Charles R. Saunders Gives Props to Frazetta

Over on his Drums of Nyumbani blog, Charles R. Saunders has posted an entry entitled, “In Memoriam: Frank Frazetta.” Mr. Saunders reminisces about his discovery of Frazetta’s work, depictions of blacks in Frank’s art and also speculates about what a Frazetta cover for an Imaro novel might have looked like. CRS does an admirable job covering the latter two topics, but I have few more factoids and opinions to add. Feel free to click the link above, read the post and click back here.

(Continue reading this post)

Tarzan the Rebooted

History is littered with examples of brands trying to reinvent themselves to appeal to a new generation, but for one of literature’s most successful franchises, all that’s required is a return to its roots – literally. Since he first swung onto the world stage in 1912 the bare-chested, savage yet principled character of Tarzan has struck a chord with generation after generation as he fights to protect the jungle, its resources and its inhabitants. Now, almost a hundred years later, a partnership between the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate and one of Britain’s hottest writers is set to bring Tarzan the Eco Warrior to the PlayStation generation, with a new series of Tarzan novels.

Above is the first paragraph of an article posted on Bill Thom’s Coming Attractions website last weekend. I assume it all originated as a press release from Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. The ERB estate would seem to have big plans in store for the iconic Lord of the Jungle.

(Continue reading this post)

Blogger of Mars

While civil rights leaders are justifiably outraged that Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s proclamation declaring April 2010 to be Confederate History Month in the state of Virginia fails to mention slavery, Martian science fiction fans are irked that the proclamation mentions famed General Robert E. Lee but does not mention legendary Captain Jack Carter of Virginia, a courageous Confederate cavalry officer who served the South in the War Between the States and who is better known as John Carter of Mars.

That’s the entry for April 7, 2010, which can be found at the web log, Marooned — Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books on Mars. Helmed by the mononymous “Paul,” Marooned maintains an admirably Mars-centric focus as the blog post above amply demonstrates. Paul’s breadth of coverage and commentary is as vast as the dusty Martian sea-beds, ranging from suggestions that Rob Zombie should direct a remake of Mars Needs Women to news about the publication by Haffner of Edmond Hamilton’s The Magician of Mars. Of course, Leigh Brackett and ERB get regular shoutouts.

With all kinds of Martian-related fiction seeing print and the production of John Carter of Mars in high gear, Marooned is a much-needed clearing-house for newcomers (and old Martian hands) to check out cool updates on the Red Planet.

Lupoff and Chabon Talk John Carter of Mars at ERBzine

Those TC readers who have bothered to check the links I’ve posted in my ERB-related entries probably already suspect that I hold Bill Hillman’s ERBzine website in high regard. Such suspicions would not be unfounded. Mr. Hillman hath builded a mighty temple to the Lord of Tarzana that hangs amidst the æther in erudite splendor. 

This last January, Bill presented to his readership a most excellent symposium betwixt two major Edgar Rice Burroughs fans: Richard Lupoff and Michael Chabon. Mr. Lupoff, a long-time Friend of The Cimmerian, authored the first serious look at ERB and his works, Master of Adventure, as well as editing ERB volumes for Canaveral Press. Michael Chabon (a past recipient of the Pulitzer Prize) is on record as being a fan of of Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. In his ERBzine interview (conducted by Lupoff), Chabon reveals his life-long love for the fiction of Burroughs.

(Continue reading this post)

John Carter of Mars Is Coming to the Silver Screen

[redacted]’s impassioned post regarding Almuric got me to thinking about that novel’s primary inspiration and the fact that The Cimmerian has yet to even mention the forthcoming screen adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic novel, A Princess of Mars.

(Continue reading this post)

Red Planet, Wet Planet



“I knew it!” Leigh shouted, punching her fist into the air. “I told you sons of… sons what it would be like years ago!”

A rebel yell cut loose, and suddenly the room was a babble of voices.

— Leigh Brackett (in an alternate timeline), as envisioned by S.M. Stirling in his novel, In the Courts of the Crimson Kings.

Looks like Leigh Brackett and Edgar Rice Burroughs were more right than some scientists. Ever since NASA’s Mariner 4 did a drive-by look-see at Mars in 1964, there have been plenty of astronomers and planetologists lining up to “debunk” the idea that the Red Planet was ever anything but an arid rustball since the formation of the solar system.

(Continue reading this post)

Maliszewski and “The Books That Founded D&D”


James Maliszewski, the proprietor of Grognardia and a Friend of The Cimmerian, has posted an article on The Escapist website. It is called “The Books That Founded D&D” and I found it quite interesting. I thought it worth some commentary.

Mr. Maliszewski starts his essay noting the various reasons why J.R.R. Tolkien should be dismissed as major influence upon the role-playing game that Gygax and Arneson developed. Most of the evidence used to back this up is cited from Gygax’s own writings. The fact that these writings date from before and after the threatened lawsuit by Tolkien Enterprises means very little, in my view.

Tolkien deeply influenced Dungeons and Dragons. That is my humble opinion and I stand by it. The Elves as portrayed in D&D would be far different if JRRT had never written his novel, The Lord of the Rings. The same for D&D dwarves. Double ditto for “orcs,” which species (with that particular appellation) would never exist, but for Tollers. Triple ditto for the “halflings” in the game (whom I always considered ridiculous, in game terms). All of that, however, is fodder for another blog entry. Now, let’s get to all the stuff that James Maliszkewski and I do agree on (more or less)…

(Continue reading this post)

From the Muck?


I’ve long believed that Edgar Rice Burroughs tenth novel, The Mucker, had a stronger impact on Robert E. Howard than those of Burrough’s works featuring his better-known characters. This occurred to me when I worked up a small article on the evolution of Conan’s character; how the wandering barbarian is at first a careless thief, than a mercenary soldier and pirate, and at last evolves into a responsible frontier scout, and finally a benevolent king. Burough’s Billy Byrne undergoes an even more drastic change of character though the two lengthy serials that ran in “All-Story Cavalier Weekly” in 1914 and 1916, and gathered together in book form in 1921. We do not know for sure if Howard read the magazine appearances, but the book was among those in his library, along with several other works by Burroughs.
(Continue reading this post)