Last night I completed a long and heavy writing job (because sometimes insomnia is good for you), and to celebrate a job well done I invested 49 eurocents in a 1200 pages ebook.
Because I’m cheap.
But who said that expensive ebooks are better?
The book I gave myself as a good job, old man! gift is called SCIENCE-FANTASY Ultimate Collection: Time Travel Adventures, Sword & Sorcery Tales, Space Fantasies and much more.
Which seems to be just the sort of stuff I like.
And sure is, because the guy that wrote all that stuff was Otis Adelbert Kline – pulp writer, amateur orientalist and frequent contributor to Argosy, Weird Tales (of which he was the editor for one issue) and Oriental Stories.
He was also Robert E. Howard’s literary agent.
Now I first discovered Kline when in high school I was reading the John Carter novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Italian edition of the Barsoom books used as introduction extracts of Sam Moskowitz’ book about the early years of science fiction (“Explorers of the Infinite”), and included extensive passages about “The Kline-Burroughs War”, based on an article by Donald Wolheim.
In a nutshell: while Burroughs had been writing his Martian novels, Kline had been writing a similar series set on Venus. Burroughs was not pleased, and retaliated by starting the Carson of Venus series. Kline in turn wrote his own Martian series.
And Kline wrote jungle books too – the Jan of the Jungle series, and the stories of Tam, son of the Tiger.
The two man hated each other guts, you see.
But it’s all bogus: Wolheim admitted he made the whole thing up, and there’s no proof Burroughs and Kline were not on the best of terms. Moskowitz just popularized the notion1.
So there. I later read Kline’s “The Swordsman of Mars**, and actually liked it quite a bit.
So now here’s this big fat collection on my Kindle, and it includes
The Venus Trilogy (The Planet of Peril, The Prince of Peril, The Port of Peril)
The Mars Series (The Swordsman of Mars, The Outlaws of Mars)
Maza of the Moon
The Metal Monster
Stranger from Smallness
The Malignant Entity
The Thing That Walked in the Rain
Spawn of the Comet
The Man from the Moon
A Vision of Venus
The Revenge of the Robot
Writing the Fantastic Story
This will keep me entertained through the Summer.
And in truth I am most curious about that last title, that sounds a lot like a piece about writing fantasy, and I am a sucker for those. I’ll probably read it first.
It’s a pity the Jan of the Jungle stories are not included, but they can be found in a second 49 cents ebook, The Call of the Savage, that’s now on my wishlist.
And I’d really like to get a collection of the man’s short stories – and The Bride of Osiris in particular, because I think it might give me ideas for future Aculeo & Amunet developments.
I have a few of his shorts from Oriental Adventures and Weird Tales, and he was quite good.
And in case you’re cheaper than me, here’s three places where you can find a few Otis Adelbert Kline’s books for free:
Give the guy a chance.
- and maybe made up the other bogus story, about the Kipling-Burroughs war ↩