Thursday, January 17, 2013
Book Review: The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs
A professor is driven mad by his experiments to create life, and to escape the moral confines of civilization, he goes to a Pacific island to continue his experiments, taking his adult daughter along with him. There, with no one to stop him, he begins creating soulless monster men, while keeping his experiments secret from his daughter. An unscrupulous doctor aids the mad professor in his experiments, while scheming to marry the professor’s daughter and become heir to the professor’s fortune. However, various ruthless natives have their own schemes, and soon all the schemes collide violently. It may be that the only one who can save the professor’s daughter from the hands of such evil men is one of the monster men he has created, a man who seeks to have a soul.
While this could perhaps be considered a pulp novel, it is one of the better books of the type. The story is fast-paced and exciting, even if there are a few too many coincidences and a few story holes. The story is given surprising depth due to having the message of always doing the right thing no matter what, which is effectively portrayed in the events that take place. The protagonist, who is one of the monster men, is well written, as is a memorable side character, a shrewd and faithful Chinese cook. The “science” of the monster men is, of course, ridiculous, but it actually seems more advanced than many stories written around the same time, and it does not affect enjoyment of the story. If you like pulp-style adventures that affirm morality, you’ll probably like The Monster Men.
Violence is pervasive, but not graphically described. There are a few mild swear words. Some adult topics are vaguely referenced, and there is some melodramatic romance.