Monday Mention: Edgar R. Burroughs and Timothy Zahn

Today, I would like to #MondayMention two writers whose birthdays are in September and whose novels I’ve enjoyed.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1.09.1875-19.03.1950, USA

When he died at the age of 74, Edgar R. Burroughs was a celebrated adventure and sci-fi novelist. His most prominent characters are Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of the Barsoom Series. I met the latter in a cinema and learned that the story was based on a novel. After I went back home, I checked online and what was my surprise when I learned that I didn’t study of this author in my American Literature classes.

Unfortunately, it was very long since I’d moved out of my parents’ home, so there was no way I could go through my student’s files and notebooks. Maybe we studied, but I wasn’t paying attention. On the other hand, considering who the Professor in American Literature was, it’s no wonder we have skipped a pulp fiction writer. You see, popular fiction isn’t popular with dry scientists. The lady in question is not a scientist of the admirable type, but she abhors authors who can’t make it to the canon and to her favourite post-modernistic esthetic tastes.

Even better, I thought, now I’ll meet a new writer. I found the first 5 of the Barsoom books in the public domain, downloaded and read 3 of them on my Kindle very soon. I won’t even try to be elitist. I love popular fiction so much that my PhD was on that topic. It didn’t turn out successful, as I cancelled writing it after several rather discouraging talks with my supervisor, but the fact remains. Edgar R. Burroughs’ Barsoom stories are in my personal canon.

Timothy Zahn, born 1.09.1951, USA
As most children growing up in the 1980s in Bulgaria, I was enthralled by the Star Wars Trilogy, the original one. When Timothy Zahn’s books appeared on my PC screen one morning while I was examining a nice online bookshop, I decided to spend some money on it. At that time, delivery wasn’t very fast and there weren’t online payment methods. Still, in less than a week, the Heir to the Empire was in my hands. Two days later I ordered the other two books of the trilogy, to save the extra delivery time and charge. A week later I’d read all and was inspired and dreamy, just like in my childhood when all the class would role-play after seeing the film. My friends and I talked and argued about lines and characters, we re-created scenes, fought with lightsabers and spoke like Vader for months on end. And now, I felt the same way. I hurried to go to bed and turn off the light to daydream about the stories written by Timothy Zahn. I was Mara Jade, yes, that’s right, and I could see Talon Karrde before my eyes.

Later on, when Lucas released the prequel, I wasn’t too charmed because Episode I was empty of emotion, Episode II was empty of common sense, and only Episode III clicked with my taste for drama and self-struggle. During that time, I heard news of Lucas’ intention to make the third trilogy, too, and I hoped Zahn’s novels will be made into films.
Needless to say, I was bitterly disappointed by what happened next. Well, business is business, but it doesn’t mean readers should agree. I hope Mr Zahn has lots of loyal fans and enjoys his work as much as we do.

Do you have favourite authors born in September? Tell me about them in the comments.