counter Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke

Availability: Ready to download

Through the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, generations of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Lord Greystoke (aka John Clayton, but better known as Tarzan of the Apes). In this biography Philip José Farmer pieces together the life of this fantastic man, correcting Burroughs’s errors and deliberate deceptions and tracing Tarzan's family tree back to other extraordina Through the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, generations of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Lord Greystoke (aka John Clayton, but better known as Tarzan of the Apes). In this biography Philip José Farmer pieces together the life of this fantastic man, correcting Burroughs’s errors and deliberate deceptions and tracing Tarzan's family tree back to other extraordinary figures, including Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Doc Savage, Nero Wolfe, and Bulldog Drummond.   Tarzan Alive offers the first chronological account of Tarzan's life, narrated in careful detail garnered from Burroughs’s stories and other sources. From the ill-fated voyage that led to Greystoke's birth on the isolated African coast to his final adventures as a group captain in the RAF during World War II, Farmer constructs a comprehensive and authoritative account. Farmer’s assertion that Tarzan was a real person has led him to craft a biography as well researched and compelling as that of any character from conventional history. This definitive Bison Books edition also includes Farmer’s “Exclusive Interview with Lord Greystoke” as well as “Extracts from the Memoirs of ‘Lord Greystoke’” first anthologized in Mother Was a Lovely Beast.


Compare

Through the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, generations of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Lord Greystoke (aka John Clayton, but better known as Tarzan of the Apes). In this biography Philip José Farmer pieces together the life of this fantastic man, correcting Burroughs’s errors and deliberate deceptions and tracing Tarzan's family tree back to other extraordina Through the tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs, generations of readers have thrilled to the adventures of Lord Greystoke (aka John Clayton, but better known as Tarzan of the Apes). In this biography Philip José Farmer pieces together the life of this fantastic man, correcting Burroughs’s errors and deliberate deceptions and tracing Tarzan's family tree back to other extraordinary figures, including Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Doc Savage, Nero Wolfe, and Bulldog Drummond.   Tarzan Alive offers the first chronological account of Tarzan's life, narrated in careful detail garnered from Burroughs’s stories and other sources. From the ill-fated voyage that led to Greystoke's birth on the isolated African coast to his final adventures as a group captain in the RAF during World War II, Farmer constructs a comprehensive and authoritative account. Farmer’s assertion that Tarzan was a real person has led him to craft a biography as well researched and compelling as that of any character from conventional history. This definitive Bison Books edition also includes Farmer’s “Exclusive Interview with Lord Greystoke” as well as “Extracts from the Memoirs of ‘Lord Greystoke’” first anthologized in Mother Was a Lovely Beast.

30 review for Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lucas Garrett

    Imagine, if you will, that you were told that the heroes and villains of popular fiction exist in our world, or are/were based on people, who at one time or another, existed alongside us. What would you think? With Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke, award-winning author Philip Jose Farmer tells an intricate tale that will cause you to wonder that very question. In his story, Farmer reveals the truth behind Edgar Rice Burroughs's greatest literary hero: John Clayton, Eighth D Imagine, if you will, that you were told that the heroes and villains of popular fiction exist in our world, or are/were based on people, who at one time or another, existed alongside us. What would you think? With Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke, award-winning author Philip Jose Farmer tells an intricate tale that will cause you to wonder that very question. In his story, Farmer reveals the truth behind Edgar Rice Burroughs's greatest literary hero: John Clayton, Eighth Duke of Greystoke, also known as Tarzan of the Apes. Farmer skillfully sets the stage for the events surrounding the man behind the legend, from the year he was born, all the way through the two World Wars, and after. And of course, who can forget the only interview between Farmer and Lord Greystoke? Furthermore, what also makes this book very important is the revelation that Tarzan was descended from a group of eighteen passengers, who had passed by a meteor that had fallen in Wold Newton, a small town in Yorkshire, England on December 13, 1795. The exposure to the "ionizing" radiation, and intermarriages between the descendants of this group, led to a diverse family of famous and infamous characters that included his second cousin, Doc Savage, Patricia Savage, Monk Mayfair, The Shadow, The Spider, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, and Hanoi Shan, the man behind the legend known as Fu Manchu. All of whom are real people according to Farmer. This possibility may not be too far a stretch considering that these individuals, despite having above average intelligence, some to the point of genius, as well as having slightly enhanced levels of speed, dexterity, reflexes and strength, were, and are, no different than you or I. I found Tarzan Alive to be an engaging piece of literature that suspended my disbelief for a moment, and made me believe that Tarzan, Doc Savage and the Wold Newton Family, actually exist in our world. That's not possible. Is it? Is it? Definitely, a five star piece of "fiction."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hodder

    This is the first of two “biographies” (the second being DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE) in which Farmer established the “Wold Newton family,” it being a conceit whereby a great many fictional characters are claimed to have been based on real people all of whom shared a complex family tree. It’s actually a brilliant idea, opening the way, as it does, for endless speculation and innumerable crossover tales. Probably, it’s the greatest service ever paid to fan communities. Quite apart from the s This is the first of two “biographies” (the second being DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE) in which Farmer established the “Wold Newton family,” it being a conceit whereby a great many fictional characters are claimed to have been based on real people all of whom shared a complex family tree. It’s actually a brilliant idea, opening the way, as it does, for endless speculation and innumerable crossover tales. Probably, it’s the greatest service ever paid to fan communities. Quite apart from the seed it sows, TARZAN ALIVE is also a thoroughly entertaining read. Farmer’s ability to explain away the inconsistencies and sillier parts of the Tarzan novels is always enjoyable, as is his “accurate” chronology. Admittedly, some of his assertions don’t sit well with me … the notion that Korak was actually adopted, and the brother of Bulldog Drummond, rather knocks the wind out of THE SON OF TARZAN, which is one of the best in the series … but nothing here can be taken too seriously, better to just allow Farmer’s ingenuity to wash over you (and ERB really screwed up his timeline with SoT, so Farmer wasn’t left with many options). All in all, a fascinating faux biography that was probably much more convincing in 1972 (when it was written) than it is now, but which still has strength enough to make it a very worthwhile read for Tarzan fans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    This was a labor of love for Farmer, whose premise was that Tarzan was a real person rather than a fictional character and that Edgar Rice Burroughs produced fictionalized versions of real life events that Lord Greystoke related to him late in his life. It's an odd mix of fiction and biography, a very detailed and meticulous exercise in speculation and research into minutiae. I thought it got a little tedious at times, especially when Farmer tried to tie in a relationship with (seemingly) every This was a labor of love for Farmer, whose premise was that Tarzan was a real person rather than a fictional character and that Edgar Rice Burroughs produced fictionalized versions of real life events that Lord Greystoke related to him late in his life. It's an odd mix of fiction and biography, a very detailed and meticulous exercise in speculation and research into minutiae. I thought it got a little tedious at times, especially when Farmer tried to tie in a relationship with (seemingly) every pop-culture literary character that ever existed (or didn't?), but it certainly was a whole lot of fun.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    Definitely only for those, like myself, that are into crossover fiction (think Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula). The concept of “proof of life” for fictional characters was started with Sherlockians playing The Game (essays written correcting mistakes made either by Watson, or of his “editor” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Philip Jose Farmer takes the concept of The Game, applies it to Tarzan (and his “biographer” Edgar Rice Burroughs) and turns it up. Th Definitely only for those, like myself, that are into crossover fiction (think Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula). The concept of “proof of life” for fictional characters was started with Sherlockians playing The Game (essays written correcting mistakes made either by Watson, or of his “editor” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle). Philip Jose Farmer takes the concept of The Game, applies it to Tarzan (and his “biographer” Edgar Rice Burroughs) and turns it up. The story is in the Meta. Farmer presents his research proving that Tarzan is indeed a real person, and still alive; although, his true identity is hidden. Along the way, the reader learns the same is true of Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, the Spider, the Shadow, Fu Manchu, the Scarlet Pimpernel and many others. An origin is given: December 13, 1795, a meter fell near Wold Newton, Yorkshire England. The radiation from which caused mutations in the fetuses of the pregnant women nearby. The Wold Newton meteor fall was a true event. All of which is fascinating; unfortunately, the text of Tarzan Alive! itself is a bit dry as Farmer gives recaps of the 20+ Tarzan novels by ERB, letting the reader know what was true and what was pure fiction. It’s a bit dry reading capsules of stories. But, the included interview between Farmer and Tarzan and the Excerpts from the journals of Lord Greystoke, along with the fun game of milling through the addendums (in which PJF drops hints of connections to other fictional characters) are great fun. Read if: you enjoy crossover fiction, are a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, or Tarzan, are a fan of The Game of Sherlock Holmes, or enjoy pulp fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Found at last! Where? Why at the local - and best in Eastern Washington - independent bookstore, Adventures Underground! Go underground and have an adventure at advunderground.com! Why? Because Tarzan would.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    It's art masquerading as trash masquerading as biography. It's art masquerading as trash masquerading as biography.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Greg (adds 2 TBR list daily) Hersom

    Even though I'm not finishing this one right now, I'm still giving it 3 stars for Farmer had accomplished with it. Tarzan Alive directly ties into his shared world where all the golden age pulp heroes were connected. It's just too long and overly detailed for me to really enjoy it. Tarzan Alive basically summarizes all of Burroughs' Tarzan stories but explaining the "factual" story behind the fictional novelization. I was under the impression it' would be more of a narration by Tarzan, aka Lord G Even though I'm not finishing this one right now, I'm still giving it 3 stars for Farmer had accomplished with it. Tarzan Alive directly ties into his shared world where all the golden age pulp heroes were connected. It's just too long and overly detailed for me to really enjoy it. Tarzan Alive basically summarizes all of Burroughs' Tarzan stories but explaining the "factual" story behind the fictional novelization. I was under the impression it' would be more of a narration by Tarzan, aka Lord Greystoke, aka John Clayton. I would've enjoyed that more. Still, the cover illustration is awesome and looks good stuck to the end of my Ballatine, Adams-Boris cover edition Tarzan book collection.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    First thing to note: Officially, there are 312 pages in this book (or 316 if you go by Amazon's listing), just as there were in the original edition. But this current edition also includes lxxiii pages of additional material: a new foreword, new introduction, and several of Farmer's Tarzan pieces that have appeared until now only separately from the main text. The new foreword by Win Scott Eckert winscotteckert delves into the history of "creative mythography," putting Farmer's works directly in First thing to note: Officially, there are 312 pages in this book (or 316 if you go by Amazon's listing), just as there were in the original edition. But this current edition also includes lxxiii pages of additional material: a new foreword, new introduction, and several of Farmer's Tarzan pieces that have appeared until now only separately from the main text. The new foreword by Win Scott Eckert winscotteckert delves into the history of "creative mythography," putting Farmer's works directly in line with Baring-Gould's biographies of Holmes and Wolfe and other authors but then going on to explain how Farmer took the concept to the next stage, with the introduction of the Wold-Newton Family Tree. It's a well-written, if in my humble opinion too short, piece. Mike Resnick's new introduction gives a slightly more detailed look at how a piece of Farmer's early fiction, "A Feast Unknown," led to "Tarzan Alive" and "Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life And Times." The other additional materials at the front are by Farmer himself: an interview conducted with the real "Lord Greystoke," and a large section of his unpublished Memoirs. The conceit here, after all, is that Edgar Rice Burroughs based his Tarzan novels (what Farmer frequently calls "the biography") on a very real person. This book is the biography of that person filtered through Burroughs' novels -- Farmer goes to great lengths to explain discrepancies (especially the very large one of how Tarzan and Jane's only son seems to age ten years between the publication of one volume and the next, and somehow again is old enough just two years after that to fight in World War One). He goes out of his way also to point out certain of Burroughs' volumes as being "entirely fiction, and so we don't really know what Tarzan was doing at this time." Fair enough. The attention to detail, the linking of one story to the next, is amazing. Farmer really does a magnificent job of making you feel like there is a real person behind these stories. You get caught up easily in the conceit and it carries you through most of the book. There are occasional confusing spots, where even upon rereading the book (I read the original edition in high school in the early 80s), I had to ask "is Farmer talking about the "real" Tarzan, or the "Burroughs" Tarzan? But those are few and far between. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the Wold-Newton Family Tree. Farmer raises the question of how it could be that so many grey-eyed, super-strong and/or super-intelligent men and women could crop up in the same time period: Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, Nemo, Moriarity, The Shadow, The Avenger, Bulldog Drummond, AJ Raffles, etc etc etc. He builds on Baring-Gould's theory that Nero Wolfe is Sherlock Holmes' son and then expands that backwards to a meteor strike in the area of Wold-Newton in 1795. This seminal event, and the amazing children it created, are discussed in the book's Addendum. The one unfortunate fact of the Bison edition is that the actual family tree is not included in the end-papers, which made keeping track of who's who a bit harder as I read through it. I'm glad Bison Books came out with a new edition of this book. I highly recommend it. I'm looking forward to digging back into my copy of Farmer's "Doc Savage" biography as well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    I was excited to read this book even though I have not read or seen much of Tarzan. I thought the concept sounded interesting and I am planning on Reading Farmer's Sherlock Holmes story, "The Peerless Peer". I thought this would be a good background story for the Holmes book. "Tarzan: Alive", to me at least, seems like it would only appeal to diehard Tarzan fans. The book really does not read like a story but more of a summary of Burroughs' Tarzan stories. There are so many names thrown about of I was excited to read this book even though I have not read or seen much of Tarzan. I thought the concept sounded interesting and I am planning on Reading Farmer's Sherlock Holmes story, "The Peerless Peer". I thought this would be a good background story for the Holmes book. "Tarzan: Alive", to me at least, seems like it would only appeal to diehard Tarzan fans. The book really does not read like a story but more of a summary of Burroughs' Tarzan stories. There are so many names thrown about of characters that I knew nothing about. There is very little character development and it just gets really boring after the first few chapters. Every once in a while, there are some interesting stories, but they all run together. To me, this read like a bad biography. However, it is even more frustrating when the subject is not even real. I know this is a cynical review but I just could not get into it. I am going to continue with "The Peerless Peer". The interview, included in this edition, between Farmer and Greystoke was fairly interesting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Travis

    Farmer gives us not only a biography of Tarzan, but explains how all pulp fiction actually connects into huge family tree/conspiracy that has been influencing history for centuries. It's brilliant stuff Farmer plays it so straight forward and treats it as though he is writing a biography of a real person that you are drawn in and find yourself believing it might all be true. Farmer gives us not only a biography of Tarzan, but explains how all pulp fiction actually connects into huge family tree/conspiracy that has been influencing history for centuries. It's brilliant stuff Farmer plays it so straight forward and treats it as though he is writing a biography of a real person that you are drawn in and find yourself believing it might all be true.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Will

    I had so much fun as a kid reading this. The world Newton Family and the connections between all those literary heroes struck me as such a cool idea when I was younger. I wish I still owned a copy. -- I preferred the Doc Savage companion book to this one only because I read more of Doc's books. I had so much fun as a kid reading this. The world Newton Family and the connections between all those literary heroes struck me as such a cool idea when I was younger. I wish I still owned a copy. -- I preferred the Doc Savage companion book to this one only because I read more of Doc's books.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Freder

    A wonderful conceit. As in his fictional biography of Doc Savage, Farmer goes a little too far trying to tie every pulp hero ever created into Lord Greystoke's family tree, but that's a minor criticism for a piece of literary gamesmanship as good as this. A wonderful conceit. As in his fictional biography of Doc Savage, Farmer goes a little too far trying to tie every pulp hero ever created into Lord Greystoke's family tree, but that's a minor criticism for a piece of literary gamesmanship as good as this.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charles

    I have the Playboy edition of this book. It's pretty interesting. I enjoyed it, but it rambled around quite a lot. I have the Playboy edition of this book. It's pretty interesting. I enjoyed it, but it rambled around quite a lot.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Velvetink

    Really liked it when I read it as a kid. Have to read it again to comment.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tony Santo

    Finally picked up this book which promised an in-depth analysis of Tarzan's timeline. I've read and reread all the Tarzan novels by ERB. Since this book is a Non-ECB written book, I was hoping to be pleasantly rewarded, especially after seeing how many other books Philip Jose Farmer has written. What could an accomplished author bring to such a legend as Tarzan? I found the book began with intrigue. The author states that he traveled the globe looking for the man he believed to be the REAL Tarza Finally picked up this book which promised an in-depth analysis of Tarzan's timeline. I've read and reread all the Tarzan novels by ERB. Since this book is a Non-ECB written book, I was hoping to be pleasantly rewarded, especially after seeing how many other books Philip Jose Farmer has written. What could an accomplished author bring to such a legend as Tarzan? I found the book began with intrigue. The author states that he traveled the globe looking for the man he believed to be the REAL Tarzan. He explains how Tarzan escaped public eyes over the years and how Tarzan managed to barely age after an early adventure where he drank a witch doctor's potion. Farmer cleverly makes the set-up plausible as he differentiates which Tarzan adventure was based on reality and which were pure fiction written by Burroughs to sell magazines. All too often, however, the author lapses into retellings of familiar Tarzan adventures, as he goes to great lengths to trace Tarzan's lineage to other famous literary characters from back in the early to mid twentieth century. I didn't get much out of the back story or importance of characters like Tarzan's grandfather (who apparently drove a cab - really?) or Tarzans distant relation to Sherlock Holmes. Although clever presumptions, I found the book a bit dreary and tiresome. I am glad to have discovered Farmer's work and his enthusiasm for Tarzan. I enjoyed some of the conclusions drawn from different time periods in Tarzan's life, as well as how Farmer explains the more far-fetched ideas and distinguishes real locations from the "fictional" habitats like the City of Ant-Men. Despite my curiosity, I would only recommend this novel to die-hard Tarzan fans.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alejandro Vasquez

    Fictional crossovers are nothing new these days - heck, they're all the rage. Marvel's made billions from them as competitors scramble to scrap their own cinematic universes together, Super Smash Bros. reigns and Kingdom Hearts remains wildly popular, and TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Penny Dreadful use it as their gimmick. Fan fiction is also mainstream - franchise extensions like Jurassic World, reboots like the James Bond movies with Daniel Craig, and "reimaginings" like all those angsty Fictional crossovers are nothing new these days - heck, they're all the rage. Marvel's made billions from them as competitors scramble to scrap their own cinematic universes together, Super Smash Bros. reigns and Kingdom Hearts remains wildly popular, and TV shows like Once Upon a Time and Penny Dreadful use it as their gimmick. Fan fiction is also mainstream - franchise extensions like Jurassic World, reboots like the James Bond movies with Daniel Craig, and "reimaginings" like all those angsty YA versions of fairy tales technically count if they weren't made by the original creator. There's also 50 Shades of Grey, which started life as a fanfic of Twilight, which was itself a fanfic of Stephanie Meyer's life. Back in 1972, this stuff wasn't quite so common beyond DC and Marvel's comic lines, Universal Horror movies, and Godzilla vs. X films. Then came Philip Jose Farmer. Sure, he didn't invent the crossover nor the fan fiction, but the three-time Hugo Award winner completely changed the way people viewed these genres - all because he was goddamn obsessed with Tarzan. Tarzan Alive poses as an in-depth biography of the "real" Lord of the Apes. To this end, Farmer summarizes every single Tarzan book ever written by Edgar Rice Burroughs (who frequently crossed over Tarzan with his other series like John Carter and Pellucidar) and painstakingly corrects all the factual errors. Notably, he concludes that the Mangani, the apes who raised Tarzan, must have been a subspecies of hominid because other primates do not have complex spoken languages; every mention of a lion in Burroughs's books was actually a colorful substitution for leopards, which are more common to the jungle; and, most hilariously, Tarzan sexually experimented with Mangani females. There's just something funny about the image of a boyish Tarzan trying to seduce an ape. If this sounds interesting to you, I should warn you that *this is the entirety of the text.* It's a mix of plot summaries in Wikipedia articles and annoying nerds quick to point out mistakes with a "Well, actually," and not all of Farmer's corrections are as interesting as Tarzan desiring gorilla sex. But to say that Tarzan Alive is extremely pedantic is to point out that the book did its job. Farmer's love of the character exudes even in his criticisms of Burroughs, whom Farmer repeatedly praises as a genius among pulp adventure authors by saying something like, "He only wrote the book like this because it's a better story than the facts!" I find it rather doubtful that a real historian or biographer would agree, but the admiration is there. These revisions can also be amusing and interesting, especially when Farmer gets started on talking about race and alleged racism in the Tarzan texts. However, I won't lie: the book can be as tedious as it sounds. If there's one reason to read this book at all, it's not in the main text itself, but the addendums - specifically, Addendum 2. This essay states that Tarzan is part of a complex family tree that connects to Sherlock Holmes, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Phileas Fogg, Doc Savage, Prof. Edward Challenger, and Leopold Bloom (somewhat out of place among these pulp adventurers). Farmer describes the historical impact of a small meteor on the English town of Wold Newton in 1795, then explains that radiation from the meteor affected the genetics of several people passing by in coaches (including Liz Bennett and Mr. Darcy!). Apparently, this radiation also affected their unborn descendants, who were endowed with superpowers, grey eyes, and the right traits to be great protagonists. This concept, and its exploration in this book and Farmer's other fake biography based on Doc Savage, elevates Tarzan Alive beyond a nerdy revision of an adventure series and into the Mother of All Massive Crossovers. The idea that all these disparate and previously unconnected characters were not only connected but related by blood and marriage popularized a different and crazy way to think about fiction. It strongly influenced countless authors, including Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore, Kim Newman, and myself. I've long been taken with the idea of mixing fictional universes, and it all started when I learned about this one is a child. And after a long search for the book, I'm just glad I finally had the chance to read the book, dull parts and all. Random Notes: - Addendum 2 may be where it's at, but be sure to gloss over Addendum 3. Once you skip all the bullshit about peerage, you get to read that Tarzan is related to every British Royal, Charlemagne, Beowulf, Odin, and Muhammed. Gosh, it's almost a disappointment that Tarzan was only a physically perfect nobleman who could talk to monkeys. - The main takeaway I got from this book is that I really wanna try an actual Tarzan book now. I guess that's how Farmer got approval from the estate of Burroughs, among the first authors to extensively merchandise their creations and spread their brand. - Farmer can try to rationalize it as much as he wants, but there's no way I could ever buy that Tarzan could learn to read English in childhood, when he was still being raised by fucking apes. - The whole part where he says Greystoke isn't Tarzan's real family name just so he can connect the Lord of the Apes to the Greyminster family from a single Sherlock Holmes story? Yeah, I call bullshit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joe Stevens

    I'm far from original in saying great concept, terrible execution. The bulk of the book reads like the Tarzan books without the good bits. The appendixes were more interesting if variable. Still the idea of all the pulp heroes being related is quite enjoyable. The Doc Savage and Around the World in 80 days take offs were much better. I'm far from original in saying great concept, terrible execution. The bulk of the book reads like the Tarzan books without the good bits. The appendixes were more interesting if variable. Still the idea of all the pulp heroes being related is quite enjoyable. The Doc Savage and Around the World in 80 days take offs were much better.

  18. 4 out of 5

    M.A. Stern

    This supposed biography of Tarzan is rather well-written and offers an interesting notion about fictional characters being to an extent real. Farmer also welds his wider Wold Newton universe in quite well. However, parts of the book are a bit dense and overly dry.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    Of course Tarzan is real

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirby Evans

    I know less about Tarzan than I do Doc Savage, but this works better as a narrative.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eric Bauman

    This book was recommended to me by a friend, who is a devotee of the Wold-Newton universe (I think I spelled that right), which is a shared universe where (as I understand it) the antecedents of a bunch of literary figures (such as Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes and others), who were all pregnant and all together in or near a village were exposed to strange emanations from a meteor that fell to Earth in the early eighteenth century. This book was a biography of Lord Greystoke, also known as This book was recommended to me by a friend, who is a devotee of the Wold-Newton universe (I think I spelled that right), which is a shared universe where (as I understand it) the antecedents of a bunch of literary figures (such as Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes and others), who were all pregnant and all together in or near a village were exposed to strange emanations from a meteor that fell to Earth in the early eighteenth century. This book was a biography of Lord Greystoke, also known as Tarzan. The contention of the book is that Lord Greystoke/Tarzan is a real person that is (at least as of 1971 when the book was written) still alive. Farmer does a good job of summing up the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and takes time to point out where somethings actually happened and others where Burroughs was romanticizing. My big objection to the book (and it's not really with the book itself, but rather whoever put this edition together) is Addendum 2, which is probably the most important part of the book. In this addendum, Farmer takes forty pages to try to explain all of the relationships between all of the characters involved in this universe that I discussed earlier. In the text, Farmer says that there are family trees in the endpapers of the book and as he mentions each person, he appends a number in parentheses which corresponds to their position on this trees. That may have been the way it was when the book was first published. However, in the version I have, those trees are missing. After ten pages of trying to keep everybody straight, I gave up in frustration and moved on to Addendum 3. I'm sure if I looked online, I could find reproductions of those illustrations, and I may look for them when I read Farmer's book on Doc Savage, but for now, I move on. Four stars for the book, two stars for the edition = 3 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benedek

    The premise of this book is that Edgar Rice Burroughs met Tarzan as an old man, and Tarzan (Lord Greystoke) told Burroughs the 'true' story of Tarzan's life, which Burroughs used when writing his novels. Philip Jose Farmer expands on this by making himself a character in the narrative and investigating the truth behind Burroughs' stories and the lineage of Tarzan. Along the way, Farmer 'discovers' that Tarzan is related to a number of other literary characters, like Sherlock Holmes and Professor The premise of this book is that Edgar Rice Burroughs met Tarzan as an old man, and Tarzan (Lord Greystoke) told Burroughs the 'true' story of Tarzan's life, which Burroughs used when writing his novels. Philip Jose Farmer expands on this by making himself a character in the narrative and investigating the truth behind Burroughs' stories and the lineage of Tarzan. Along the way, Farmer 'discovers' that Tarzan is related to a number of other literary characters, like Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger. I was hoping for more of a literary crossover, but the main plot of the novel sticks closely to the Burroughs novels. Farmer goes through them, arranging the events in chronological order ('correcting' Burroughs' chronology, which sometimes presents events out of order). The closest the novel gets to crossing over with other fiction is when he describes how Tarzan's grandfather is a minor character in The Hound of the Baskervilles, and how Tarzan's adopted son marries the granddaughter of Phileas Fogg. The book has several appendices that expand on the relationships between various literary characters, but Farmer does not do anything interesting with these relationships other than describing who is related to whom. It's interesting to think that Sherlock Holmes is the father of Nero Wolfe (whoever that is), or the idea that two pulp characters (the Spider and the Shadow) were actually the same person, who had been driven insane by the stress of his life as the WWI pilot G-8.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    I first read this as a teenager in the 70s, and while I enjoyed it, I missed a lot of references that I understand now 40+ years later. I had not read as much about Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage and some of the other "relatives" at the time, but in the intervening years, I have made their acquaintances, and so understood what he was talking about a little better. Farmer's theory on Tarzan's family of great apes - the mangani - is roughly the same one I've been sorting through for the last 10 years I first read this as a teenager in the 70s, and while I enjoyed it, I missed a lot of references that I understand now 40+ years later. I had not read as much about Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage and some of the other "relatives" at the time, but in the intervening years, I have made their acquaintances, and so understood what he was talking about a little better. Farmer's theory on Tarzan's family of great apes - the mangani - is roughly the same one I've been sorting through for the last 10 years or so (perhaps influenced subconsciously from an earlier reading). In essence, Farmer's believe that the apes were more proto-human than chimps, gorillas, etc., as witnessed by Burroughs' reference to them breeding with the Oparians over the centuries, resulting in La and her fellow citizens speaking mangani the same as Tarzan. In my initial reading, I wasn't sure about his theory on Korak (being the adopted John Drummond), but I also don't think I really thought about how Tarzan's son went from a year old to 10 years old between 1912 and 1913, and was old enough to serve as a pilot during World War I. A good read, and I can't wait to reread the biography of Tarzan's cousin, Doc Savage.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy DeBottis

    This book is a great concept. A biography of a fictional character. My understanding is that it incorporates a great deal of references to original Tarzan stories, but I have only a surface knowledge of the character so that sort of fell flat with me. I think the part of this that was the most difficult for me was that it was a story about a legend, a hero, and it just mentions all these amazing tales without making them feel as exciting or thrilling as they probably would have been if any were g This book is a great concept. A biography of a fictional character. My understanding is that it incorporates a great deal of references to original Tarzan stories, but I have only a surface knowledge of the character so that sort of fell flat with me. I think the part of this that was the most difficult for me was that it was a story about a legend, a hero, and it just mentions all these amazing tales without making them feel as exciting or thrilling as they probably would have been if any were given more focus. Full disclosure, I was unable to get through it because the previously mentioned issues just caused me to be bored. Perhaps toward the end it solves the problems I had with it, but I have too large a stack of books I would like to read to force myself to get through something I'm not enjoying. I will say that perhaps the greatest part of this story is that it's done in such a refined way it makes the reader feel like they are reading about a real person. So I would say this just wasn't for me, but is pretty cool in its own way.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Russ Cross

    I read this a long, long time ago. Fascinating!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joe Noir

    Great new edition of a terrific book. This Bison Books edition adds Farmer's "exclusive interview with Lord Greystoke (from Esquire magazine) and "Extracts from the memoirs of "Lord Greystoke" (from "Mother Was A Lovely Beast"). The problem being, the editors placed these at the start of the book, instead of added as appendices, and I feel they slow the book down before it even begins. Also, this edition does not include the Wold Newton family tree chart from earlier editions. Great cover art by Great new edition of a terrific book. This Bison Books edition adds Farmer's "exclusive interview with Lord Greystoke (from Esquire magazine) and "Extracts from the memoirs of "Lord Greystoke" (from "Mother Was A Lovely Beast"). The problem being, the editors placed these at the start of the book, instead of added as appendices, and I feel they slow the book down before it even begins. Also, this edition does not include the Wold Newton family tree chart from earlier editions. Great cover art by "Jean-Paul Goude", also originally from Esquire (1972). Still, recommended for any Farmer, Burroughs, or Tarzan fan.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Riju Ganguly

    An entertaining book that tries to tell the story of Tarzan, i.e. Lord Greystoke, while trying to reconcile numerous inconsistencies scattered across the works of Burroughs and the "facts" about other famous personalities whom we commonly know as citizens of the "Wold Newton" universe. It is good, and written in the typically lean style of Philip Jose Farmer, although, his 'biography' of Doc Savage was more entertaining. Recommended to lovers of PJF as well as those who now miss the wonderfully An entertaining book that tries to tell the story of Tarzan, i.e. Lord Greystoke, while trying to reconcile numerous inconsistencies scattered across the works of Burroughs and the "facts" about other famous personalities whom we commonly know as citizens of the "Wold Newton" universe. It is good, and written in the typically lean style of Philip Jose Farmer, although, his 'biography' of Doc Savage was more entertaining. Recommended to lovers of PJF as well as those who now miss the wonderfully pulpish writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cairnraiser

    How would Tarzan's life have looked had he been real and not fictional? Farmer's work plays with this idea and shows us how Burroughs got some facts wrong and modified others in order to protect the real Lord Greystoke from discovery. Fascinating exploration of Burroughs Tarzan books through an anthropological and psychological lens. How would a near-feral man fare in the modern/civilized world? People who enjoy digging into the background and psyches of literary heroes will find this book worthwhi How would Tarzan's life have looked had he been real and not fictional? Farmer's work plays with this idea and shows us how Burroughs got some facts wrong and modified others in order to protect the real Lord Greystoke from discovery. Fascinating exploration of Burroughs Tarzan books through an anthropological and psychological lens. How would a near-feral man fare in the modern/civilized world? People who enjoy digging into the background and psyches of literary heroes will find this book worthwhile.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Love IV

    Tarzan is real and ERB helped cover up the real story. Not only that, but a lot of your other great literary figures of the age are real too...and often related! While I found the book interesting, it read more like a correction of B's Tarzan books thn a story. It's like he had the idea for a story, wrote down his details, got bored, and then just published his ideas with linking sentences between them. If you just are curious and want to see someone make Tarzan seem 'possible', give this book a t Tarzan is real and ERB helped cover up the real story. Not only that, but a lot of your other great literary figures of the age are real too...and often related! While I found the book interesting, it read more like a correction of B's Tarzan books thn a story. It's like he had the idea for a story, wrote down his details, got bored, and then just published his ideas with linking sentences between them. If you just are curious and want to see someone make Tarzan seem 'possible', give this book a try. If you're looking for a good story, just read Tarzan.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bill Bleuel

    Better in concept than execution, but - oh! what a concept! Sadly, Farmer gets too caught up in minutae that only the most rabid Tarzan fan will appreciate. Still, Farmer is a gifted writer and the "Wold Newton" concept is brilliant and Farmer's ability to turn pulp hero Tarzan into some semblance of a real person is a gift not to be taken likely. Now if only his biography of Doc Savage was in print! Better in concept than execution, but - oh! what a concept! Sadly, Farmer gets too caught up in minutae that only the most rabid Tarzan fan will appreciate. Still, Farmer is a gifted writer and the "Wold Newton" concept is brilliant and Farmer's ability to turn pulp hero Tarzan into some semblance of a real person is a gift not to be taken likely. Now if only his biography of Doc Savage was in print!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...