ATTENTION WRITERS - Here is your chance to share your work. Send us your short stories to be published on-line. Click here for details Don't Delay

LATEST UPDATES

September 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook and
Voices From the Past


September 1, 2017
Updated Convention Listings


August
Book Pick
of the Month



August 15
New reviews in
The Book Nook
Illustrated Corner and
Voices From the Past

August 1, 2017
Updated Convention Listings


Previous Updates

WesternSFA
The Dark Heart of Time
by Philip Jose Farmer
Copyright 1999, 278 pages paperback
Philip Jose Farmer had a lifelong love affair with Edgar Rice Burroughs’ characters, particularly Tarzan.  He was to write several books either directly referring to Tarzan or to a character that bore a striking resemblance to Tarzan. 

In this book, the only one I know of that was written with the express permission of Burrough’s estate, the lead character is Tarzan himself, as conceived by ERB.  In the dedication, Farmer indicates this book culminated a 70-year ambition to write a true Tarzan story.

Tarzan has recently learned that his beloved wife, Jane, is alive.  He had believed for several years that she had died in a fire at his African estate, the victim of a German army attack.  But now he knows she lives while being captured by a German soldier and her wedding ring left on the burned corpse of a native girl. But on his way to find her, he is severely challenged and delayed.  He finds himself being hunted by a white man who means to capture him alive, at any cost.  The entire story is of the hunt for Tarzan and the obstacles that all encounter.  Tarzan meets and befriends a sasquatch-type creature and a lost Gomangani searching for his love, and finds a mysterious corner of Africa where all manner of strange creatures and men live.  And a series of massive earthquakes disrupts everything.

At the beginning, we learn that Tarzan had found an ancient corpse and a mysterious map leading to a city of gold.  We also learned that a very rich and corrupt old man was willing to spare no expense to capture Tarzan for some unknown reason.  And we also know that the leader of the expeditionary force sent to capture Tarzan had a secret way to track him.  But none of these plot threads came together well.

I had lots of problems with this story.  Despite my lifelong love and respect for Mr. Farmer, this was not his best work, by far.  He worked very hard to present a story of the same Tarzan as conceived by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  He even used the same storytelling techniques.  I grew up with ERB’s stories and venerated him, but those stories have to be taken in context with the times, and I don’t think anyone would characterize them as classics.  They were marvelous then and should be respected for that.  But they wouldn’t work now and I doubt many young people today discover and love them as we did.

ERB had a very spare style using much declarative tones and extrapolations.  So, while I was expecting a more sophisticated story from Farmer, what I got was ERB channeled.

Many plotlines were left unresolved leaving me to suspect Farmer hoped to get a second story published.  Tarzan didn’t find Jane, the entire mysterious corner of Africa with the city of gold and possible alien artifacts was completely destroyed with no explanations.  We don’t know what happened to the creature or his kidnapped family.  And it had a lame ending.  I found myself skimming pages just to get it finished.  Not a sterling recommendation.  Sorry.   ~~ Catherine Book

And now:  test your knowledge of Farmer’s Tarzan stories in our new Trivia Contest.  Click here.

Follow us

for notices on new content and events.

Our Columns:

The Book Nook
Reviews of the latest in science fiction and fantasy

The Illustrated Corner
Reviews of the latest in Manga and Graphic Novels

Odds and Ends
Reviews of non-genre items our staff enjoyed
(Can be books, movies, TV shows or music)

Voices from the Past
Reviews of genre books from the past (at least 20 years old)
and those which are Out of Print but still wonderful to read

A Chat with
Interviews with people of interest
Current Interview: Brandon Sandeson

Author Appearance & News
This page lists author signings and appearances, convention news
and any other events we think might interest our readers.

Reel Talk
Reviews of current genre movies in the theater
and favorite and new DVD releases

A Tale Told Thusly
A place for new and established writers to show off their short stories

Trivia Contests

In Remembrance
Memories of those who have passed on



WesternSFA Main Page

Links of Interest

Email Us

Disclaimer

Copyright ©2005-2017 All Rights Reserved
(Note that external links to guest web sites are not maintained by WesternSFA)
Comments, questions etc. email WebMaster