He died at 75, with a wish list for the afterlife I want to travel through the space to visit other planets Edgar Rice Burroughs outsold the combination of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner, at his time He ventured far and wide in the realm of imagination Maybe he caught kids and teens first, then adults, definitely I was one of the caught ups in this vast world imagined, when I was a teen I read Tarzan whenever possible and all the pulp fiction I could grab Ray Bradbury was right saying about Burroughs astronomers and biochemists fell in love with John Carter and Tarzan B put us on the moon all technologists read him So, no wonder Bradbury called him the most influential writer of the world I agree in some way, for a certain genre of writing The Barsoom world which this novel of John Carter adventures on Mars is a part of started before Tarzan It was a shy start up, so to speak, because Burroughs didn t even pen it with his own name, but under the name Norman Bean The 1st version was called Under the moons of Mars later then it became A princess of Mars, published in 1912 Burroughs was in a sort of existential desperation The business of writing saved him He had started at 35 He acknowledged his earlier career had been disappointing APoM struck me first for its introductory lines John Carter the civil war hero the one we all love, writes the narrator, grey eyes , black hair a typical southern gentleman , finds himself looking for gold in the Arizona landscape His musings inside a cave are lapidary I am a very old man possibly I am 100 possibly I have always been a man of 30 And shortly after he s catapulted to another sphere Mars He s just seen his terrestrial body laying inside the cave now, he s bare naked contemplating this incubator of eggs of strange creatures, hatching The whole panoply of creatures will unfold before his eyes male, green Martians with scrawny bodies, 6 legged creatures , 15 feet high, 400 pounds of weight Then females, 10 to 12 feet tall Beings made for war naturally selected and raised for war A population with curious statistics of 300 years of average life,they can live up to 1000 years, only 1 in 1000 dies of disease There s a continual warfare between their communities Carter s only friends are Martian Sola a motherly young woman of 45 , a loyal watch dog and surely the girl, the loved princess, Dejah Thoris A nomadic race whose only thoughts are for the today A race of brutes Five million Martians Carter discovers his new abilities on the surface of Mars he s capable of super human leaps 30 feet into the air Even Martians are astounded He noticed some buildings are out of proportions when compared to these green Martians maybe another civilization, a different one, had been responsible for its construction But there are other types the colossal ape like white creatures hairless except a bristly hair upon its head And.The two Martian moons are closer than ours so nights are different if both moons visible, than light,if not, total darknesss Nights are cold on Mars So much has been written on these stories of Burroughs from so many angles Recently, I ve read this political Marxist view by a blogger the politics of A Princess of Mars are rooted in a 19th century colonialism that accurately reflects the wishes and problems of modern imperialism I think you can read politics in to Burroughs His aim will always go far beyond that because imagination needs no politics When I was a kid,my eyes didn t read politics I was mesmerized,not by ideology, certainly not.Forever young,like Carter. Old school pulpy goodness. Fun classic full of manly adventures and good cheesy romance between an awesomely manly man John Carter did I mention manly and a scantily clad beautiful and at necessary times appropriately helpless princess Dejah Thoris among the red landscapes of Mars Barsoom And let s not forget John Carter s favorite Barsoomian dog Woola Who in my head, thanks to the otherwise forgettable movie, will always look like this insanely adorable menacing monster cutie SQUEEEEEEDear Santa, if I m REALLY REALLY NICE this year, can I pretty please get a Woola puppy for Christmas PleaseWhat s not to love about Burroughs classic Well, yeah, it s chock full of machismo, with a generous helping of sexism, a touch of colonialism attitude, a bit of stereotyping, and with mostly wooden characters Doesn t it sound awful I kid, I kid, Barsoom fans I actually enjoyed this book, believe it or not I mean, we get a dying red planet, an atmosphere plant , red men, green men, Jeddaks, princesses, and of course WOOLAA Princess of Mars may not always appeal to the modern reader thanks to changing values in the last hundred years , and yet once you start reading it you realize that it s addictive like crack and seems to have aged alright, like decent wine Burroughs portrayal of Mars Barsoom is pretty awesome, the adventures are fun, and the pacing is good Ahhhh, John Carter Your story may be neither deep nor profound, but it s an entertaining classic, and I still love you. A Princess Of Mars Is The First Of Eleven Thrilling Novels That Comprise Edgar Rice Burroughs Most Exciting Saga, Known As The Martian Series It S The Beginning Of An Incredible Odyssey In Which John Carter, A Gentleman From Virginia And A Civil War Veteran, Unexpectedly Finds Himself On To The Red Planet, Scene Of Continuing Combat Among Rival Tribes Captured By A Band Of Six Limbed, Green Skinned Savage Giants Called Tharks, Carter Soon Is Accorded All The Honor Of A Chieftain After It S Discovered That His Muscles, Accustomed To Earth S Greater Gravity, Now Give Him A Decided Advantage In Strength And When His Captors Take As Prisoner Dejah Thoris, The Lovely Human Looking Princess Of The City Of Helium, Carter Must Call Upon Every Ounce Of Strength, Courage, And Ingenuity To Rescue Her Before Dejah Becomes The Slave Of The Depraved Thark Leader, Tal Hajus Excerpt Her Oval Face Was Beautiful In The Extreme, Her Every Feature Finely Chisled And Exquisite, Her Eyes Large And Lustrous And Her Head Surmounted By A Mass Of Coal Black, Waving Hair, Caught Loosely Into A Strange Yet Becoming Coiffure Similar In Face And Figure To Women Of Earth, She Was Nevertheless A True Martian And Prisoner Of The Fierce Green Giants Who Held Me Captive, As Well A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was not the book that transformed Burroughs into a publishing success, that honor belongs to Tarzan of the Apes However, this was the book, published in 1912 that effectively began a career that would change the face of American literature in various genres from then on The stamp of Burroughs influence can be seen in the works of Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury and countless others as well as film and television Flash Gordon used the Barsoom series as a template and Star Wars was heavily influenced in turn by the Flash Gordon serial.From the humble origins of pulp magazines came a rich series of adventure, romance and swashbuckling good fun This is the story of how John Carter was mysteriously transported to Mars and how he then engaged in one superhuman adventure after another Not much message or provocative literature here, just a well written good narrative. A SYNOPSIS OF THE BOOK A PRINCESS OF MARS John Carter travels to Barsoom to live, love, and fight amongst the Green Men, the Red Men, and the White Apes his Earthman physique combined with Barsoomian gravity means he s incredibly strong and can jump like a giant sized super grasshopper John Carter arrives there nekkid everyone is nekkid they only wear weapons and ornaments the Red Race knows what Earthers look like and they think all the clothing we wear is apalling and disgusting i agree John Carter is transported to Barsoom from Frontier America directly after a bloody conflict with the dread and savage Red Man in this case, the Apache and on Barsoom, his adventures involve the alternately warlike and peaceful Red Men, who he views as the closest thing to human coincidence Green Men do not believe in love or friendship or marriage or parenthood they only laugh when another creature is in its death agonies they are a war like people, to say the least they also share everything apparently their customs came from an ancient society based in communalism dare i say, communism coincidence The Princes of Mars in question is a two dimensional creation in love with John Carter except for those predictable moments when predictable misunderstandings occur, a Red Princess of the city state Helium, beautiful, haughty, brave, a woman of her word, etc, etc her name is Dejah Thoris.Burroughs writes clean prose that is easy going down and surprisingly modern in its smooth, no frills style this is the opposite of a laborious read the narrative is perfectly straightforward and the infodumps were relatively pain free the characters are enjoyably cartoonish i read this on my droid over the course of maybe a half dozen bus rides a charming experience.the novel features a cute Barsoomian dog thing my favorite character A SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE JOHN CARTER John Carter travels to Mars to live, love, and fight amongst the Green Men and the Red Men his Earthman physique combined with Martian gravity means he s incredibly strong and can jump like a giant sized super grasshopper John Carter arrives there fully clothed and then he changes into something revealing The Red Race also prefer revealing attire John Carter spends an inordinately long and tiresome period of time in Frontier America that is nonsensical and bored me to near sleep this inordinately lengthy sequence features conflicts with some Native American tribe, some jail time, and some character bits for a completely non essential supporting character on Mars, he comes across the Red Men , who actually are not red at all but look like they spend too much time at some cheap tanning salon they should be called the Orangey Men.Green Men are monstrous humanoids their children are adorable little widgets.there is a Princess of Mars and she is perhaps the most three dimensional character in the film a scientist and a kick ass warrior she is played by Lynn Collins, who was strangled by a serial killer in the first season of True Blood.the film is co written by Michael Chabon what the film is directed by Pixar house director Andrew Stanton i watched a sneak peek of this at Pixar itself, after indulging in a few free drinks at one of the Pixar bars i got drunk the film features a cute Martian dog thing my favorite character I m not saying I didn t like it, but what in the hell was that Okay, I kinda am saying I didn t like it, but I didn t HATE it either A Princess of Mars is a forerunner in the sci fi genre and as many of them suffer from ignorant science, so suffers this one Modes of transportation are silly, alien races are simplistic at best, etc etc I know I m nitpicking.On the other hand, one has to be impressed with the guesswork a fictional novelist made regarding living conditions on another planet, considering he was writing at a time prior to space exploration Hell, this was written a mere nine years after the first flight by man The real reason this didn t resonate with me had to do with the story s hero, John Carter He s just too good at everything to be interesting Oh yeah, he can do that, too Ho hum I found myself saying at about the mid way pointa point at which I was still trying to suss out how he d actually arrived on Mars The writing also suffers from stiff formality The rigidity of the language Burroughs used lacked elegance and deflated exciting action scenes However, there was plenty of action and that alone kept me turning pages.All the same, the errors mounted Burroughs made the mistake of giving the game away Use of the diary style of narration is a technique in fiction that should never have happened If the hero of the story is writing about his adventures ten, twenty, whatever number of years after it all went down, it completely gives away the fact that he lived to tell the tale and thus takes the wind out of tension s sails Present tense for action, always present tense Transcript from the John Carter sessionsfrom the files of Dr Wm Bill Loney, Doctor of Psychiatry Carter So where were we last time, doc Doctor We were talking about representations of things that are ideals for you, and how they are expressed in imaginative fantasies.Carter What was that DoctorsighsYou were telling me about Barsoom and your adventures there.Carter Yeah that s right I traveled there, you know It s Mars, actually.Doctor How did you know it was Mars Carter There s no other explanation Did you know they discovered an 8th and 9th ray there Our rainbow has ROYGBIV, but they have two others.Doctor And what range of wavelengths along the continuous spectra of electromagnetic radiation would they associate with those rays Carter Hmmm I think it was 8 and 9 following Violet, which is 7, of course.Doctor Is Violet important Associated with a female name, perhaps Carter No, I told you the woman s name is Dejah Thoris I am her betrothed But it s a tragic love story, and here I am back on Earth She is my princess Dejah Thoris, and I am her greatest warrior.Doctor Anagrammatic for other jihads Carter No other woman came close to her perfection I have never seen a finer example of womanhood.Doctor I seem to recall you saying that she was hatched from an egg If I may speak abreast of certain delicate issues, was she lacking any particular physical attributes common to women Carterthinks for a momentShe can not tell a lie And she lives with honor in everything she does.Doctor The unattainable finally achieved, and then irrevocably torn asunder But tell me about your heroic feats you described your physical prowess as being somewhat godlike.Carter On Earth, I m just an exemplary soldier It s due to my many years of experience in fighting But on Mars, I am the finest fighting specimen around I think it s due to the weaker gravity and thinner atmosphere, but I can jump higher and move quickly than the native inhabitants.Doctor Your glories epitomize physical perfection Are there other, similarly awesome qualities you embody Carter Well I d like to say I m smarter too, but I tend to act first and think later If only I d remembered sooner about view spoiler the nine tones hide spoiler It can be said at the outset that Burroughs was not a very deep nor a very disciplined writer His disdain for research often shows in his work, and it does here and in his science fiction he would write voluminously in this genre this novel sparked a series, and he produced two other popular sci fi series as well consistent and well thought world building wasn t his strength For instance, his Martian children incubate in eggs and hatch only when they re able to eat solid food but his Martian women have physiques like those of human women, busts and all If there were ever a writer who overused coincidence in plotting, it would be Burroughs, and his plot developments and devices can strain credibility science fiction writers of that day were quite taken with astral projection, but John Carter s ability to, in effect, simply will himself to the Red Planet, as a means of space travel, is definitely a stretch.For all that, though, his work continues to fascinate readers Partly, this is because of the enduring appeal of his theme of primitivism or feralism, of which Tarzan, of course, is the archetypal example, but which constantly reappears in his work the saga of a scion of modern high tech, regimented civilization, transported to a primitive, dangerous world where he can be free to be his own boss, but must meet physical challenges in order to survive And his heroes earn our respect, because they re not egoistic brutes who revel in a chance to be predators in a jungle rather, John Carter and the others are instinctively moral men who model what Burrough s generation thought of as masculine virtues which actually aren t gender specific courage, loyalty, a sense of honor, determination, generosity of spirit Of course, they re also larger than life heroes with strength, ingenuity, and competence This gives his work a dimension of meaning, both as an implicit criticism of a stultifying and constraining social order that tries to reduce us to cogs in a constantly smooth running machine and as a positive endorsement of qualities we recognize as worth honoring and imitating, that still resonates with readers today, and I think always will He s also a master of pacing, and of exciting adventure that can keep you turning the pages and the broad canvas of his picture of Mars an arid, dying world balkanized among a plethora of warring tribes and kingdoms, violently struggling for survival has an undeniable imaginative power that grips the reader. Some years back David Bowie asked the musical question, Is there life on Mars Had he read A Princess of Mars he might have known the answer Back in the early 60 s I fell in love Not with a girl, well, there were one or two cracks opened in that young heart, but we do not speak of that now but with reading And the brazen hussy that led me down that path was none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs Of course there were others, all vying for my immature attention, Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, H.G Wells, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, and plenty from that gang of idiots I remember the glee I felt when a parcel would arrive, the soft packaging that sprinkled to the floor if you opened the pull tag a little too energetically Lift the treasure to your nose and inhale deeply No, wiseass, no glue involved No glue actually needed Paperbacks, Ace and Ballantine mostly This was the way I got one of my first scents of the lifetime of reading that awaited It was intoxicating Prime among the treasures to be found in those bags were the Barsoom novels of ERB I followed the adventures of John Carter the way readers of a certain detective followed his exploits in issues of The Strand Reading ERB as a kid was one of the best things about being a kid So one might imagine the anticipation bubbling up when I learned that a film was in the offing Good, bad or mediocre, this was must see territory And to prepare it seemed that, fifty years after having first encountered Barsoom through books, it was worth giving at least some of the books a second look.Taylor Kitsch as John Carter in the filmJohn Carter, a soldier Civil War veteran , mercenary, and apparently occasional miner, begins on Earth He is trapped in a cave by hostile forces, when he wishes himself, pretty much, to Mars, the god of his profession The film of course had to come up with a better excuse than that He is taken prisoner by a group of Tharks, a race of six limbed, twelve to fifteen foot tall green warriors think taller, thinner, ancestors of Klingons , led by one of their less bloodthirsty sorts, a fellow named Tars Tarkas Tars Tarkas from the filmTT was most impressed by JC s fighting prowess and his ability to leap tall building in a single bound, a benefit of having muscles adapted to the much higher gravity on a different planet ERB s hero appears twenty years before that Kal el character, and Jerry Siegel has said that JC was indeed influential in the creation of that better known super guy Tarkas and Carter find common cause eventually and thus begins a beautiful friendship TT had put a guard dog actually a Shetland size, many tusked critter called a calot in charge of JC But as the locals treat their gigantic ferocious domestic critters rather harshly, it turned out to be receptive to JC s kinder treatment, so we add a loyal to death pet, with the blood curdling name Woola for our hero Can the girl be far behind Not a chance.Woola from the film What a cutie After the Tharkian horde does battle with a race of human like sorts, they take a prisoner, a female Dejah Thoris is princess of the city state of Helium and no she does not speak with a silly high voice and of the book title, and is notable for her regal bearing, smokin looks and courage under duress The film pads her resume with some science credits Having established his warrior cred by kicking several Tharkian butts, JC has some wiggle room among Thark society and manages to learn a fair bit He is, naturally, curious about the new resident.Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris from the filmOh, there is one other item missing from the checklist, the baddie Well, there are several, a crude Thark leader, monsters aplenty, but most of all a professional sneak thief liar betrayer of a Thark named Sarkoja, who does all she can to foil TT and JC in whatever they might want to do All she lacks is a broom and some striped socks The film includes her, but substitutes a different evil doer for many of the story s later intrigues Ok, so this is not exactly great literature Sweden will not be calling any time soon Carter finds himself in a seemingly endless series of battles, large and small People are captured People fight People flee Friends help friends Baddies behave badly No one really changes much Oh, they rise in rank and esteem, and prove their mettle, and some character is revealed in time, but really, nothing is told about these people that we did not know very early on There is silliness and many shortcuts are taken ERB makes use of deus ex machina so much he must have had a mechanic on call Carter learns that a large amount of Martian communications occurs via telepathy and bingo, he is telepathic too What luck Also, Martian language has devolved to mostly a single tongue No, really And he learns it in a twinkling, with the help of a kindly female Thark named Sola Whenever someone needs a rescue there is always a rescuer, either now or eventually The cavalry comes riding over the hill a bit too often to avoid eye rolling The fights are pretty much pro forma, with almost mandatory nods to the honor and skill of the thousands of opponents, after, of course, Carter knocks them out or kills them with a single blow to the chin Puh leez In between, Burroughs offers bits and pieces of his vision of life on Mars We learn how Thark children are joined with parents, get some info on Barsoomian visions of death and afterlife, consider a bit the problem of scarce air, and may wonder at the ancient human ruins now occupied by other species They have some nifty tech on Barsoom as well, having discovered a special 9th ray of light that is used for energy Radium is a useful power source as well Airships of all sizes speed about, but seem to function mostly as boats with negative draft There will be swashbuckling There are some elements in the book that do not travel well through the years The women have some wonderful qualities but there is little e quality to be found Also, slavery is still a very active element of Martian society, and while ERB shows sundry characters shackled to those chains, and does his best to free those, he does not seem all that upset about the institution In one commentary on communistic elements of Tharkian society, ERB notes Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common.This was published in 1912, so a quote like this might not have stuck out so much back then Of course there are many much ancient items that seem quaint today, such as You shall not covet your neighbor s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor s.I guess ownership is in the eye of the beholder Social systems seem to be widely of the royal persuasion, although combat figures large in determining leadership in some groups And just as girls have been led to hope for a prince to come to the rescue, so here our hero is not panting after any ordinary female Dejah is a bona fide , card carrying princess Then, there are some elements that might stand up rather well Carter applies his knowledge of animals to persuade the locals to treat their beasties much better The moral superiority of races is not at all determined by color, or in this case, even sentient species Honesty, motherhood, and I am certain that if the ingredients grew there, apple pie would come in for some ERB support Courage is also a highly valued trait Physical prowess in battle is paramount here Frank Schoonover s cover illustration for the first book version from WikipediaOk, so bottom line This is a very dated book It is, after all, one hundred years old It contains antiquated, sometimes offensive notions Many of the characters are pretty thinly drawn But this was not intended to be a thoughtful, adult novel It is pulp fiction, literally, as Barsoom made its first public appearance in All Story Magazine in 1912, and its focus is on three things, action, action and action Burroughs was appalled that people got paid to write the trash that appeared in such publications and said, I could write stories just as rotten If that is ok with you, then A Princess of Mars is a fun read, a buddy movie with a bit of love interest, no real sex, although a fair bit of nakedness a lot of fighting, capturing and being captured and escaping, a nifty vision of a faraway place Overall, good fun It helps to be a ten year old boy Look at those cavemen go EXTRA STUFFThe home page for Edgar Rice Burroughs, the corporation, where you will learn that A Princess of Mars was originally published as The Moon of Mars under the pseudonym Norman Bean in All Story Magazine as a six part serial, February through July 1912 He had first submitted it to All Star as Dejah Thoris, Martian PrincessYou can read A Princess of Mars on GutenbergHere is another, hyper texted version, which includes links to other such volumes in the Barsoom series.Or listen to an audio version here10 25 16 National Geographic is producing a documentary series about our favorite red tinted neighbor no, not the lady across the way who got too much sun Put those binoculars away NOW Coverage in the latest issue includes a whole passel of things Martian Enjoy Mars Inside the High Risk, High Stakes Race to the Red PlanetFrom the August 2017 National Geographic This Is What a Martian Looks Like According to Carl Sagan By Natasha DalyPainting by Douglas Chaffe from the above NatGeo article The books is full of familiar cliches it created most of them I am also having a great trouble between classifying this book between fantasy and scifi As I am not the only one with such problem a new genre was created dubbed sword and planet Coming back to the plot, an American Civil War veteran and a perfect southern gentleman he calls himself thus, so who am I to call him differently John Carter ended up on Mars, of all places straight from an Arizona desert, minus all his cloths Practically upon his arrival he became a prisoner of large war loving Martians Being best at everything he puts his mind to, he beat one of the most obnoxious aliens and gained some measure of respect Numerous adventures including romantic ones follow Speaking about romance I kept recalling an old saying If you must fall in love, fall in love with a queen because this is exactly what John Carted did see the title I told you, the guy was perfect.This thing him being perfect is the only significant complaint I can make At least when it comes to him being stronger than larger Martians there was an explanation scientific enough for me to accept the difference in gravitational fields between good old Earth and red Mars means earthlings must have stronger bones and muscles The writing quality is mostly very good, the story is never boring This is the second best known series of the King of Pulp Fiction the best known series of him is so famous the main character grew out of his books to live an independent life I am talking about Tarzan obviously So this is a classic book, it passed a test of time, is still very entertaining and very influential Four stars despite my grumblings above Please ignore recent pitiful attempt by Disney to make a movie out of it They failed miserably.
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.
- 186 pages
- A Princess of Mars
- Edgar Rice Burroughs
- 14 February 2018 Edgar Rice Burroughs