Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Eternal Savage

No, this is not about my son, who has come home from college for the weekend. Rather it is the name of a stand-alone book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, most famous for his pulp-era science fiction series such as John Carter of Mars, Pelucidar, the Venus series, and, of course Tarzan. My database reveals that this is the 32nd book I've read by this author, making him my 5th most read author. Of course, most of those books (all of them?) are fairly thin paperbacks at around 175-225 pages each. I read most of these books when I was a teenager, helping to launch my interest in Science Fiction, even though there really is very little "science" in them.

I acquired this book recently, spotting it at the used book store in the library where I frequently find older novels from "my" authors. It's been years since I've read an ERB and I was hoping it would stand the test of time, as in my own maturity. I've been afraid to re-read any of these books for fear they would fail that test. I'm sorry to report that The Eternal Savage didn't exactly relieve those fears for me. It had a hokey plot, in my opinion, about a caveman-era fellow named Nu, Son of Nu. He is in love and trying his darndest to win the hand of Nat-Ul as his mate. While hunting the most ferocious beast of the age, an earthquake strikes, causing a cave-in, trapping Nu inside. Cut to "present" day where an American girl, Victoria Custer, has gone to Africa to visit the Greystoke ranch (Tarzan, for the uninformed). It turns out that Nu has awoken in these modern times and spies Victoria, and thinking her to be his very own love, Nat-Ul. Another earthquake sends those two back to the Stone Age where Victoria turns out to be that same Nat-Ul. All of that just serves to set the stage for most of the book that follows. Much perilous adventure insues finally culminating in one final unexplained time-travel scene.

Of course, I don't expect great literature from these books but rather I expect pulp fiction which is what I got. It did remind me of lots of what I read in those teenage years but it didn't serve to keep me turning page after page. Rather it felt like a chore to plow through the predictable action sequences and jaw-dropping incredulity at the time-travel plot machinations. But still...there's enough nostalgia-related story telling here to make me plunk down my 75 cents if I see another ERB at the library book store.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire