For years, I’ve seen copies of my Savage Tales of Ki-Gor book flying off the shelves but nobody ever reviewed the darned thing. Well, that’s now changed. Mike Dooley posted this review on the Pulp Talk page on Facebook:
I finally received and read “Savage Tales of Ki-Gor” by Barry Reese. Here are my honest thoughts on it.
First off, it was a great adventure story (actually 2 stories). Barry really does well with the Ki-Gor character, highlighting the razor’s edge between normal man and berserker savage, as well as the amusing dialogues when Ki-Gor attempts to figure out “civilized” people and often comes up short. I feared the African setting might suffer as Barry has never visited Africa (an assumption on my part) but he actually carries off the setting pretty well.
I also enjoyed the nearly equal relation between Tembu George and Ki-Gor, too often in this and every other pulp story the supporting characters ultimately become “damsels in distress” for the hero to rescue. I have only read about 20 of the original stories so far, and do not claim to be an expert on the subject, please keep that in mind with the following comments. Barry stays with the original Tembu George origin story, while the original pulps seemed to stray away from it or ignore it altogether in later stories.
Barry’s Ki-Gor is very eloquent compared to the original, almost too much so. He seems to talk too much, rather than let his actions speak for him. And there is a strong undercurrent of sexuality in many of the descriptions, much more than I remember in the originals. Much of this might be Barry’s style, and I feel it is OK when a new writer brings new perspective to the table, I guess I just need more of it to see if I ultimately like it. I would definitely read more stories of Ki-Gor by Barry if they appear, which is my ultimate favorable comment. But he cannot ignore the N’Geeso character should the stories continue. That was a major gap to me. I was looking forward to how Barry would handle the almost Monk/Ham relationship between George and the pygmy, and never got the chance to see it.
Thanks to Mike for the review! I had a lot of fun writing Ki-Gor and I’ve thought about returning to the character at some point. I had plans to do some stuff with N’Geeso in future stories but I’ve never gotten around to it.
As for how my Ki-Gor talked — I read a lot of Ki-Gor stories before writing my own and I definitely tried to stay consistent with what went before. I’ll have to bow to your decision as to how closely I was able to do that. Ditto the sexuality that was present — I don’t feel that I lingered on any of it but to me a good jungle story should be exciting, sexy and a little bit funny. I tried to include all of those elements in healthy amounts.