Out of Time's Abyss
Series: Caspak 3
Reviewed date: 2007 Sep 18
Out of Time's Abyss is the conclusion of the Caspak trilogy. It's not so much a trilogy as a three-part story, so it doesn't make sense unless you've read the previous installments.
Burroughs is not at the top of his form here. The action feels largely perfunctory. The plot is merely a device to allow Burroughs to explain the curious mode of evolution in the land of Caspak.
In Caspak, evolution is central to the lives of all men. The pinnacle of Caspakian evolution, the Galu people, do not have children. Instead, members of the lower races spontaneously rise and become Galu. Likewise, members of the highest order of apes spontaneously rise and become men. Thus in Caspak, every individual creature experiences the full evolutionary development from primordial tadpole to fully developed man.
Women in Caspak spend an hour each morning in the river water, releasing eggs that wash out to sea. There they begin the evolutionary process that will eventually come full circle. Because the women do not bear children, one might expect this to have an impact on Caspakian culture. Burroughs passes up this opportunity for building an interesting society, sadly.
Instead, Burroughs creates a whole new race of man: the Wieroos. The Wieroo are winged men who claim to be the pinnacle of human evolution. The Wieroo and the Galu compete for dominance on Caspak. Both groups are anxious to develop the ability to give live birth--which they call cos-ata-lu, as they hope this will allow them to increase their numbers and conquer the whole of Caspak.
A few Galu women are able to give live birth, but they are rare. The Wieroo can all reproduce cos-ata-lu, but they only have male offspring. To keep the race alive, the Wieroo steal any Galu women who shows signs of being able to bear children.
In Out of Time's Abyss, our hero Bradley is kidnapped by Wieroo. In captivity, he meets a Galu woman. They escape together and have many adventures. It's a boring story, though, except for the glimpses into the Wieroo culture.