19 February 2012

Review - Tarzan at Earth's Core

(image from Amazon.com)

THE STORY Tarzan gets hired by an American, Jason Gridley, for an expedition to find the legendary polar opening to the inner world of Pellucidar. Gridley had learned that David Innes, the Emperor of Pellucidar, has been captured by enemies in that world and is in need of rescue.

An incredible airship is constructed. Tarzan and Gridley lead an expedition of specialists to find the opening to the Earth's core and rescue Innes. The airship manages to find the opening and descends into the Earth.

In the core things are very different than on the outer crust. A central sun provides light across Pellucidar, but gives the illusion that it is constantly noon. There is no night in Pellucidar. Navigation is also difficult, even looking for mountains as landmarks can be tricky since the horizon curves up and this creates tricks that men from the outer world have trouble compensating for.

Then there are the animals that have been long extinct on the surface. Dinosaurs, sabertooth tigers, and other prehistoric beasts dominate much of this new land.

After the airship lands Tarzan becomes lost and expeditions are sent out to find him. Many of these also become lost and things begin to look hopeless. Gridley even comes across a primitive yet beautiful princess who he falls in love with but manages to accidentally offend because of their different cultures (a standard storyline in many of Burroughs' books).

In the end incredibly lucky (or contrived) circumstances bring all of the various storylines to a successful and happy conclusion.

THE GOOD Tarzan and dinosaurs. Doesn't get much better than that. Fairly standard Burroughs story so if you like his other works you should love this one. Quick and easy read. Early on it also shows that Tarzan is highly intelligent, including about scientific matters. This is often overlooked by people since they think that since he was raised by apes he has to be some sort of idiot. Tarzan taught himself how to read - only a true genius could manage such a feat.

THE BAD The contrived and predictable situations. I know that convenient events are sometimes needed, especially in adventure stories, but they can many times border on unbelievable and could possibly threaten to ruin an otherwise good story.

The ending also seemed a bit rushed.

OVERALL A solid offering in the Tarzan series. It also ties the Tarzan and Pelluciar series together. Recommended for those who want a quick and entertaining story.

PUBLISHER: Ballantine Books
AUTHOR: Edgar Rice Burroughs
GENRE: Science Fiction, pulp adventure
ISBN: 345-24483-4-125
2012 CHALLENGES: 150+ Reading Challenge 2012, 2012 Read 52 Books in 52 weeks, 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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