September the first is Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ birthday.
One of the great storytellers of the 20th century, Burroughs has left behind a corpus of narratives that are fun, entertaining, and much more sophisticated than those that never read them believe.
Like most kids in my generation I discovered Burroughs through the Tarzan movies, that were once the basic fare provided by the TV during the summer – and also, our parish cinema used to feature Tarzan in massive doses.
I discovered John Carter when I was in high school – and it caused a lot of raised eyebrows, not only from my teachers, but from my schoolmates too.
Stories set on Mars, written in the 1920s and 1930s?
Why don’t you read something more… realistic?
A few years more, and my Pellucidar or Venus paperbacks would be harshly criticized by friends that were “really into” cyberpunk.
More recently, poor ERB and his readers have been accused of almost everything, from violence to elephant poaching to rape, and a lot of friends frowned – once again – at my decision to re-read the Tarzan novels. As I said, a lot of people that never read Burroughs entertain a lot of weird ideas about his books. Continue reading