"We who have died to make the Machine have reached out to you..."

John Bloodstone was a bad writer.
Despite this, one of his books is worth reading, if one has the mental fortitude to wade through the abuse of reading a Burroughs pastiche.
Its not  God-Man which is actually worse than its title; and  the semi-mythical Tarzan on Barsoom is probably only of interest to the rabid slash-fic fan.
The book worth the read is Thundar - Man of Two Worlds.

Its an interesting and vivid tale. Michael Storm traverses a Time Vortex hidden in the Andes; he suffers multiple head injuries and amnesia; he becomes a savage man-beast in a jungle full of man-apes; he is tormented by nightmares and visions, especially of a Spanish longsword that had passed through his hands; he is returned to sanity by a beautiful young woman, who cannot love him physically because she is convinced he is their missing god, Thundar; he is captured by Thundar's enemies; he triumphs...

And then he doesn't. His lady-love still thinks he is an untouchable god, and she vanishes with the holy relics of the nation; the sun shines and nighttime will not come, the world starts to bake, dry out and die, the strange super-computer that controls the Time Vortex keeps transmitting messages into his brain: the book rushes over major adventures, and finally refuses to explain how he re-traverses the Vortex, and is found as a raving and fur-clad savage stowaway on a merchant vessel in San Francisco's harbor.
By this point, Micheal Storm is convinced he might very well be the missing god, and that he could re-enter the Vortex to find his beautiful Cylayne...

Questions abound. Micheal Storm is a orphan child, adopted by a rich archaeologist at the age of 14, so he could not possibly be the immortal Thundar, who disappeared in his prime of adulthood. Thundar's sword is found in the clutches of a weathered skeleton on the current-day side of the Vortex, a skeleton wearing Spanish armor of the 15th century. Thundar's ring, which controls the Supercomputer, is found  in the pouch of a dead man on the far side of the Vortex. Chunks of exposition are simply not provided; the text reads like a realistic narrative in the sense that the narrator rarely has any idea why things are happening to him, or around him.

Why should there be ape-cavemen in the future? Why should the main enemy be first mentioned on page 136 of 192, brought on stage on page 158, and than escapes unharmed from the story on page 185?
Why does this villain command strange super-sciences?

The best of bad art raises endless questions: that is its value.

The writing itself is not the worse I have ever read. Burroughs or Howard have pumped out weaker dreck on occasion. But still, phrases like:

"By the the obvious young breasts of this latter creature in the chair, I knew it was female and could only conclude it was Imkuth, captured by means of some sort of scientific witchcraft that lay beyond my knowledge to define."

"If I had sensed a spell upon me before, now this vision of her--approaching me helplessly yet bravely, her hazel eyes locked on mine in full trusting and confidence--served to galvanize a psychic force which I can only describe as witchcraft. The warlock charisma fell upon my muscles and loins and heart. Where mundane rationalism would have submerged me in a sweatbath of anxiety and frustration, I was now unaccountably wizarded into a semblance of madman or godling after all."

Despite all this, the imagery is top-notch. This book screams to be a epic movie. The fights with the monsters, the nightmarish jungle life with its off-again-on-again passage of day and night, the Pellucidar meets Barsoom peoples...its as if John Bloodstone read Bloodstone by Karl Edward Wagner, fertilized it with A Princess of Mars, incubated it in the Land of Awful Night, and unencumbered by rational thought, wrote the book in one dynamic rush, possibly at the age of 14, and definitely in need of a good lay:
 "Unable to analyze my feelings for her, I held her to me in one flaming moment of blinded ecstasy."

The book provides its own epigraph for this article: "Where mundane rationalism would have..."


  1. The above mentioned quotes are clearly the product of a man who has never spoken his writings aloud. The sentences are seemingly created to be speed read, but not pondered. It is actually PAINFUL to try and speak the words aloud. The funny thing is that this is actually quite hard to do on purpose, writing well is easy; you simply write well. But writing awkward sentences is so unnatural that most authors can't pull it off.

  2. That is why truly bad work is very difficult to fake. This kind of writing actually demonstrates something about the writers mind; his distinctly unique neural wiring is on display. Unfortunately we don't know enough to be able to draw conclusions from it!