This is Lansdale’s second take on the Tarzan myth. First, he was hired by Edgar Rice Burroughs’ estate to complete the author’s final novel posthumously, Tarzan: The Lost Adventure (1996), which I found to be a satisfying official conclusion to the original series.
Ape Man’s Brother does not fit into the official Tarzan cannon but is instead a retelling from Nkima’s point of view (or Chimpanzee-Mike, if you prefer the movie incarnation). The name Tarzan is never used since, as the story goes, that was not his real name. There is a lot of revisionist history, mostly played for laughs: Tarzan is a drunk, Jane falls for the ape, etc. A little bit of violence and bawdy humor. It’s a rather fun story, not serious at all, and it has some minor connections to other Lansdale works.
Lansdale reuses his alternate universe where Japan settled the American West Coast, also referenced in the novel Zeppelins West as well as the short stories “Trains Not Taken” and “Letter from the South, Two Moons West of Nacogdoches”.
Two other Lansdale works also reference Burroughs’ fictional world of Pellucidar, which is part of the larger Tarzan mythology (from Tarzan at the Earth’s Core and Tarzan: The Lost Adventure). Lansdale’s short story “Way Down There” also features a journey to that fabled land that time forgot. His graphic novel Red Range (1999) is about a black cowboy who eventually travels to Pellucidar in a cliffhanger ending.
Joe Lansdale’s website lists Ape Man’s Brother as a “limited edition chapbook”, although it received a hardback printing in 2013 from Subterranean Press. It is really a novella in length and may get included in a larger collection at some point. As of now, it is only in print in this kindle edition.
- Hardcover: 104 pages
- Publisher: Subterranean; Deluxe Hardcover Edition edition (31 January 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1596066180
- ISBN-13: 978-1596066182
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 21 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 272 g
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