It’s been a brutal week. All week, as the brutal week has been unfolding, I’ve been eyeing an unopened box sitting on a coffee table waiting for my attention. The box contained my newly arrived special limited edition of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ classic compendium of inner Earth adventure, Savage Pellucidar. I reached for it a couple of times during maelstrom of the week, but thought better of it and instead waited for the shelter of a quiet, unplugged Sunday morning. I’m glad I did. This is indeed something special, and I’ve spent my Sunday morning lost in another world that haven’t visited in awhile. Now, coming up for air after having spent a morning in Pellucidar, I feel renewed. I can soldier on. Thanks ERB. And Jim Gerlach and the rest of the committed team that put this together. You guys rock.
That Old ERB Magic
I’m going to get to the wonders of this edition in a minute — but I want to share my starting point for today’s exploration of Pellucidar, and that starting point was the bewitching thunder of the dust jacket copy, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs himself:
While this could hardly be called “A collection of flowers of literature,” it might still be called a sort of anthology — an anthology of adventure. It is a tale not alone of the adventures of the girl, O-aa; but of those which befell Hodon the Fleet One and Dian the Beautiful and Abner Perry and David Innes and the little old man from Cape Cod, whose name was not Dolly Dorcas, and many others.
It will take you to strange lands across the nameless strait in the Stone Age world at the Earth’s core, and to adventures upon the terrible seas of Pellucidar. It will take you fromt he terrors with which you have been for years accustomed–the the terrors of a world gone mad with hate — to the cleaner, finer terrors of prehistoric hunting beasts and savage, primeval men.
Burroughs wrote those words during the madness of World War II, but I’ll be honest….that invitation to escape “the terrors of a world gone mad with hate –to the cleaner, finer terrors of prehistoric hunting beast” had a very fine relevance to me on this Sunday morning, and I took the invitation, and plunged into the stories. And they delivered, as promised. There are four stories — The Return to Pellucidar; Men of the Bronze Age, Tiger Girl, and Savage Pellucidar. They deliver old friends and new — Innes, Perry, Dian, and Ah Gilak, O-aa, and Hodon. There is the Land of the Awful Shadow, Amoz, Thurians and Sarians, tarags and thipdars. There is love and honor, romance and valor. Suffice it to say — Burroughs’ self-deprecation aside (“not a collection of flowers of literature”) — this is a grand collection of high adventure and imaginative storytelling. I was lost in a savage land for a delicious morning of wonder and I loved it.
A Magical Edition Worthy of the Master of Adventure
Now for the physical book itself. I’m mostly digital these days, so it’s a special luxury to hold a book, feel it in my hands, and turn the pages the way I imagine he original readers of these tories during the dark days of World War II turned the pages of Amazing Stories in 1942 when the stories first appeared; or the pages of the splendid 1963 Canaveral edition crafted by great Richard Lupoff (who supplies a wonderful forward to this edition), or the May 1964 Ace paperback edition, which I where I first discovered it at the Stars and Stripes Newsstand at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany where I was a fifth grader.
This edition is a thing of genuine beauty, worthy of the content by the Master of Adventure, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Savage Pellucidar is for the first time published by ERB Inc. and G&D with different dust jackets, bindings (red & blue), and front and end matter and a new Foreword by Richard Lupoff. It also contains beautifully reproduced artwork by an illustration dream team that begins with J. Allen St. John (my fav), and includes Larry Ivie, Frank Frazetta, Bob Eagleton, Thomas Grindberg, Joe Jusko, and Shuji Yanagi. There’s a custom slipcase, high quality 80# Finch paper in a vellum finish, there are spectacular Map of Pellucidar endpapers, a cool bookmark, and for those who ponder such things — high quality sewn bindings. Bob Garcia was responsible for text and illustration layout; Phil Normand created the dust jacket, coin and bookmark layout, and colorizations of several plates in the book; and Javier Cabarga created the dust jacket titling. It’s a limited edition, 248 sets, signed by Dick Lupoff, Phil Burger, Bob Eggleton, and Thomas Grindberg.
A final thought. Because this is such a special physical thing, it will outlast me by a long shot, and will live on, on the bookshelves of my children and grandchildren, and that is not only good for them — it’s good for me, and my peace of mind as I move into what I guess has to be considered the fourth quarter of my game. This is something that should be treasured, and handed down from father to son or daughter, and that’s what I plan to do with it. After I read it now, and again in a few years, and again in a few years after that.
PS I just got told it will be at the Dallas Fantasy Fair November 24 and 25.