The Rime of the Postmodern Mariner

More ramblings of Rhys Hughes.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Pair of Burroughs

I love the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the excellent pulp writer who created Tarzan, Pellucidar, Barsoom, and many other memorable characters and locations. Burroughs had a clear racy style and his fiction generates its own momentum. He was a conventional but extremely effective story-teller. I am happy to report that I have just started reading his second Tarzan novel, recently issued by Penguin.

I love the work of William Burroughs, the avant-garde writer whose extreme lifestyle and psychotropic explorations inspired his obsessive themes. Burroughs was simultaneously a crusader against, and salesman for, the trappings of modern paranoia. Heroin, time travel, sodomy, alien invasions, conspiracies, cut ups, fold ins: these were his entry points into the savage neuroses of the contemporary mind.

I love the work of Philip José Farmer, the playful genius who once tried to fuse both kinds of Burroughs in a single short story. That story, a wild piece of work entitled 'The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod', was a re-telling of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan myth in the style of William 'Naked Lunch' Burroughs... Now I'm wondering if it's time to try that experiment in reverse, to attempt a re-telling of a William Burroughs text in the style of Edgar Rice, and I'm wondering if I might be the man for the job!


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