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The Land of Hidden Men Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jan 1970


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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Jan 1970
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Amazon.com: 27 reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Quirky blend of science fiction and jungle danger 11 Oct 1999
By James L. Roberts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Burroughs wrote a lot of fiction for the pulps of his times, and followed a formula: girl gets in trouble, is saved by the hero, is lost to the hero, is captured/abducted by an evil force, and the hero spends the rest of the novel trying to find her and thus reclaim his love.
In this story, Professor Maxon has set off to a secluded island to proceed in an experiment in hubris -- the creation of "human" life -- so that his daughter, Virginia, can marry the perfect man.
His ultimate project -- Number Thirteen -- exceeds his wildest expectations. But the other 12 examples of his work -- the "monster men" of the title -- leave much to be desired.
Rather modern issues that, in light of the recent debate over cloning, are quite topical are discussed here: science and technology, human greed, creation of new life, elements of hubris. But it is a broad canvas onto which Burroughs paints one of his more common themes.
Still, for a non-series Burroughs title, this is an enjoyable read; bubble gum for the mind that even after 70 years still manages to deliver the goods.
This book has one of the best opening paragraphs you'll ever read:
"As he dropped the last grisly fragment of the dismembered and mutilated body into the small vat of nitric acid that was to devour every trace of the horrid evidence which might easily send him to the gallows, the man sank weakly into a chair and throwing his body forward upon his great, teak desk buried his face in his arms, breaking into dry, moaning sobs."
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Biology and Genetics Reign Supreme 28 Dec 2006
By Martin Asiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the heroic world of Edgar Rice Burroughs, there never is any question of the superiority of genetics over environment. No matter how one is raised, how that person turns out must be a function of that person's DNA. In Tarzan, the reader sees this at every step. In Burroughs' other novels, he often sets up the hero whose fortune is melded in some way by a manipulation of science. In THE MONSTER MEN, Burroughs borrows liberally from the Frankenstein motife to set in motion a plot that involves creating artificial beings (much as he did in his Barsoom series) whose existence as near humans serves only to set off by contrast the inner nobility of a higher order of man who often became his heroic protagonists. In this case, the Mad Scientist is Professor Maxon, who creates a series of misshapen monster men from a vat of noxious chemicals. His first twelve candidates are but gruesome simulacra of human beings. But his number thirteen is a smashing success. He is handsome, muscular, and with a mind that is a tabula rasa, a blank slate. The plot, of course, is deliberately melodramatic. Number thirteen slowly evolves speech (much like Frankenstein's monster) and a human consciousness. He falls in love with Maxon's lovely daughter. Naturally, she is the target of numerous and lecherous thugs. What marks THE MONSTER MEN as noteworthy is the strong characterization that allows Burroughs' readers to overlook consistently what must have even then been slipshod science and convenient coincidence, both of which strain credulity. The ending is typical, but to those who come to THE MONSTER MEN from any of the Tarzan canon, the closure is expected and satisfying. Burroughs must have had little faith in how his heroes interact with society and culture. Today, such an unswerving belief in the power of DNA to determine destiny seems quaint, but in the world of Edgar Rice Burroughs, such a fixed subtext makes it easy for the reader to connect with the hero in a manner that is now denied to modern day heroes who wax philosophically about how nurture creates nature. To Burroughs, it is often the other way around.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Frankenstein meets Tarzan in Southeast Asia 8 May 2010
By Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of my review should tell you the basic plot of this crudely told but entirely unique novel. This is one of ERB's earliest tales and shows the fertility of his imagination in its blending of fictional concepts and the lush description of a part of the world he had never visited. Unfortunately ERB gives one of the major characters some rather annoying cliched dialogue, but at least he treats the character sympathetically otherwise and has him prove to be a pivotal figure in the story. Amazingly for a pulp serial, the most interesting characters may be the title creatures, who realize their plight as freaks unaccepted by anyone outside their group and endure many grim trials in the jungle. As with just about any ERB story, there is a love subplot which is interesting in its atypical development by the author. Of course also the flaws of much of ERB's work are too--gratuitous heroic stupidity and mindboggling coincidences being chief among them. Such is the form though, and I rank Burroughs as my favorite author. That being the case, I guess I can't complain too much since he could do far worse and occasionally did. Anyway, this is a novel different from anything else in fiction that should be read by fans of pulp fiction looking for a different take on familiar material.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Man or Monster? 28 Nov 2006
By Johnny Heering - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book by Edgar Rice Burroughs was published in 1929. The plot concerns a Professor Maxon, who travels to a remote island to attempt to create an artificial man. The first twelve attempts to create a man result in the "monster men" of the title; ugly, misshapen, muscular brutes. Success is finally achieved with "Number Thirteen", who comes out looking like a handsome bodybuilder. There is a beautiful girl in the story, naturally, she being Maxon's daughter Virginia. Virginia ends up in a love triangle with Number Thirteen and Maxon's assistant, Dr. Von Horn. This being Burroughs, Virginia ends up being kidnapped by the "natives", and for much of the book her "suitors" try to rescue her. Some people may be bothered by the character of the cook, Sing, who is an elderly "Chinaman" (as Burroughs calls him). He speaks with a very stereotypical "Me so solly" accent; but he is characterized as being brave, honorable, intelligent and a good fighter; so he could have come off worse. Overall, this is an entertaining example of the "pulp fiction" that Burroughs wrote better than any of his rivals.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Tarzan Meets Frankenstein 28 July 2003
By David Stapleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for an adventure story from a simpler time; something suitable for an early adolescent to read or just to bring back a more naïve time from your own youth, Burroughs is definitely prime material. This story is no exception, it follows the tried and true formula for ERB adventure - introduction, boy saves girl, boy loses girl, boy fights to regain girl, ..., boy gets girls and lives happily ever after.
The story centers on Doctor Maxon, a scientist who has discovered the secret of creating human life, albeit imperfectly, until he succeeds beyond his fondest aspirations with number thirteen. Throw in the requisite evil guys, the scientist's beautiful daughter and you have the makings of the story.
However, like many of Burroughs' stories there is an underlying message, sometimes it isn't buried very deep or a message of much import in out time, but it is usually there. This book explores questions that have been covered by other authors from Mary Shelly's Frankenstein to Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Does created human life have a soul? Should man be messing in the art of creating life? You may not find the answers here, but you at least find the questions. P-)
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