation of Tarzan of the Apes, but that jungle swinging pulp hero was just the tip of the iceberg in the fertile imaginative mind of one of the 20th Centuries most influential writers. His stories dealt with the vastness of space, carried readers back in time to worlds long forgotten, and spanned almost any genre you could think of. Join Tarzan on jungle adventures of epic proportions, journey with John Carter on his planetary action/romances, follow the adventures of David Innes on his trips to the Earth’s core, witness dramatic tales of noble savages fighting for their rights in the Old West, and even stalk the dark streets of our urban jungles where mystery and murder abounds. Edgar Rice Burroughs, accept no substitutes.
Below you will find links to all my reviews where you will learn more about the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs than anyone could possibly need, but could really help out on Pub Trivia nights.
A lone baby in Darkest Africa is raised among the apes to become one of the greatest adventure heroes to ever grace the pages of pulp stories. It’s here that Tarzan first meets Jane Porter, who he falls madly in love with.
Tarzan briefly becomes a secret agent as his path crosses with most nefarious of foes, Nicholas Rokoff. In this sequel Tarzan must also face off against great odds on his course for true love with his beloved Jane.
The reprehensible Nicholas Rokoff kidnaps Jane and Tarzan’s infant son, not a smart thing to do, and the journey to rescue them leads Tarzan back to the jungle and some unusual allies.
Now ten years old the Son of Tarzan finds himself in his father’s old stomping ground where he grows up and falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a cruel Sheik.
A group of villains follow Tarzan to the fabled vaults of Opar, earthquakes, amnesia, and a bitter Altantean queen all play equal parts in this adventure.
This book consists of twelve short stories that deal with the early days of Tarzan prior to his meeting Jane but take place after the death of his foster mother Kala.
The Ape Man declares war on Germany when he comes home to find his wife murdered. This is a dark and exciting World War One story with Tarzan unleashing the true animal within.
In his search for the murderers of his wife Tarzan comes across a lost valley populated with examples of primitive man and a few dinosaurs of course.
Our hero must take care of a coupé in Opar, battle a city ruled by gorillas, and deal with a Tarzan look-a-like who is ruining his good name.
Taking to the air on a solo flight in his son’s airplane Tarzan ends up crashing near a hidden city ruled by tiny men, but first he must deal with barbaric Amazon women that cruelly subjugate men.
In a take on “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” Tarzan and friends end up in a lost medieval city and the Ape Man finds himself jousting against lost Templar Knights.
Once again our favorite Ape Man stumbles across a lost city, this time occupied by the lost remnants of the Roman Empire where Tarzan ends up leading an army that consists of gladiators, convicted murders, and a group of Great Apes.
In this crossover with the David Innes Pellucidar series Tarzan is enlisted to mount a rescue party deep into the dinosaur filled center of the Earth. Even Tarzan finds this jungle a real challenge.
In this book Tarzan takes on a group of communist bent on funding their evil schemes by pilfering the vaults of Opar where a despondent Priestess La still aches for her lost Tarzan.
A British Aviatrix, a Chicago mobster, and a naïve geologist all find themselves running from either ruthless slavers or religious zealots while Tarzan tries to make sense of it all.
Another lost world is discovered here but this time ruled by a mad and jealous queen who just loves her killer lions, and she will either have Tarzan for her mate or make the Ape Man kibble for her cats.
Hollywood comes to the jungle and with them calamity. Also Tarzan has to deal with another lookalike, but this time with a more comic twist.
Struck with amnesia again *sigh* Tarzan is led to believe he is a forest spirit and ends up battling an evil cult to save the locals from their cruel practices, meanwhile Jane deals with an immortal lech.
In this book Jane is allowed to really shine as she gets to show off her badass jungle skills to some American visitors, all while Tarzan is off doing Tarzan stuff.
In this adventure we have dual lost cities, villainous treasure hunters, another Tarzan look-a-like, and of course some fair maiden who will fall madly in love with Tarzan. *pssst* Nobody mention this to Jane.
Mind controlling emeralds, rogue elephants and idiot racists all complicate things as Tarzan tries to help some people out of a jam. You know, an average Tuesday for Tarzan.
John Clayton, while fulfilling his duties as an RAF colonel, is shot down over enemy occupied territory in this WWII adventure. His companions are shocked to learn their Colonel is in fact Tarzan of the Apes.
Another Tarzan lookalike is besmirching our Ape Man’s good name, in this case the poor sap actually thinks he’s Tarzan and is running around stealing women.
In the last book in the series we get three different adventures; Tarzan fights mutineers, a world champion boxer invades Tarzan’s homeland, and finally the Ape Man is embroiled in a murder mystery.
The Barsoom Series:
While fleeing a band of Apaches John Carter finds himself whisked away to the planet Mars where he meets and falls in love with Princess Dejah Thoris.
John Carter returns to Mars only to end up fighting his way out of the Barsoomian Eden to expose the world religion as an evil con job.
Our hero must take on the Black Pirates of Barsoom, who along with the evil Therns, help perpetrate the evil slavery and almost cannibalistic rites behind the Martian religion.
Dejah Thoris is given a break from being kidnapped for in this installment the beautiful Thuvia must be rescued from an evil suitor.
The daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris is kidnapped and a Helium soldier is hell bent on proving his love by battling his way monsters and madmen to win her heart.
The brilliant and slightly mad Ras Thavas gets an Earth-man pupil to help with his brain swapping experiments who then tries to get the girl he loves brain back.
John Carter declares war on the Assassins Guild of Zodanga, and while he’s killing assassins poor Dejah Thoris is kidnapped and taken to one of the moons of Mars.
John Carter and friends must tackle an army of synthetic men, created by the brilliant mind of Ras Thavas, who plan on conquering all of Barsoom.
In this light and somewhat satirical collection of adventures our heroes battle undead taxidermists, the Black Pirates of Barsoom, and an invisible army.
In this last book in the series John Carter battles an army led by a madman with giant and then he must contend with the Skeleton Men of Jupiter who have set their sights on Barsoom.
Note: I also did a John Carter: From Book to Screen comparison.
The Caspak Series:
A German U-Boat is captured by survivors of their last attack, but soon both the German and the Allies find themselves working together to survive a lost prehistoric continent.
A team is assembled to try and find then rescue Bowen Tyler who managed to send out a message in a bottle revealing where he is.
More adventures on this prehistoric world pits our heroes against dinosaurs, Nazi soldiers, and winged men all working together to wrap up this trilogy.
The Pellucidar Series:
David Innes and Abner Perry take their “Iron Mole” on a trip to the center of the Earth where they encounter numerous prehistoric races and a fair share of dinosaurs.
David Innes returns to Pellucidar and after re-teaming with Abner Perry they begin to bring civilization to this savage land, things don’t go a smooth as one would hope.
The fledgling empire that David and Abner Perry struggled to build is under siege from a powerful new enemy that controls the seas of Pellucidar.
In this crossover with the Tarzan series a group led by Tarzan comes to Pellucidar in search of the missing David Innes. Even the world renowned Ape Man has a bit of trouble in this prehistoric world.
This book follows the adventures of Wilhelm von Horst who was left behind when Tarzan and company returned to the surface.
Innes is captured by a race of heavy-built, stocky and bushy bearded women who brutalize their effeminate slave men. It’s up to David to put man back on top. *sigh*
This last of the “Hollow Earth” stories has Abner Perry trying to bring air superiority to Pellucidar, and which results in David’s wife floating away to hopefully be rescued.
The Moon Series:
In the 21st Century an attempt at visiting Barsoom ends up on the Moon where they encounter cannibalistic creatures, centaurs and a civil war.
Taking place long after the events in The Moon Maid we find that the cruel inhabitants of the Moon have conquered the Earth.
In the third installment in the Moon Trilogy we jump even further into the future where mankind has fallen back to a primitive state. The Moon Men still rule but mankind will not give up.
The Venus Series:
Astronaut Carson Napier attempts rocket travel to Mars only to be yanked towards Venus because he didn’t figure the Moon’s gravity into his calculations. Adventure and romance ensues…also pirates.
Napier and the beautiful Duare battle their way through the forests of Venus and an undead legion of warriors. Yes, there are zombies on Venus.
After saving Duare from the City of the Dead the two of them get embroiled in a Civil War and some cool espionage as Carson goes undercover inside a fascist regime to rescue the man who will most likely order his death.
From his adventures in the last book Carson Napier has been made a prince, but while flying through the cloudy Venus sky our heroes are struck down when the all-powerful sun peaks in. Bad things ensue.
In this last book in the series Carson finds himself doing battle with a wizard, and it’s up to our hero to save the local from this evil man’s nefarious plans.
The notorious Black Coyote is constantly robbing the gold shipments and to make matters worse our hero has to deal with a crooked foreman before winning his true love.
The baby of a murdered pioneer family is spared raised by Geronimo to hate the White Man. This child of course grows up to be one of the biggest warriors in the Apache nation.
In this sequel to The War Chief our hero has fallen in love, and been spurned by a white woman. Of course the big problem is watching Geronimo and friends being continually screwed by the White Man.
Though this was Burroughs fourth and last western it is also one of the better ones. Not only is it an excellent shoot’em up western but it’s got a good mystery to boot.
Our hero is shot down while fighting in the skies over war torn Europe, but instead of dying in the crash he finds himself on another planet 450,000 light years away.
By the 22nd century the world has been divided into two warring hemispheres. The hero of this tale is the commander of an aero-submarine that patrols the 30th meridian.
A shipwrecked coward finds himself washed ashore in a land full of Neanderthal throwbacks, only the love of a local cave girl can save him.
A troglodyte living a hundred thousand years ago is caught in a cave in, but then centuries later he awakens to find himself in the modern world.
This seedy tale of sinful Hollywood is full of blackmail, drugs, crooked Hollywood producers, and yes maybe even a little lost love.
An infamous highwayman plies his trade on the roads between Margoth and Karlova, and when the Prince of Margoth decides he would like to switch places with this criminal…well let’s just say wackiness ensues.
In this historical fiction Burroughs gives us the memoirs of a barbarian who lived the bulk of his life as slave to Caligula the mad Roman Emperor.
A young American Doctor gets lost in the jungles of Cambodia where he stumbles across a lost city and of course a beautiful damsel in distress.
A coupe sends a young royal heir into the dangerous high seas where he ends up stuck on boat with acrazed epileptic deaf mute and a young lion.
In this lovingly ripped off version of The Prisoner of Zenda Barney Custer of Nebraska finds himself caught up in palace intrigue because he is a dead ringer for the King.
In this take on The Island of Doctor Moreau has a mad doctor trying to create life deep in the jungles of the East Indies. Love and betrayal leaps off the page in this tale of science gone wrong.
A Chicago bruiser is fingered for a crime he didn’t commit and while running from the law he gets shanghaied and embroiled in a nasty kidnapping plot.
A burglary, a missing girl, and a murdered rich man all revolve around the mystery of the Oskaloosa Kid. Also there is a cool bear and a gypsy.
A bitter member of the King’s court kidnaps the three year old heir to the throne so as to turn him into a notorious highway who would then unknowingly plague his own father’s people.
A bank robbery and a runaway dirigible lands motorcycle cop Johnny LaFitte in the midst of a pirate adventure full of beautiful women, dastardly villains, and a dashing hero who takes a journey to the dark side to become even more dangerous than the pirates around him.
Looking at these with older eyes one can’t help but admire the depth and breadth the works of Burroughs, and marvel at the impact he had on the genre, and though some of the tropes and ideas seem a little dated today you cannot deny the skill and passion this one man brought to his work. I hope you all enjoyed this journey back in time with me and my visit with one of my all time favorite authors, and if you want to read more about Tarzan you can check out my reviews of his cinematic adventures.