Post by Craig Herbertson on Dec 30, 2014 15:08:11 GMT
One of the great things about the Vault is making contact with others of a like mind. In this case pulphack sent over a red cross parcel containing J. T. Edson's Bunduki series. The other great thing is that what you're reading needn't necessarily be any good. In the case of Bunduki I'm going to include spoilers but please read them all or you may have to read Bunduki.
Much as I loved Edson as a young fellow I feel he should not have followed this path. He seems far more comfortable with the West and I was surprised to see he wrote a draft for this quite early in his career. I'll have to repeat here that I enjoyed Edson's westerns as a kid because this is going to be gory.
There are typical Edson elements I recall from the glory days of his westerns - cat-fights, detailed obsessive descriptions of weaponry and weaponry in action. At times, in fact, he fixes on a particular weapon and seem unable to drop it. I thought I'd never get away from how a bow works. Bunduki may well have been mesmerizing opponents with descriptions of the makeup of his bow before he shot them.
Who is Bunduki you may well ask? Or if you are clever you may well not ask. Bunduki is Tarzan's adopted son. He's like Tarzan only he is a boring bastard. He reminds me of a friend who used to hang out at parties as a teenager and control our morality by threats. He looks like an American Baywatch surfer. Indeed, if you look at the cover I suspect I'll be tipping it into worst covers of all time mostly on the grounds that it portrays Bunduki
The pulp elements of Edson's writing are strong and capable: repetition, placement, description, which I don't mind but the failing is a certain imbalance in suspension of belief and a lot of pedantry. On the one hand main characters appear to be under threat of death, on the other hand you don't think for a second they will die. If the sideline characters do die they die like paint drying in faint imitation of red-jumpered Star trek away teams.
The plot: Bunduki died back home and seems to have entered some parallel dimension. (I suspect Tarzan murdered him when he saw the way it was going) He has been elected warden of a game reserve (with people added in as an extra animal) by the enigmatic 'suppliers' who seem to be caricatures of Jose Farmer's pals in Riverworld. The fact some are being brutally sacrificed seems a matter of indifference to Edson and indeed to Bunduki who lacks the moral drive or appeal of Tarzan. Essentially, it becomes uninteresting to the reader.
It's all basically Tarzan without Burrough's magical gift of storytelling
Funny, because pedantry is always the word that springs to mind whenever I think of JT - and I do like some of his books. I suspect that even now Craig is scouring the second hand bookshops of Germany in search of the ultimate revenge...