Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blogging Burroughs- Tarzan of the Apes Part 4

Hullo again Internetz, sorry about my lack of posts but I was helping a friend house-sit and frankly I was to busy playing Soul Caliber 3 and trying out new recipes to do anything productive. . . well besides trying out new recipes. 
Anywho back to Tarzan. I must say I am really pleased with this chapter.(and yes I am only doing one this time, its going to to take awhile to detox from house-sitting induced laziness >> ). Its basically the 'Son of Man' scene. (But with a rope instead of a spear and he was aiming for his ape-mama's mate.) Have fun kiddies!

Note: Christmas is coming up so I will most likely be very focused on dolls the next few weeks. I'll try to keep up with Burroughs but make no guarantees. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blogging Burroughs- Tarzan of the Apes Part 3

Unlike the boring last two chapters, chapter 4 is pretty exciting. It begins in the jungle, the Ape chief Kerchak(not to be confused with lovable daddy figure in the Disney film) is on a rampage he even chews open one of the younger females. Another female ape, Kala, with a young infant attempts to get out of Kerchak's way by jumping up a nearby tree only to drop her infant in the process. This is genuinely tragic. In a few short and violent paragraphs the wheels of Tarzan's adoption have already begun to turn. (notice how much better this is then his actual parent's backstories which went on for far to long and was boring as hell).
We then learn that Kala's mate is an ape named Tublat and that the infant was her first child. We also learn that these 'apes' are not gorillas or even chimpanzees but possibly some kind of missing link creature given their capacity for language(their names have meanings, Tublat for instance means 'broken nose'). 
When the group later goes looking for food on the seashore where John Clayton built the cabin Kala is still clutching her dead baby and its only when she hears Tarzan crying during the ensuing fight between Kerchak and John Clayton that she finally rouses and rescues the human baby before Kerchak kills it too. 
There's a very interesting scene after this where Kerchak attacks Alice's body not realizing at first that she's dead and accidentally shoots off Clayton's rifle. Its a bit out of place but goes a long way in showing these are still animals and therefor unpredictable and dangerous. 
As they return home Kala shows herself to be very protective of her new baby especially around the other apes and it is thus that the chapter ends.
This chapter was great. As much as I tease Burroughs there is a real strength to these jungle sequences it feels very dynamic and primitive and it helps that this at last the real meat of the story. My only real complaint is the amount of time spent on Kerchak exploring the Clayton's cabin after he kills Tarzan's father. Its good but it feels a little extraneous. Kala's the one we should have been focusing on. Not Kerchak. That being said look forward to tomorrow's installment.

p.s. Given how short this blog turned out I may start doubling up chapters. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Blogging Burroughs- Tarzan of the Apes Part 2

That clip lasts for exactly three minutes and twenty seconds. It contains more heart and pathos than anything in these past three chapters of Tarzan of the Apes.Yes three. I skipped ahead one. I was going to review this one chapter at a time but other than the fact the mutiny gets underway and we finally get to africa not much happens in chapter 2. More happens in chapter 3 but it gets pretty weird and it feels irrelevant. 
 Here's a basic rundown of the events from chapter two(ten pages):
- The mutiny happens and Clayton pretty much just watches people get murdered while smoking his pipe destroying any sense of goodwill I had for him from the end of the first chapter. 
- Black Michael maroons them on an unknown African shore promising to alert the authorities of their location sometime later but doesn't want to get arrested for mutiny should they go to someplace more 'civilized'.

And for Chapter three(seven pages):
- Clayton builds a house. (I guess English nobles are master carpenters)
- They are attacked by an Ape which Alice shoots. I'm serious. She actually does something.
- For some reason Alice goes mad from the shock of the Ape attacking(I have no idea, don't ask) and dies exactly one year after the baby(Tarzan) is born. (also Clayton apparently knows how to skin large cats, weave and install hardwood flooring. Even he's surprised he apparently knows all this shit)
- Clayton just kinda slumps over after Alice dies and ignores his crying son. Man up your kid needs you!

This is an awful lot of padding about the backstories of characters who aren't particularly important to the story. John and Alice Clayton's single greatest contribution to the plot is giving birth to Tarzan and then dying so he can be raised by the apes. Heck by that logic John Clayton is completely irrelevant, all you need is Alice. Just dump her on a beach somewhere in Africa say she was marooned(possibly by Tarzan's father if you really need to know who his daddy is) have her pop out Tarzan and then fall over dead. I doubt that would take up much more than a paragraph. But no we are given three whole chapters explaining the backstories of characters no one was ever meant to give much of a damn about. And are simply not important. Disney at least knew that and handled it far better in the opening to their animated adaptation. Mutiny? Fuck that just have the ship on fire! Driven mad by an ape? Fuck that Alice helps build their home all while totting around baby Tarzan! Death by plot and later ape? Fuck that Leopard did it! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Blogging Burroughs- Tarzan of the Apes Part 1

The first chapter, simply titled 'Out to Sea', starts out fairly conventially. The narrator was told the story by an old drunk and based the subsequent account on it. The narrator also claims skepticism. I point this bit out because it's going to come back later with hilarious results. The narration device of the story supposedly being true is dropped in later books; and all for the better. It simply doesn't work, which is, again, going to become more and more apparent.

However, the story really starts when John Clayton, aka: Lord Greystoke, is given a diplomatic position in a West Coast African Colony. He's supposed to investigate the overall treatment of native Africans, and its connection to the large groups of their young people defecting to other colonies sponsored by Britain's enemies. Clayton is hesitant at first, because he has recently married Miss Alice Rutherford. His given reasons are fairly chauvinistic; which is puzzling because, from what I gather, she is pregnant. That alone seems like a good enough excuse, so why all these other excuses?

The couple book passage on a ship called the 'Fuwalda', which we're told right from the beginning is filled with cutthroats and rapscallions. Why is it that Clayton, despite being terribly over-protective of his wife, didn't even try to find a ship with a more reputable crew? He is being stationed in an established colony, so I find it hard to believe that there aren't some less dangerous sounding ships to book passage on.

The captain of this ship is a one note villain. He's violent and angry, and for whatever reason, decides to flip his shit on one of the crewmen; which is odd because 1) it mentions earlier that he knows the crew is full of scoundrels and uses it as an excuse to misuse them, and 2) if the captain is so volatile and abusive why the holy fuck has no one mutinied before?

Clayton at least tries to tell the Captain off and diffuse the situation when he beats the crewman, but only after one of the other sailors gets involved. The one who does defend the beaten crewman gets shot in the leg for his trouble. His name is Black Michael. Incidentally, Black Michael is my favorite character in these opening chapters. Clayton is okay, but he didn't start reacting until Black Michael turned on the Captain, which comes across as weak and a little morally dubious.

Tensions mount after Black Michael's shooting, and Clayton briefly entertains the idea of signaling a passing British naval ship and boarding with Alice. He, of course, doesn't, not realizing the obvious that THE CREW IS ABOUT TO FUCKING MUTINY.

Later, Clayton has a conversation with one of the crewman (the one Black Michael was defending) about just that. I'm suddenly very eager to know why this young git was given a position which required his ability to properly assess a given situation when he apparently needs someone to point out something so clear already.
Clayton then admits to Alice he'd like to see the Captain overthrown; while Alice, who's already starting to annoy me, tells him he has a duty to invested authority. I say he go to the crew and throw his lot with them. The abusive captain is clearly in the minority here and frankly deserves to be overthrown. Why not throw one's lot with the oppressed? They're going to be running the ship any day now.
But I shouldn't be too upset. Clayton does call the captain an ass when he flips out at him for telling him the crew is going to mutiny; which goes toward bettering my opinion of him, if only slightly.
Clayton and Alice then go to their room and find it ransacked. And thus ends Chapter One of 'Tarzan of the Apes': Out to Sea.

So what are my impressions so far? Well, Clayton did start to grow on me. My sympathies are still largely with the crew and Black Michael. Alice was pretty much just there for most of it, but when she does start talking towards the end of the chapter, I want to beat her in the head. Invested authority? Seriously? I have more thoughts on all this backstory about Tarzan's parents, but thats' going to have to be continued next time in: The Savage Home!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blogging Burroughs- Introduction

Gutentag internetz wanderers,
As you may have noticed I don't really post here that often. I could contribute this to a lot of things but the truth is for the most part I'm just lazy. There simply isn't much I can say online that I can't already say to friends or family. Naturally this doesn't bode well for my plans of world domination as a likable online persona is essential in this digital age for any aspiring despot who first wants the consent of the governed(don't you dare mock my contradictions!). 
Taking a note from a few more popular blogs and the thirty day challenges I've decided to start blogging about well Burroughs, Edgar Rice Burroughs in fact. The original author of the Tarzan series as well as the popular Martian of Barsoom series he is fairly unknown today. Heck while almost everyone is at least familiar with the story of Tarzan, the man raised in the jungles of Africa by apes, few have read the original novels themselves. Because of this I will be blogging each chapter of the first seven novels in both series(both series have close to 10+ stories) mostly out of convenience and because both series get pretty repetitive after awhile(hero finds/meets thing hero masters/kills thing).
I will be starting with Burrough's Tarzan of the Apes. So be sure to meet up here tomorrow will be diving into the first chapter of the Ape-Man's saga.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vampire Carmilla Doll

This is my most recent Halloween Item, she is named Carmilla after the titular vampire in Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novel. I'm really not sure what kind of doll to start next. Maybe Frankenstein's Bride? Or a Werewolfie?