Well actually the man is dead so it’s not that bad of news. I am just bothering to get around to attacking the foundations of his Tarzan series of books. Not because they are bad writing (although coincidences do abound in his books), but because the science has caught up with him. I’ll now look at the premise with long overdue skepticism, since I’ve been engrossed by Tarzan as recently as the film Greystoke.
Poor Burroughs! Science has jumped all over his John Carter of Mars series and has said from on high that human or large alien life is not possible there. Indeed, we’ll be lucky if one celled organisms are capable of living there.
And the thing he chose to copy from Jules Verne is wrong, too. The centre of the earth holds molten iron and nickel and little else. Pelucidar is simply impossible. The world inside the world with the interior sun will never be.
I’ve never seen the Tarzan premise attacked with any gusto. Maybe it is because of all the babies-raised-by-animals stories, it is billions of times more likely to have occurred than any of the rest. I’m looking at you, Romulus and Remus, raised so well by wolves, that you managed to found the city of Rome.
Unlike ape babies, human babies can’t cling and support their weight until many months have passed. I think that in the meantime, any would be ape foster mother would have had to leave the baby once too often alone and thus little Tarzan will have been gotten by a predator.
It seems to me, out of all the creatures of earth, human babies cry the loudest and for the longest time. I can see mother ape dropping pounds as she is unable to forage for food with baby Tarzan crying all the time. Eventually she will lose so much weight that she can’t produce enough milk for little Tarzan and he will perish.
Surely mother ape has already encountered the black people indigenous to her area and realized that besides some colouring, little Tarzan looks exactly like them. If this doesn’t cause her to abandon the baby then as it grows it will exhibit habit after habit that is the same as the black people. Eventually the ape will either abandon Tarzan or give him to the black people to care for.
For the same reason that the ape didn’t like the crying of baby Tarzan, the black people will abandon kid Tarzan because of his Tarzan yell, and the fact that they can’t stalk prey with that amongst them.
Tarzan: the loudest thing in the jungle. As such, he will likely die very young.