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Monday, February 10, 2014

The Ape Man's Brother by Joe R. Lansdale

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Title: The Ape Man's Brother
Authors: Joe R. Lansdale
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 104
ISBN: 9781596066182
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Author Website:
Twitter: @joelansdale, @subpress
Format: Hardcover
Available: January 31, 2014
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

An interesting take on the Tarzan story, told from the POV of his ape-like brother (who identifies his species as something between man and ape - the so-called "missing link", perhaps?) and who doesn't ever give himself a name, but we'll call him Cheetah for nostalgia's sake. Cheetah describes how Tarzan's story was commercialized to make money and now, in his old age, wants to set the record straight. There are familiar elements to Edgar Rice Burroughs' version (which Cheetah says is only partly right, that Burroughs embellished quite a bit of the story in order to make it more profitable) but there are some distinct differences, mostly in the character of Cheetah himself. After Tarzan and Cheetah are discovered by The Woman and her party of explorers and brought back to the states, Tarzan and Cheetah are immediately thrown into the Hollywood limelight. While Tarzan has a hard time adjusting to life in the modern world, Cheetah has no problem adjusting, becoming more civilized and learning to speak, all while becoming something of a womanizing man-slut (sorry - it is what it is). Eventually, Tarzan has a breakdown and The Woman and Cheetah need to decide what is ultimately better for him.

This is a quick little volume, and it's quite funny in some parts, but I really feel this story could have been fleshed out a little better if it had been a little longer. Lansdale's writing certainly isn't challenging, but his take on Cheetah is pretty funny, all things considered. I would say, though, that if this is your first time reading Lansdale and don't find his writing to your liking in this story, give him another chance. I don't think this book should be considered indicative of his usual writing. So, if you're looking for something a little quirky and funny, and don't want to take it at all seriously, this is probably the book for you.

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