had written his first novel "Under the Moons of Mars" the previous year
and Metcalf had snapped it up. This exotic tale of love, war and adventure
on the red planet was popular with All-Story readers and demonstrated
that Burroughs was a master at describing action and creating colorful
atmosphere. Metcalf thought Burroughs would be a natural for writing an
Ivanhoe-type story of Merrie Olde England. Burroughs accepted the challenge
and probably made Metcalf's head spin when he produced "The Outlaw of Torn"
in two weeks! Metcalf made Burroughs' head spin by rejecting the novel.
The ease with which he had written and sold his first story had given Burroughs
the sense that he could make a living as a writer; the fiasco with "The
Outlaw of Torn" deflated his dreams. The writing game was not for him.
But Metcalf offered encouragement
and suggested Burroughs write what he wanted rather than what the editor
suggested. And so Burroughs outlined the tale he wanted to tell: "The story
I am on now is of the scion of a noble English house - of the present time
- who was born in tropical Africa where his parents died when he was about
a year old. The infant was found and adopted by a huge she-ape, and was
brought up among a band of fierce anthropoids.
"The mental development of this ape-man in spite of every handicap, of
how he learned to read English without knowledge of the spoken language,
of the way in which his inherent reasoning faculties lifted him high above
his savage jungle friends and enemies, of his meeting with a white girl,
how he came at last to civilization and to his own makes most fascinating
writing and I think will prove interesting reading."
Interesting reading indeed,
and a story now known worldwide. But as Burroughs wrote out this tale,
with a fountain pen in longhand, he was only interested in thrilling the
readers. The story came easily from his pen, but Burroughs didn't like
the name he had thought up for his jungle hero: Zantar. Doesn't sound quite
right; scratch it out. Next up: Tublat-Zan. Ugh. Even worse. The third
time proved the charm, as Burroughs wrote