Tor.com content by

Robin Maxwell

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Jane (Excerpt)

|| Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University's medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin. When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity's past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Edgar Rice Burroughs and Darwin Revisited: The Science of Jane

My love affair with science and science fiction has gone on for my entire adult life. I studied anatomy, physiology, neuroanatomy and neurology at Tufts Medical School, but once out in the world I found that the only thing I craved reading was science fiction (Herbert, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Le Guin, and Greg Bear). I was a non-convention-going Trekkie, an X-Files junkie, and am currently addicted to Fringe. Back in the 70s when I moved to Hollywood to pursue a screenwriting career, aside from broad, bawdy comedies, I found myself drawn back time and time again to sci-fi. I was fortunate to partner up with the very “Godfather” of Hollywood science fiction, Ronald Shusett (Alien, Total Recall, Minority Report) on scripts and an as-yet unpublished novel. Later I got side-tracked into writing historical fiction, and fifteen years later have eight books in that genre under my belt.

Somewhere along the way I acquired a jones for “missing link” creatures, and the great unexplained leaps in human evolution, even the possibility that they could be explained by extra-terrestrial intervention—ancient astronauts. I couldn’t get enough of archeology, ancient cultures, lost civilizations and the antediluvian world.

From scientist to crackpot—that was me.

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Jane: Queen of the Jungle

When I was growing up in the 60s, of all the characters I watched breathlessly on late night TV, I was most envious of Tarzan’s beloved Jane (from the 1930s feature films starring Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Sullivan). I was also intrigued by Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, starring the leggy blonde Irish McCalla who had her own TV series and ruled her domain without a man.

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Tarzan Never Dies, Part II: Will There Ever Be A Great Tarzan Movie?

[Slightly NSFW pics below]

Today, when we catch old black and white Weissmuller/O’Sullivan flicks on Turner Classics, many of us experience a wide variety of emotions. For those of us old enough to have seen the originals in theaters the nostalgia can be overwhelming. Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) and Tarzan and His Mate (1934) were groundbreaking epics that not only changed the rules of moviemaking, but shattered box-office records. For audiences that had only recently experienced their first “talkie,” the sight of the next-to-naked Tarzan and Jane swinging through the jungle canopy, riding elephants, fighting hand-to-hand with wild beasts, having a chimp for a pet and cannibals as vicious enemies was shocking, exotic and altogether thrilling.

[Bringing Tarzan to the big screen: past, present, and future. Some slightly NSFW pics]

Tarzan Never Dies, Part I: 100 Years of Books and Movies

Very few people dispute the brilliance of the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan series: twenty-four novels and comics published in fifty-two languages in the last century with some two billion readers, turning Tarzan and his main squeeze, Jane, into one of the most iconic couples in literature. The late Ray Bradbury, himself deeply influenced by ERB, commented, “I love to say it because it upsets everyone terribly—Burroughs is probably the most influential writer in the entire history of the world.”

Tarzan was the very first superhero. The ape-man pre-dated Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. In a way, he was the first “super-natural” hero, though his powers were altogether human and emanated from the natural world. He possessed neither extraterrestrial attributes nor cool technology, but—having been raised by a tribe of “anthropoid apes”—he was the strongest man on earth, could “fly” through the jungle canopy, and speak the languages of wild animals.

[Tarzan and Jane in the limelight, from silent film stars to sexy screen couple]

Jane (Excerpt)

This year marks Tarzan’s 100th anniversary, and we have just the book for it — take a look at Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell, out on September 18:

Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time. The only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Jane is the first version of the Tarzan story written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Its publication marks the centennial of the original Tarzan of the Apes.

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Tarzan Celebrates His 100th Birthday at Comic Con (NSFW)

Never has a century-old man looked so good. Not only did all 130,000 plus Comic Con attendees carry a classic Joe Jusko illustration of the buff Ape-Man around with them all weekend — it was the cover of this year’s Events Guide — but hundreds packed two panels devoted to Edgar Rice Burroughs’s most beloved creation.

[Pics and panel report below. NSFW images.]