Monday, June 25, 2012

Tarzan Alive!

I read this Philip Farmer pseudo-biography several decades ago, and this along with Doc Savage - His Apocalyptic Life were my entry into the Wold Newton universe.

A few days ago, I picked up the Bison Books volume, and it rests on my nightstand waiting its turn. This is a nice book with the original text of Farmer's work along with other short works which sparked its creation. There is an faux-interview titled "Tarzan Lives: An Exclusive Interview with the Eighth Duke of Greystoke" from a 1972 issue of Esquire magazine (the wonderful painting above by Jean-Paul Goude is from that article) and a small essay titled "Extracts from the Memoirs of Lord Greystoke" from a 1974 Farmer anthology. It's very nice to have all this material under one cover.

I haven't seen plans from Titan Books as to whether this book or the Doc Savage volume will be published under their recent Wold Newton banner. I hope the Doc Savage volume at least gets a new edition.

Here's a gallery of previous editions of Farmer's Tarzan Alive.

Rip Off


  1. Bison Books primarily handles Public Domain material (E.E. "Doc" Smith, ERB's PD titles, etc.)
    Are they considering the 1972 Tarzan Alive to be PD?
    This one is tricky, as TA was updated in later editions, so the original version (which was not reprinted verbatim) might not have had it's copyright renewed.

    Copyright law pre-'78 still required registration and renewals, even if the first 28 year term ended after 1978.
    The law did allow that the renewal, when done, would extended the combined two terms to the length of the current copyright law, but the renewal still had to be done for it to be legit.
    A lot of Ace Doubles were rewrites/reedits of pulp stories that had fallen out of copyright.
    The rewrites gave the authors a new copyright on longer versions of a story...but the originals are still PD!
    Confusing, ain't it? ;-)

  2. I have the edition shown as the second from the top. Been years since I read that or the Doc Savage one. I like all the connections PJF made between various characters. But A Feast Unknown will always haunt me...

  3. Britt - The Bison volume shows proper copyright credit for Farmer and all the pieces it contains in this volume. I didn't realize I think that a new version resulted in a new copyright though. Hmm.

    Karen - I get what you mean about Feast. Not knowing what I was reading (save that it was a Tarzan story) that first page is a whopper and shook me a bit. Farmer doesn't waste any time establishing the parameters of this porno-tastic adventure. I haven't read it in decades, so I'm curious how I'll react the next time.

    Rip Off

  4. "I didn't realize I think that a new version resulted in a new copyright though. Hmm."

    That's the reason JRR Tolkien did the re-edit/rewrite of the Lord of the Rings series after Ace Books published the American version of the first edition due to a screw-up by Tolkein's British publisher resulting in the original version becoming Public Domain in the US!
    The re-edit/rewritten version is the one published by Ballantine and all subsequent publishers.
    The Ace Books version (despite being called the "pirate" edition by many) is actually quite legal, but a direct-to-fans campaign by Tolkein resulted in a public outcry and Ace agreeing to not reprint their version.

  5. TARZAN ALIVE was not updated in subsequent editions.


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