Skip navigation

Category Archives: Edgar Rice Burroughs


A Contribution To The

ERBzine Library Project

The Beau Ideal Trilogy Of

P.C. Wren

Beau Geste~Beau Sabreur~Beau Ideal

Part II

Review Of Beau Geste


R.E. Prindle


Part I:  Introduction

Part II:  Beau Geste

Part III: Beau Sabreur

Part IV:  Beau Ideal

At the present time our actions are largely influenced by our theories.  We have abandoned the simple and instinctive mode of life of the earlier civilizations for one regulated by the assumptions of our knowledge and supplemented by all the devices of intelligence.

-Charles Howard Hinton, Scientific Romances

     Nothing presents a greater contrast between the ‘simple and instinctive life of the earlier civilizations; than that of the scientific European civilization.  The contrast in the Beau Ideal trilogy will be between the science of Europe and the simple instinctive beliefs of Islam.

     P.C. Wren, the author of this marvelous trilogy was a contemporary of Edgar Rice Burroughs born in the same year of 1875 although dying  in 1941.  He too was one of that favored generation that saw the end of the horse and buggy era and the development of the machine age.  One marvels that Burroughs witnessed the disappearance of the white spots on the maps of the world  while experiencing jet propelled fighter planes shattering his windows with sonic booms at the end of his life.

     Wren was born in England becoming a school teacher in the Raj of India.  He left India in 1917 when it was claimed that he did a five year stint in the Legion which means he would have been discharged in 1922.  There seems to be some doubt of any service in the Legion, heightened  I should think by the fact that he published two books during that period.  He had published some 14 titles between 1910 and 1924 when he hit the jackpot with Beau Geste.

     It seems much more likely that he acquired his FFL ideas from a 1910 volume, In The Foreign Legion, by a German writer named Erwin Rosen.  The Rosen book can be downloaded from the internet which copy is the one I read.  One can easily pick out the passages that form the whole of the FFL content of the Beau Ideal trilogy.  Wren may have spent some time touring the bulge of Africa but even then there is no scenery described that couldn’t have been written by Edgar Rice Burroughs who never left his own sunny shores.

     As Wren is supposed to have spent the rest of his life in England one wonders where he picked up his amazing knowledge of American and Hobo slang.  His two American characters, Hank and Buddy, seemed true to life to me.  Their home in Texas was probably also borrowed from Erwin Rosen’s early days as recounted in In The Legion.

     Wren, somewhere along the line read some Burroughs while it seems clear that Burroughs read the Beau Ideal trilogy being influenced by it.  This is fairly clear, for instance, in Tarzan Triumphant.  In that book Tarzan battles some desert nomads while one compares this passage from Beau Geste with the lost ribes inside Burroughs’ volcano.  Beau Geste, Lippincott, First Edition, 39th Impression:

     After riding for some three or four hours towards some low rocky mountains, we reached and approached a narrow and lofty pass.  This we threaded in single file, and coming to the top, saw an endless plain out of which rose a gara, an abrupt and isoalted plateau, looking like a giant cheese, cliff sided, with a flat top; the whole, I suppose, about a square mile in area.

     Apparently it was quite inaccesible and untrodden by the foot of man, or even of mountain sheep or goats.  Only an eagle, I imagined, had ever looked upon the top of that isolated square mile of rock.

     I was wrong, however, the place proving to be a gigantic fort- a fort of the most perfect kind, but which owed nothing to the hand of man.

     Circling the cliff-like precipitous base of the mountain, we came to a crack in the thousand foot wall, a crack that was invisible at a hundred yards.

     Into this narrow fissure the sheikh led us in single file, and squeezing our way between gigantic cactus, we rode along the upward-sloping bottom of a winding chasm that was not six feet wide.

     Suddenly our path was cut by a deep ravine, some three yards wide, a great crack across the crack in which we were entombed…

     So, adapted for Burroughs’ purposes one has a major portion of Tarzan Triumphant.  As we will see Wren borrowed prfusely from other writers including Rosen.

     Wren does an interesting thing.  While the time frame is rather loose, the time frame seems to be from, say, 1888 to 1910.  There is no mention of the recent Great War although the Bolshevik Revolution is hinted at.  The first volume, Beau Geste, which means Good Deed, is written in the style of the mid-nineteenth century.  The story is divided in two parts with a framing tale, the prehistory of the Geste Brothers in England and the events in the Legion Etrangere.  Beau Geste could have been written by Trollope or Ouida.  It does bear some resemblance to Ouida’s Under Two Flags.  The second title, Beau Sabreur shades into the pulp style while the third, Beau Ideal is full blown pulp and then some.  Thus while contrasting scientific and mythopoeic civilization Wren literally transits from mid-Victorian to pulp writing styles.  The banter of the characters also changes from the English style of the young Gestes to the hobo slang of Hank and Buddy.  Very nicely done.  You have to read the trilogy in sequence though to get the full effect.

     Wren has been influenced by Conan Doyle as he specifically says that Beau Geste is a mystery story a la Sherlock Holmes.  He might as well have added, based on Wilkie Collins’ Moonstone.

     But, in many ways, his story is overridden by his obsession of the Beau Ideal.  His point in the opening chapters is to establish the high moral character of the Gestes.   In this  he is relentless almost to the point of being dogmatic.

     While the novel is set, perhaps, in the late eighties or early nineties it was published in 1924 after the Bolshevik Revolution and the Red challange not only to high ideals but ideals of any kind.  With the Communists it was the ends justify the mean, with Wren it was a code of honor, a sense of fair play, of Marquis of Queensbury rules, of chivalry, in two words, of a Beau Ideal- a beatiful ideal.  A utopian hope equal to that of any H. G. Wells and the Communist myrmidons.

     Wren, along with most English and Americans would have been brought up in that great compendium of Western values- the stories of King Arthur and high chivalry.  Few people other than specialists would have read more than Mallory’s Morte D’ Arthur although a steady stream of contemporary interpretations was produced in the nineteenth century including Tennyson’s Idyls Of The King and Howard Pyles’s four volume rendering  published from 1903 to 1910.

     Pyle’s work was very likely read by Edgar Rice Burroughs but likely not until after he began writing  or perhaps the 1903 first volume earlier.  Traces show in some settings but more especially in his reversion to Pyle’s Arthuring phraseology, especially ERB’s clumsy and bothersome use of the word an for if.  Much of his stilted dialogue can probably be traced back to Pyle.

     Pyle’s Arthur is part of a neo-Romantic movement that contrasted highly with the scientific views of both ERB and Wren.

     The Arthurian stories are quite frankly the longest fairy tale in the English language expecially in the Pyle verson.  His books are all magic and enchantment in a land of Faerie.  I’m sure Burroughs would have been drawn to the work because of Pyle’s work as an artist and very famous book illustrator.  His version is very beautifully and charmingly illustrated by himself.  One can compare Pyle’s Arthur with L. Frank Baum’s Oz series as an influence on Burroughs.

     So, Wren, I believe, viewed the desert tribes in the light of the earlier Faerie world view that was embedded in the English and American mind, through the lens of science that made a sharp distinction between the West and the primitive desert tribes.

     Wren introduces the main protagonists in their English Arthurian setting.  The three Gestes, Isobel, Henri de Beaujolais and Otis Vanbrugh.  Otis, the American, is visiting relatives when he meets the Gestes, Isobel and Claudia.  He falls in love with Isobel worshipping the ground she walks on in high chivalric manner.  Wren spends pages on banter before getting to the crux of the matter, the theft of the jewel, the Sapphire called the Blue Water.

     Michael, or Beau Geste, is the personification of the Beau Ideal.  Thus when the jewel is stolen by Claudia, which only he knows, he chivalrously assumes the guilt leaving for the Legion Etrangere.  His brother Digby confesses to throw doubt on Beau’s guilt also heading for the sands of Africa.  John Geste who has just discovered his love for Isobel and become engaged also leaves it all behind disappearing into the night.  Otis goes back home.

     John assumes his brothers have joined the Legion so acting on that assumption alone he goes to Paris and does so also.  From his joining in Paris to Fort Zinderneuf the account of the Legion closely follows Rosen’s account of his adventure in his book, In The Foreign Legion.

     John Geste joins in exactly the same manner, has exactly the same adventures en route to Africa and aboard ship across the Mediterranean.  If  Wren had actually been in the Legion there would have been no reason for him to hue so close to other’s experiences so I think it’s clear that he himself was never in the FFL.

     By luck John finds Beau and Digby in Oran where all three are assigned to the same company posted to the Legion city, Sidi Bel Abbes.  This company is then marched to Fort Zinderneuf somewhere in the South either in the actual Sahara or in the Sahel but toward Nigeria.

     The rumor of what is referred to as the diamond gains currency and the brothers are thought to be jewel theives.  A number of people are conspiring to obtain the jewel.  In fact Beau does have the Blue Water.  I’m not going to get into the story of the stone, it has nothing to do with the Beau Ideal.  If you’ve seen the movie, Beau Geste, you may remember, if not, if you wish to know you’ll have to see the movie or read the book yourself.

     Once on station disaster strikes, the troops mutiny just as the Arabs attack and the entire contingent save John is killed.  As the men die the Sergeant sets each one at his post to give the appearance that the fort is fully manned as the survivors race from port to port firing at the Arabs.

     The mystery, of course, is that when the relief column arrives under the command of de Beaujolais, the Arabs have fled leaving a fort manned by dead men.  Wren here introduces the Communist villain Rastignac.  Hank and Buddy who were in the Geste’s company had been assigned to other duty which was with de Beaujolais.  They arrive in his column.  All three of these characters, four with de Beaujolais will figure largely in the two sequels.

     For now Rastignac refuses an order to enter the fort whose eeriness is unsettling.  Doing his duty de Beaujolais fires point blank with his pistol which misfires saving the traitor’s life.  The bugler who is Digby Geste volunteers to enter the fort promptly doing so.

     He discovers the dead Beau and the Sergeant who has Beau’s bayonet in his torso.  Digby also disappears so the mystery of the fort intensifies as de Beaujolais enters to find the mysterious sight of Beau and the Sergeant with the walls lined with dead soldiers.

     Skipping to the essentials, Rastignac rouses the men to mutiny while they are about to do when a fire breaks out in the fort saving de Beaujalais’ face.

     So the main story ends.

      Wren then has to set up the sequels.  These involve de Beaujolais, John Geste, Hank and Buddy and Rastignac.  Otis Van Brugh is temporarily not in the picture.  Wren also wants to set up his notion of the Beau Ideal.

     John Geste has already slipped over the back wall.  Digby now follows him.  Buddy and Hank are selected to slip through the imagined Arab lines to bring help.  All four meet behind the fort.  Wren had read Rosen, who he follows closely, so he knows it is certain and gruesome death at the hands of the Arab women to be on foot in the desert.  Hank and Buddy already have camels so two more are procured.  The band then sets out for the desert.

     They disguise themselves as Arabs experiencing various adventures like errant knights of Arthur.  Here Wren displays his seeming near total lack of experience on the burning sands.  His mountaintop encampment appears to be a combination of Burroughs and Verne’s City In The Desert.  Digby is killed in a battle with Arabs while John Geste comes down with fever being taken back to Nigeria by Hank and Buddy from whence he returns to England.

     Buddy had been lost on the burning sands so as part of the loyalty of the Beau Ideal Hank goes back in search of him.  And so Beau Geste ends.

     The mystery of Fort Zinderneuf will be explained in the sequel.  John feeling guilty for failing his friends in the tradition of the Beau Ideal will return to look for them.  Otis Van Brugh shows up in Africa with his sister Mary.  De Beaujolais becomes an agent of the secret police of France a la Tarzan but as an officer of the Spahis, a different force than the Foreign Legion.

     Wren then cleverly and amusingly builds on Beau Geste in the two remaining novels but in a different story.  Overall, nicely done.

     The review of Beau Sabreur follows.


A Short Story

The Magic Shop


Time Travel In Einstein’s Universe


R.E. Prindle


     Possible universes indeed!  Does anyone think such things can possibly exist.  Just wishful projections of a religious consciousness.  That’t the way I see it but Dr. Anton, a man of science, no less, says he has his doubts.

     Well, we were walking down the street the other day when we noticed a slight shimmer in the atmosphere ahead of us.  We had already walked through it before we had time to even wonder what it was.  There was a slight tingle as we passed through but as nothing else seemed to change, the street was no different, while when we looked back we recognized each landmark where it had always been before; traffic, the people, there seemed to be no difference although it did seem as though we were looking back through a mirror into a parallel universe.

     We had already discussed it as some prank of the atmosphere when passing along a wall I noticed what seemed to be a sparkle emitting from a standard Portland cement wall.  Holding Dr. Anton back for a moment I stepped up to investigate.  As I drew nearer a quaint old fashioned shop door appeared from nowhere.  It wasn’t there before.  The sparkle I had seen was coming from a red neon sign above the green door which read “The Magic Shop.’

       When Anton came closer the same door became apparent to him.  He drew my attention to a red splash on the lintel of the door which he said was sheep’s blood but I swear it just looked like red paint to me.

     I knew that, as a hundred years earlier when this same door had appeared in London, if we were the right sort we would be able to pass over.  And, dear Reader, we did.  You look like the right sort so why don’t you pass over with us into the Magic Shop.

     The door had one of those old fashioned bells above it that tinkled as we entered.  The door swung shut and then through the window we saw a man outside rush for the door but we only heard a thud as he hit the wall.  He wasn’t the right sort, we were.

     There was an elfin like man behind the counter who smiled quietly at us but only inclined his head to the right.  When he did so you could look through the hole where his nose and chin touched.  If you had good aim you could have thrown a golf ball through with nothing but a whiff of air to account for its passage.  As the indicated direction was straight in front of us we turned from him to see a golden arch with this legend above it:  This Way To The Things That Were.

     There were rows of busts beside and above the shimmering pulsating arch.  I was used to seeing pseudo antique busts of Caesar, Milton, Athene and the like but these were extremely lifelike busts of people for which I thought there could be only a minimal demand.  In fact, I thought, anyone with such a stock of goods must necessarily go bust, pronto.  No pun intended.  I mean, who’s ever going to buy a bust of Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.G. Wells was there, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Fennimore Cooper and H. Rider Haggard; I was staggered by the last because I didn’t know anyone who could recognize him except this guy George I know.  And that guy’s into deep strange.

     Just as a lark I said hello to Edgar Rice Burroughs.  I was stunned when he said “Hello Warbaby’ back to me.  I staggered back in amazement managing to utter:  How’s things?  I was absolutely stunned when the Great ERB smiled back and said:  ‘I like the things you’ve been writing about me, Doug.’  I was about to salute Bertie Wells just to see what he would answer back when Dr. Anton noticed that the clerk was motioning us to move along by pushing the backs of his fingers at us.

     What cheek, I thought.  I’m a free born All-American Boy, nobody tells me what to do.

     My god, I thought, on the split screen of my mind, those aren’t plaster busts those are real heads.  I was really talking to Edgar Rice Burroughs the inventor of the Gridley Wave, or at least, the inventor of Gridley.

     I was trying to expostulate to Dr. Anton, I expostulate rather well, grabbing hold of his shoulder pad as he grabbed my belt pulling me through the arch.  First time I’ve ever seen him intimidated by a clerk who, by the way, shouted cheerily:  Mind that first step.

     All three of us must have missed it because after a short tumble we found ourselves sitting on a brightly lit concrete floor.

     I and you, Reader, were slow in getting our wits about us.  By the time our heads stopped spinning we got up off the floor to find Dr. Anton looking around him.

     Warbaby, do you know where we are?  He asked while I was still dazed, so I mumbled out not exactly.  It’s as bright as it is because of those kleig lights.  Anton said wonderingly.  I think we’re on a Hollywood sound stage.  Must be a thirties period piece,  I answered looking around at the people I thought were playing stagehands.

     No, Anton said, I think this is the thirties.  Remember that sign above the golden arch that said:  Things That Were?

     Aw, come on, Anton.  You’re not going to try to make me believe that we’ve traveled through time and space are you?  Well, he said, look over there at that portly little round man.  Yeah, I said, you mean that actor made up to look like H.G. Wells?  Dr. Anton gave me one of those impatient looks of his as though he were talking to an idiot.  I can tell you quite frankly, he wasn’t.  That’s not an actor made up as H.G. Wells, that is H.G. Wells.

     Why sure, Anton, I said thinking he wasn’t goint to catch me out.  No. He said. I think I know when and where we are now.  This is Hollywood in 1935.  I believe we’re on the soundstage for the movie ‘Things To Come.’  Oh yeah, I smiled brushing a fleck of dust from my dungarees.  Dungarees?  I wasn’t wearing dungrees when we entered the Magic Shop.  I don’t even own a pair.  I went to scratch my head in perplexity but found it covered by one of those British motoring caps.  Another thing I don’t own.

     When I looked over at Drl Anton he was wearing nearly the same thing except he had one of those stupid little blue Russian Revolutionary caps on his head.  And it really wasn’t his head; it was someone else’s.  So was his body.  Say, this was developing into a mystery.  Anton, is that you?  I asked looking back at Reader who was standing patiently by with one of those big metal cases on either side of his legs.

     Yes, it’s me, Warbaby, but I’m not alone, nor are you or Reader.  You see, I’ve just discovered, there’s a reason that no time traveler has ever been seen.  Apart from the fact that time travel doesn’t exist I sneered.  No, that’s not it.  But in any particular past time all the space has already been taken up.  Nothing can be altered or changed because as the Greek philosopher said:  What is is and cannot not be .  Whis is not, is not and cannot not be.  Nothing can be altered or changed in a completed time period because there is no room for any new matter.

     Well, I said archly, then how are we where we can’t be?  This may seem strange, Anton said, which I thought required no further comment, but I’ve just discovered what thousands perhaps milions already know.  We can exist here because of an almost undetectable thin membraneous vacuum around the brain.  As we all know nature abhors a vacuum so there is this one small interstice of time and space that can be filled without displacing reality.  Get it?

     You’re the scientist, I said, laughing up my sleeve.

     This may account for unaccountable aberrant actions by otherwise consistent people.  Anton said wonderingly.  They had this time traveller sharing space in their head.  Their mind waves must have clashed, you know, like static on the radio.

     Here I said snidely that that probably accounts for why Edgar Rice Burroughs invented the Gridley Wave; to keep his mind clear.  Even then when the power wasn’t on he thought he was mad and two different people.  Perhaps you have something there, Anton, I chuckled.  You know I think something is ridiculous when I chuckle.

     I suspect your psychology practice is going to boom when you get back Anton and start doubling your billing by charging one person for two different minds.  I think you may have hold of something of value here if you know how to exploit it.

     Talk about making a living, Anton said disregarding my sarcasm in the wonder of the moment, see who that is in the Director’s skull?  Who?  That’s ;your old friend J. Richard Gott.  Dick Gott here in 1935 in this studio?  What a coincidence.  Well, yeah, you could call it a coincidence but do you see who he brought in the skull of that gorgeous starlet standing by his chair?  That’s his great-great-grandmother at twenty.  Knock out isn’t she?     I didn’t know that was possible, Warbaby.  Shoot, anything’s possible in one of Einstein’s universes, I said.  You ain’t seen nothing yet.  It’s all mirrors and mathematics.  Give these guys a postulate and they’ll come up with the numbers to prove it out.  You know Gott.  I suspect he climbed up a superstring in our time, swung from string to string like Tarzan, slid down that superstring to go back and pick up his GG Grandmom, picked her up back whenever then climbed back up the superstring to move over to 1935 then slid down with her here.  That Gott, he’s already himself as his own mom and dad.  He had to slide down a number os superstrings to pull that off.  I don’t know which one he slid down to get his GG Grandma but I imagine if he gets her pregnant he’s going to have to create a whole new genre of relationships to explain it.  Try to trace your ancestry from that one.

     It hurts my host’s head to think about it.  They won’t work it out in this universe Anton but this place is madder than a superstring of Edgar Rice Burroughses.  How’s that?  Well, take a look Anton, everybody here is somebody else.  Everyone here has a time traveler wrapped around his brain.  Try to disentangle that one.

     I must be right then, that must be why no one has ever seen a time traveler.  It’s not that they’re just like you and me but they are you and me.  I mean, we look just like these stagehands we’re in like Gott looks like Menzies.

     Hmmm.  A thought occurs to me Warbaby.  What if time travelers were wrapped around our brains when we left the present to enter 1935?  We would be triple deckers, Anton.  We may have trapped out TTs in a sort of time warp where they can never go backward or forward until we return to where they got off the inter-sidereal time-loop.  Look at what H.G. Wells started.  If we don’t get back there’ll probable be a couple unused superstrings stranded in time and space.  Perhaps stranded in the interstice where time and space join.  Like one of those oil fields in Texas.

     Reader, pick up those boxes we’re being directed over to camera three.  This is a better place too, Anton, we’ve got a better view of Wells.  Look at that old lecher fondling the folds of that starlet’s gown.  Look at him, just at bust level.  I don’t blame him though.  She’s no Kali Bwana but she can stand next to my fire any time she wants.

     Warbaby!  Warbaby look! Follow Wells’ line of vision to over behind camera number one.  Oh my god!  That’s Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Quick Anton, freeze the frame.  How do you do that?  Just squint your eyes.  I recognize the Einstein of 1905 as your fellow traveler.  Squint quick.  Albert Einstein of 1905 is wrapped around my brain?  No kidding?  I can just barely see him and I don’t know how you picked him up but that’s him.  Look, everyone is frozen in place.  Time has had a stop.  Well, we all knew that time must have a stop sometime but this is just a pause Anton.  It’s like we moved the frame out of context to a parallel universe.  Everything is moving along as it was before so the future won’t be thrown out of kilter by a few minutes. It’s like we have shifted to a different memory bank in the archival universe.  When the pause is ended we’ll just drop back in this 1935 scene and universe where we stepped out.

     Boy, to go back in time seventy years to remove a moment of time from milieu and drop it back in again.  Sometimes I think I must be dreaming.  It could be, Anton, it could be.

     You see, Anton, even in an Einstein universe I think we’ve got a problem here.  Yes?  What?  Well, Anton, if this is as you say, the set of ‘Things To Come’, then the bad news is that the movie was filmed in England and not in Hollywood.  We know that Burroughs was never in England so how can boths Wells and Burroughs be on the same ‘Things To Come’ soundstage in Hollywood?  Hm, Mr. Scientist?

     Time travel hasn’t been fully explained, Warbaby.  I suppose not, Anton, but how can two places thousands of miles apart be in the same place at once.  Speak, oh Master, your humble student listens.

     I’t s not as difficult as it may sound, humble student.  I believe what we’re in here is a photo-mirage of inter-sidereal time.  I believe two images have been super-imposed with bits entangled and disentangled differently so as to produce a melange effect.  You have the seeming impossibility of a British set on a Hollywood soundstage with Wells and Burroughs together.

     Yes, we do have that seeming impossibility.  Just to make a good story better, Anton, now that the frame is frozen and we can form images a little better, do you realize that there are three different Einsteins on the set?  Look, you’ve got the Menzies/Gott/Einstein, then over there that actress and actor holding hands is wrapped with a 1954 Einstein and a 1960 Marilyn Monroe.  Her brain is wrapped with a post-mortem Victor Mature.  The old buzzard found a way to make it with him and her without anyone knowing. A regular sandwich.   First he moved ahead in time and space to make the date then they both came back to this set of ‘Things To Come.’  Must be one of his favorite movies.  After the movie’s over he will drop her off in 1960 then drive home to 1954.  How does that account for Victor Mature?  Mature must have been an inter-sidereal hitchhiker who was stranded while hitching and then died back on earth so he truly had no body on his bond.  And then he got lucky and how, hey?  Then there’s a 1943 model Einstein watching quietly from the skull of a bit player.  He must just have been curious.  If all three get together they can compare notes on how they developed his theories.  This is terrific although I’ve forgotten whether I’m Warbaby and you’re Polarion or vice versa.

     I haven’t.  You’re Warbaby and I’m Anton and that is Reader.

     Well, I’m getting dizzy even if you aren’t Anton.  I didn’t thing Wells and Burroughs had ever met yet as you see here they are.

     They still haven’t me Warbaby and they never will.  I’ll tell you what I think has happened.  We know that Wells, hated may not be the right word, resented Burroughs, um, doing variations on some of his stories.  Monster Men might as well be the Island Of Dr. Moreau.  The Mars series reverses the situation in ‘The War Of The Worlds’.  Not only that but Burroughs criticized some of Wells’ ideas from The Time Machine in Tarzan And The Jewels Of Opar.

     Burroughs on the other hand who began writing twenty years after Wells must have had his mind blown by that fantastic spate of sci-fi stories by Wells from 1895 to 1905 or fantasias as they were then called.  That stuff can stil bowl you over, especially if you’re under twenty-five and as spacy as we are now.  Burroughs had to revere the master.

     It must be that Wells knew Einstein so he got him to disentangle the noumenon of the London studio from England and reentangle it here.  Then Burroughs must have been notified that Wells was in town and came on down to take a  look at him.

     Just look.  Wells has that look of detestation in his eyes while Burroughs combines a haughty grandeur with the look of a puppy dog wanting to get in his master’s lap.

     You’ve studied up on this Warbaby.  What’s the story?  It’s simple enough, Anton.  Wells was, of course, famous when the Great War started while Burroughs had only begun to reach for fame so Wells had no idea of his work until after the War perhaps by 1921 perhaps when someone pointed out Burrughs novels to him.

     There was certainly no copyright infringement by ERB, nothing that was plagiarism but Wells thought, or rather, he didn’t realize that he had created at least one new genre in literature, that of science fiction, as well as futuristic or speculative fiction.  Since you’ve called on me to wax learned, Anton, Herman Hesse thought up something he called the Glass Bead Game about 1943.  The Glass Bead Game involved writing stories placing yourself in a different time and character.  Guys like Wells and Burroughs had mastered the art decades earlier.  Anyway Wells  chose to be angry with ERB.  In 1923 he wrote a story called Men Like Gods in which he invented a Burroughs character and then killed him off.

     Burroughs responded in his fiction and the feud went on until 19- well, today, here, now.  These guys should have been great friends.  Just look at them, Anton, Burroughs has, is going to rather, sell hundreds of millions of books in every country on earth.  He has already created one of the great psychic projections of mankind in Tarzan.  At this very moment we’ve frozen in time he is the world’s best selling author.

     Wells there at sixty-nine has written a dozen novels that will be popular and influential when we get back to our present.

     Both men will have many works successfully translated to the screen.  Back home this one, Things To Come, will be given four and a half stars by reviewers.

     We are literally looking at two intellectual giants of the twentieth century.  Two men of incredible talent revolving around each other like like two great planets in space, perhaps chasing each other around a ‘donut’ atmosphere as Burroughs would have it.

     See if you can get your Einstein to snap a picture of this which will appear on your camera back home when we get back.  Can he do that?  Sure, get the 1905 model of Einstein to do it, mirrors and mathematics, no problem.  Darn, Warbaby, when we passed the time warp it must have discharged my battery.  I don’t have any power.  Well, just send us an inter-sidereal email.  Anton.  My machine’s turned off.  What do you mean your computer’s turned off, Anton, nobody turns off their computer?  I’ve been getting too many bad jokes, Warbaby, I want to discourage them.  Use yours.

     Einstein’s brain wrap is on yours, not mine.  They won’t be able to work out the mathematics of brain transfers for another decade beyond home yet.  We’ll have him drop this still back into the moving picture and get on with our lives.

     Ooh, H.G. got a little flesh with his index finger just then.  Funny what an attraction those things are for us.  Those are real, too, no implants yet.

     There goes Burroughs Warbaby.  Looks kinda hurt.

     Yeah, back to Tarzana, probably traveling along the Gridley Ware.  I wonder what Wells thinks of a guy like Burroughs who has practically created his own parallel universe in the California sun and lives in it, no less.  Imagine a guy buying enough land for a town, subdividing it and then calling it after his own literary creation.  Levitt, created Levittown, Warbaby.

     Not the same thing Anton.  Jimmy Jones created Jonestown in the jungle too which was a much weirder story than Tarzana and still not the same thing.

     Oops, where are we going?  Lunch time, Warbaby, everybody off to the lunch box.  Good, we’ll be able to sit around and get all the good gossip.

     Whoo! Where are we Anton?  Back in the Magic Shop, Warbaby.  There won’t be any gossip for us.  Where’s the clerk pointing now?  I think he’s showing us the back door, Warbaby.  We may be the right sort but I think we’ve overstayed our welcome.

     Here we are back in the street, Warbaby.  I think this is regular old 2008.  I think we’re on the real side of the membrane too, can’t see your Einstein anymore.  Well, that was quite an adventure.  Yeah, too bad we couldn’t get that picture.  You know the battery may have been cleared when we passed through the shimmer.  Too bad.  If we could have claimed we found that picture in a drawer that would have been worth a little and proved something as true that never happened and in living color too.  History, huh?

     Well, Reader, it was nice of you to come along but we have to part now.  I hope you had an enjoyable interlude.  Watch out!  Don’t trip over that superstring.