Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

By Richard A. Lupoff | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XVIII
Descendants of Tarzan

One of the major points of this book has been to show that Edgar Rice Burroughs was not a “primitive” author, working in isolation from his predecessors and contemporaries, but that his works occupy a clear (and perfectly legitimate) place in the stream of imaginative literature. It is equally true that, as Burroughs had sources and inspirations for his various characters and themes, so also he served as a source and inspiration for many authors who have followed him.

As Rudyard Kipling, Edwin Lester Arnold, Dean Swift and perhaps others were to Burroughs, so Burroughs was to whole generations of authors of science fiction and jungle adventure tales who have come after. An exhaustive list of Burroughs imitators is probably impossible to make, and it is certainly not my intention to try. I will, however, in the next few pages, offer a quick survey of some of the descendants of Tarzan and of Burroughs' other creations.

Probably the most prolific of Burroughs' imitators was, ironically, “Roy Rockwood” (various authors working under the Edward Stratemeyer house name), whose piracies from Jules Verne, particularly Five Thousand Miles Underground, were a likely source of inspiration to Burroughs in the years before the first World War. Decades later, Stratemeyer/Rockwood conceived Bomba the Jungle Boy, a sort of junior Tarzan who operated in the Amazon jungle. (A majority of the Bomba books were written by John Duffield.) Bomba was quite a success, and after the initial book of the series appeared in 1926 it was followed by Bomba at the Moving Mountain, Bomba at the Giant Cataract, Bomba at Jaguar Island, Bomba in the Abandoned City, and so on and on.

Not only are the Bomba books poorly written, they reek of the most blatant racism:

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