"The Grandfather of American
Science Fiction" - George T. McWhorter
"An unassuming American writer"
- Henry Hardy Heins
"An acknowledged master of the scientific romance" - Sam
"Master of Adventure" - Richard Lupoff
"Above all, a storyteller" - P.J. Farmer
Edgar Rice Burroughs (l875-l950) is known
as the Grandfather of American Science Fiction. He predicted the invention
of radar, sonar, television, teletype, the radio compass, the automatic
pilot, homing devices on bombs and torpedoes, genetic cloning, living organ
transplants, antigravity propulsion and many other concepts deemed totally
fantastic in his time. His soaring imagination, coupled with the sure instinct
of a master storyteller, assures him a position of honor among American
writers of the twentieth century.
-- George T. McWhorter --
Curator, Burroughs Memorial Collection
/ Editor: BURROUGHS BULLETIN
Edgar Rice Burroughs
is beyond doubt one of the most widely-read and enjoyed authors in 20th
century literature. An unassuming American writer, his tales have been
translated into thirty or more languages.... Burroughs' works have become
literary classics. Formal recognition of this fact came in 1962 when a
study-edition of his first story, A Princess of Mars, was published for
British school use, as one volume in a series comprising such native authors
as Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Shakespeare.
and the publisher who ranked ERB as the only American among this distinguished
company was none other that the venerable Oxford University Press. ...
"He being dead yet speaketh." And we shall not soon see his like again.
Henry Hardy Heins
- A Golden Anniversary
Bibliography of ERB - 1964
convinced me that I could talk with the animals, even if they didn't answer
back, and that late nights when I was asleep my soul slipped from my body,
slung itself out the window, and frolicked across town never touching the
lawns, always hanging from trees where, even later in those nights, I taught
myself alphabets and soon learned French and English and danced with the
apes when the moon rose. But then again, his greatest gift was teaching
me to look at Mars and ask to be taken home. I went home to Mars often
when I was eleven and twelve and every year since, and the astronauts with
me, as far as the Moon to start, but Mars by the end of the century for
sure.... We have commuted because of Mr. Burroughs. Because of him we have
printed the Moon. Because of him and men like him, one day in the next
five centuries, we will commute forever, we will go away...And never come
back....And so live forever.
Bradbury -- May 8, 1975
Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote "Dejah Thoris, A Princess of Mars" in 1911,
he had no idea that he was opening a new era in the science fiction field.
Over a period of thirty years, Burroughs wrote ten Martian tales... the
story of life and death, romance and tragedy on the Red Planet is undoubtedly
one of the greatest series of all time. Burroughs created a world of dead
seabeds, towering mountains, polar ice caps, underground rivers...he peopled
the planet with four different human races and one semi-human. He gave
Mars a history, several phases of civilization and an assortment of religions.
He added dauntless heros, beautiful maidens, evil villains and fearful
monsters -- all the ingredients necessary for a series of thrilling adventures
on any world!
Flint Roy -- A Guide to Barsoom - The Mars of ERB
remember as a child reading with breathless fascination the Mars novels
of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I journeyed with John Carter, gentleman adventurer
from Virginia, to "Barsoom," as Mars was known to its inhabitants. I followed
herds of eight-legged beasts of burden, the thoats. I won the hand of the
lovely Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. I befriended a four-metre-high
green fighting man named Tars Tarkas. I wandered within the spired cities
and domed pumping stations of Barsoom, and along the verdant banks of the
Nilosyrtis and Nepenthes canals. Might it really be possible - in fact
and not in fancy - to venture with John Carter to the Kingdom of Helium
on the planet Mars? Could we venture out on a summer evening, our way illuminated
by the two hurtling moons of Barsoom, for a journey of high scientific
adventure? ... I can remember spending many an hour in my boyhood, arms
resolutely outstretched in an empty field, imploring what I believed to
be Mars to transport me there.
Sagan -- Cosmos
Rice Burroughs' stories about Tarzan, John Carter and David Innes were
great. His characters are true classics...everything I read in comics and
books made me want a life of adventure. In that respect, (they were) a
motivating factor -- a strong one at that. And I can say (that such) characters
helped me be honest and morally strong. They were good examples to emulate
when you are growing up. The people who write science-fiction stories are
dreamers. They create the ideas from which scientists begin their search.
Just think what this country would be like if we did not have writers who
dream of making things better.... Without the dreamers, our country could
be in pretty bad shape. Science fiction is the material from which dreams
begin their initial journey to reality. Without that first building block,
we, as a nation, cannot advance and we would eventually stagnate. A stagnating
civilization will eventually collapse in on itself. I would have never
gone into space had it not been for someone in the past who one day wondered
if space travel was possible -- that person dreamed the dream and I was
very fortunate to be able to fulfill his dream from long ago.
- NASA Astronaut
he thought himself a failure . . . then he wrote a story. It sold and he
wrote others and they too sold. Success no longer eluded him. His romantic
fantasies were transformed into a world of vast adventure and excitement.
He was imitated by many but none could equal him; none could match that
special quality that set him apart. For each of those worlds he created
was unique and fascinating and believable in its own right.
of Tarzan Website introduction, (www.tarzan.com)
Rice Burroughs...could pace, he was accessable, he was a brilliant inventor
of languages, and he told emotionally satisfying morality plays in an action/adventure
framework. He had the capacity to imagine fully-fleshed worlds by the carload.
...no one since then ...has created a greater number of wildly popular
imaginative series. Yes, he was followed by many better, more subtle, more
erudite writers ...most of whom built upon his foundation...but...he was
the first, and he is still very readable and very popular, and what more
need you ask of a pioneer?
-- Mike Resnick
-- The Burroughs Style - A Writer's Analysis
(Adapted and Excerpted from ERBFAQ)
Rice Burroughs was to become the acknowledged master of the scientific
romance. In stories of this nature, colourful adventure in the classical
sense is seasoned with just enough science to lend wonder and enchantment
to the background and locale. ...The rousing enthusiasm that greeted his
first novel, A Princess of Mars, was to usher in a golden era of escape
science fiction. Burroughs completely divorced the reader from association
with reality and carried him off to a never-never world of his own creating.
...He was a natural storyteller. His style never jarred. It flowed along,
quickly and smoothly, weaving the reader into the spell of the story. ...Literary
critics, judging ERB by absolute literary standards, have never been kind.
They have pointed out that his plots are repetitious, his prose construction
often hasty, with an overwhelming emphasis on action and violence and the
fact that some of his novels seemed to be a pointless procession of incidents
rather than a completely co-ordinated whole. Burroughs never denied the
charges and with almost a note of apology frequently explained that it
was his purpose to write for those who desired entertainment and escape
and that he expected his works to be judged by that standard. ...In all
the literature of mankind, only Sherlock Holmes is nearly as well known
as Tarzan. This popularity is justified. Tarzan of the Apes is a great
and fabulous adventure epic. ...it seems likely that at least Tarzan will
be printed and read long after many authors "with pointed messages for
our times" have been forgotten.
--Sam Moskowitz -- 1958
of Edgar Rice Burroughs have acted as dream catalysts, spanning the planet
with an uncountable number of mind dramas. ...We have shared the dreams
he invoked. In a very real sense the spirit of that great Magician of Dreams
pervades these pages. His magic took hold of (our) minds...it has reached
across the decades to draw us together.... We are fellow wayfarers. Sometimes,
of course, the magic fails; and so we have critics who look on in amazement
at the phenomenon that is ERB. The dreams have gone unrecognized, perhaps
hidden behind failing of language and character and plot -- dingy gold,
cast aside for brass. The loss, of course, is theirs. All man's works are
flawed, if one looks closely enough, and there is little to be gained --
much to be lost -- by judging a work on its failing rather than its successes.
Magic is fragile and does not bear close scrutiny.
-- Dream Vaults of Opar -- 1984
revival has even gone so far as to get so-called serious critics to find
new meaning in Tarzan, with some French intellectuals likening Tarzan to
Rousseau’s concept of the “natural man.” We don’t know about that, but
the stories were darned good ones that transported us to a wonderful land
of courageous adventure. We still like Tarzan of the Apes, and say long
may he swing from vine to vine in the jungle htat never was, except in
so many of our imaginations, and the vivid imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Thursday, Nov. 16, 1972
There is no doubt in
my mind that without the early influence of ERB I would never have “arrived”
on the planet Mars, myself. As a boy I used to run next door to my Uncle
Bion’s house, in Waukegan, and borrow all of the Burroughs’ Tarzan and
Mars books and read them again and again until I could recite them from
memory, to my friends, sitting under the big apple tree in my grandmother’s
fron yard during the summertime. Burroughs gave me my leavening and, later,
Huxley and Steinbeck and Robert Frost gave me, iwth many others, new directions
of thought, scientific and social and poetic. My first great love in book-reading,
was Burroughs. I lived on Mars a good many fine years with John Carter.
I shall not forget those years.
I knew all (his) novels
and stories as a boy and was thrilled by (his) work and loved them very
much. I still respect the boy that I was, I have not turned my back on
myself. The books of one’s childhood are immensely important and even though
one’s taste may shift as one grows older, still the memory of great adventure
and much fun lingers stronger than many other books read in later years.
I shall always be in debt to (ERB) for the pleasure (he) gave me.
Bradbury ERB-dom #55, 1972
I would ask the critics
of Burroughs to reassess their findings. Burroughs was a teller of tales,
a weaver of dreams. In short, he created folklore and poetry, a meta-literature
in the form of drama as myth. If this is true, as I believe it is, then
he must be reevaluated on an entirely new plane.
Throughout his many novels,
Burroughs carries on a timeless tradition of weaving the fabric of fantasy
and the morals and ideals of society into one whole that became a commentary
on the culture in which he lived. Burroughs stands separate from Verne
and Kipling because of his romantic "unreason." ... Burroughs "unreason"
is rooted in his portrayal of scenes. He shows his characters as lifelike
and believable, but puts them in an environment that is scientifically
or realistically unlikely. Burroughs' difference and popularity stems from
his readers' belief that Burroughs' worlds and characters could possibly
exist, however highly unlikely that might seem.
As Burroughs wrote a novel,
he always had a clear conviction of what is "right" and "wrong." He incorporated
his perceptions into his novels in such a manner that the readers could
have little doubt as to his belief that there was only black and white,
while grey was a color not seen by true heroic characters.
- A Golden Anniversary Bibliography of ERB - 1964
of Edgar Rice Burroughs continue to live on in the imagination of his readers
in a way that few authors ever achieved. No matter where you go in this
world, everyone knows of Tarzan. The imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs
is with us today and endures.
ERB: The Exhaustive Scholar’s and Collector’s
Rice Burroughs still lives
BILL HILLMAN .
our thousands of other sites at:
& SUE-ON HILLMAN ECLECTIC STUDIO
ERB Images and Tarzan© are Copyright ERB, Inc.- All Rights Reserved.
Original Work ©1996-2003 by Bill Hillman and/or Contributing Authors/Owners
part of this web site may be reproduced without permission from the respective