Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review and Commentary on Beyond The Furthest Star By Edgar Rice Burroughs For Your Old School Space Opera Campaign

File:Beyond farthest star burroughs.jpg
Introduction from dust jacket of Beyond The Furthest Star:
-- Of them all Poloda was the most distant literally BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR our telescope could view! Yet on Poloda, appeared an American of our own time, to take part in thrilling adventure after another in the battles of that wartorn world. Tangor was the name the people of the planet BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR gave him. What his American name was he preferred not to reveal, for his family on Earth thought him dead, shot down heroically battling the Nazi warplanes over Europe.

But he was not dead. Instead, like John Carter, he found himself on the surface of another world, not Mars, not any in our system, but a world inhabited by men and women, great civilizations, and strange beasts. In this world, Tangor met his greatest challenge, for there, too, war was so vast, so entrenched, that it had become a way of life.

Beyond The Furthest Star is an interstellar lost planet tale in the vein of  the typical Burroughs fare. The hero is shot down in WWII  and he is astrally transported to a new star system 450,000 light years away.

 He wakes up in a garden on Poloda, which he soon learns is a world that has been at war for over a century. Given the name Tangor, he joins the fight of the Unis against the Harkases. This isn't really typical Burroughs in a sense. Where in The Venus novels are a slight and direct attack on the Nazis. This novel is an nasty commentary of Stalin's Russia.
The Inhabitants of Poloda call the hero Tangor which means from nothing. The planet is plagued by war and for those into the AD&D campaign world of SpellJammer this is solid book for ideas. 
 Tangor's experience as a pilot and his friendly manners gain him employment once again as a combat ace. 

 This is a world gripped by constant war and its not going to end anytime soon. This book was divided into two parts and failing health prevented ERB from continuing another rip roaring war time series.
Too bad there's lots here to look into.

ERB designed maps,  a written language, cultures, background information, and more for this beginnning of his world of Poloda
 You can find all of that right over HERE

Using ERB's Beyond The Furthest Star For Your Old School Space Opera
or Spell Jamming Campaign 
UK Tandem Edition
ERB makes an excellent resource for running a Spell Jamming or 'Princess Ark' style of game with its flying ships and the like. This book features airplanes and WW II air aces dealing with the forces of  a hostile planet. This is a pretty gritty piece of writing and verges right into ERB's pulp work. The fact is introducing air planes isn't really that hard in an OD&D style of campaign.
This actually makes a certain sense if your using ERB's writing as a blue print for creating your various worlds. The Venus books are especially useful for creating a sword and planet series that works as an introduction to various encounters, further adventures, and random monster introduction. This is one of Burroughs mos modern of books however. The verging of some of the technology in the book is very interesting and makes a very solid addition to a campaign world.
That being said I won't use this book as an actual campaign world but rather a blue print for campaign development. 
All in all I enjoyed this rip roaring yarn but your mileage may vary.

On line Support for Beyond The Furthest Star 


  1. I always thought Poloda was an under-appreciated Burroughs setting.

  2. Its one of my favorites actually. I'd really like to see more done with it. I'll be covering Burroughs Venus setting tomorrow. Thanks for the comment and more coming up.


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