On “Tarrano the Conqueror”

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that other title that’s been two years in the making!

I’m an admirer of Ray Cummings. I know he’s been branded a one-trick pony, but I think that’s unfair. The guy wrote in many genres, including the hero pulps (The Phantom Detective, and possibly more). He’s known for his “The Girl in the Golden Atom” story, and yet he wrote for decades. Several of his works were published in book form. One of them, “Tarrano the Conqueror,” was published by A.C. McClurg as one of the sci-fi authors they published after Burroughs left them. Perhaps not his best novel, “Tarrano the Conqueror” is still an interesting read.

So I was pleased to encounter a fellow collector who’d picked up one of those pulp extract, home-brew collections of all the chapters to “Tarrano the Conqueror” from Science and Invention, an early Gernsback magazine. While I don’t know if there’s a big difference between the Science and Invention and McClurg versions, what really struck me was that the Science and Invention episodes contained a grand total of almost 60 illustrations by early pulp (and Marvel Comics #1) cover artist Frank R. Paul. These have not seen the light of day since they were published, and any sci-fi pulp fan should want to see them. 

This book is nearing the final stages of corrections, and I’m hoping to have it out by Christmas. As we get closer, I’ll try to post a few of the Paul illustrations to this blog. But this should be a must-own. Since I began working on it in 2006, a text version of this has appeared on Project Gutenberg, ripe with typos and such. Not surprisingly, several sketchy publishers immediately published their own book editions of this free-for-use text. Our version should be the one to own. Can I call it the “Final Cut”?

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