on 11 January 2011
I've given this four stars not because this is a very good book, but because it is a very interesting one. The author apparently believes the mindless brutality of Tarzan and other such 'heroes' is underpinned, or a sublimation or canalization of an overactive sex drive. (There are people (usually the more radical feminists) who claim this is the case for all men, which as a general theory I can confidently refute, but is presumably the case for some.)
Prudish and repressed people will, no doubt, focus on the unpleasant sexual aspects of this book while overlooking the conscience-free murderousness of the heroes. Why is it that people are unashamed to admit to liking their protagonists to go around killing the 'bad guys' indiscriminately, but as soon as he gets a stiffy they start throwing their dummies out of the pram?
The book isn't very well written, but if you were going to write an accurate pastiche of Burroughs, or this kind of writer, you would have to write execrably, so it could be a deliberate badness on Farmer's part.
on 6 October 2010
Don't waste your time with this book, it's absolute trash.
If I could have given it no stars, I would have, which is a shame as I have been a fan of PJF for decades (25 years plus), especially Riverworld, the World of Tiers, even Henry Miller's Dawn Patrol.
However, this book reduces the Tarzan figure to a beast in human guise, hateful, spiteful and indulging in cannibalism, perversion and getting sexual excitement from violent homicide. The scene of cruel bestiality was awful. I was so disappointed and disgusted by this story, I stopped reading it before Tarzan met Doc Savage, so can't comment on the treatment that that character got. It does no favours to either Tarzan, ERB, or fans of those novels.
Now that I'm done with it, this book will go in the bin. I won't even hand it in to a charity shop.
Far below the usual standard of PJF's work. Utter muck.
on 24 November 2011
I really like Philip Farmer's work - just thought I should start with that! The Riverworld series is amazing, and his love of Tarzan, Doc Savage, and other 'classic' heroes shines through in much of his other work - that's the positive stuff about Farmer. So what to make of a book that features Tarzan and Doc Savage, but with both trying to kill each other and also getting sexual gratification whenever they kill other people? It just doesn't work! There is an epilogue in the book which explains that Farmer intended to dramatise the clear link between sex and violence, but I didn't really get that. I agree that lots of sexual crimes are really about violence and power, and that violence and sex can clearly be linked, but this story makes for uncomfortable reading a lot of the time. I think the phrase "hit wide of the mark" sums it up - Farmer tries to make a point, but really doesn't! For example, one 'walk-on' character allows his testicle to be cut off (without any anaesthetic) and then sliced up and eaten by other characters while he watches - what the *&$!! is that all about!!! Farmer fans should read the book for completeness, but its hard to recommend to anybody else. I would guess that Tarzan and Doc Savage fans will be horrified by the portrayal of their heroes; they might enjoy Lord Tyger instead (or his biographies of Doc and Tarzan). This isn't a great story in my opinion, but I still read it to the end, because I really do like Philip Farmer's prose - how contrary of me! P.S. Am I the only one who wishes he'd written a dozen other Hadon of Opar books?