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Barsoom: A Princess of Mars: The First Adventures of John Carter on the Red Planet

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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 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!


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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 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!

30 review for Barsoom: A Princess of Mars: The First Adventures of John Carter on the Red Planet

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    2.5 stars. I know, I know. I can hear you out there saying “2.5 stars for one of the ALL TIME PULP SF CLASSICS" and looking at me like I just made a mess on the floor. Rest assured, I'm not trying to drop gastronomical "leftovers" in the PULP SF punch bowl and my rating does not indicate a dislike for the book. As mentioned below, I was probably between 3 and 4 stars o 2.5 stars. I know, I know. I can hear you out there saying “2.5 stars for one of the ALL TIME PULP SF CLASSICS" and looking at me like I just made a mess on the floor. Rest assured, I'm not trying to drop gastronomical "leftovers" in the PULP SF punch bowl and my rating does not indicate a dislike for the book. As mentioned below, I was probably between 3 and 4 stars on the book EXCEPT FOR ONE THING THAT DROVE ME BAT SHIT NUTSO. So please let me explain my rating before you begin planning to hoist me on a very large petard. PRELIMINARY COMMENTS In order to give my comments below some context, I want to have the following on record before I begin: 1. I am a fan of sword and sorcery, sword and planet, pulp SF and planetary romances and so this book is certainly in my strike zone. Thus, I don’t feel like I need to cut this book any slack in my rating as I might for a book that recognized may just not be “my kind of story.” 2. I have not read a ton of the specific sub-genre “pulp planetary romance” of which the Barsoom series is the quintessential example. However, if you add in sword and sorcery and the other sub-genres mentioned above that deal with the same major plot elements (larger than life hero, exotic locations, strange creatures/aliens in a “pulpy” wrapper than I have read (and LOVED) quite a bit. 3. I have only read two other works by Burroughs, At the Earth's Core and Tarzan of the Apes and I didn’t love either one of them so it is certainly possible that me and E.R. are not as compatible as I would like (though I am not ready to give up on our relationship yet as you will see below). BRIEF PLOT SUMMARY John Carter was an officer in the confederate army during the Civil War and is seemingly immortal in so far as he explains that he has no memory of childhood and has always appeared to be approximately 30 years old. Through an unexplained phenomenon he is transported to Mars where the weaker gravity gives him great strength and agility. From there the story is mostly a travelogue as Carter meets the various tribes of Martians and we learn their background. While mostly a travelogue, Carter does get involved in a political struggle among various Martian factions as a result of his becoming enamored with Dejah Thoris (the titular Martian Princess). THOUGHTS ON A PRINCESS OF MARS On the plus side, despite my lack of real positive ratings on the Burroughs books I have read, I think his writing is decent and I do not have any real problem with his prose. I say this not to imply that he was technically skilled so much as that he wrote well in the "pulp style" that his stories called for (i.e., flowery, descriptive language and an overly melodramatic tone). In that context, I think Burroughs' writing was just fine. I also like the character of John Carter who is a true blue virtuous hero in the grand tradition of Golden Age SF. I also liked the various Martian cultures and strange animals he encounters and thought the world-building was pretty good to very good and certainly interesting enough to get me to come back and try another one of the Barsoom stories before I decide how I feel about the series. So for, I would have been squarely between 3 stars and 4 stars. I don’t think 5 stars was ever in the cards for this one as there was no element that reached the level of either Howard’s Conan or Wagner’s Kane, both of whom I hold in very high regard despite what my review of Darkness Weaves may indicate about Conan's inferiority to Kane (I would note that those results are still being validated). So what brings the book down to 2.5 stars. The answer is simple, there was one aspect of the story that drove me ABSOLUTELY GARY BUSEY CRAAAAAZY: This groan inducing aspect was John Carter having to describe his own AWESOMENESS because Burroughs chose to tell the story in the FIRST PERSON. I see this as a fundamental flaw because it meant that all of the wonderful, larger-than-life descriptions of Carter had to come from, uh, his own mouth. Sorry, NOT GOOD!!! Here are a just a few quotes from the book that illustrate what I am referring to: “….[t]he following of a sense of duty has always been a fetich of mine throughout my life; which may account for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics, and the decorations and friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings.” “My mind is evidently so constituted that I am subconsciously forced into the path of duty without recourse to tiresome mental processes. However that may be, I have never regretted that cowardice is not optional for me.” “To a Red Martian, escape by this path would have appeared impossible, but to me, with my earthly strength and agility, it seemed already accomplished.” “During the day, I was pitted against first men and then beasts, but as I was armed with a long-sword and always outclassed my adversary in agility and generally in strength as well, it proved by child’s play to me.” “So with the cunning of a madman, I backed into the corner….” “There is, there must be a way, and John Carter, who has fought his way through a strange world for love of you will find it.” . . . .....It just made me want to scream at him: Now I had no problem with the sentiment expressed by the above quotes as all of them are classic pulp hero language. My problem was that due to the first person narrative Carter was forced to say all of these things about HIMSELF. I just found it to be the wrong style for this over the top hero tale and it hurt my head to have to listen to him explain his ultimate badassery while trying to avoid sounding completely pompous. Thus, I like the story concept and the world building and even teh character of John Carter. I just didn’t like John Carter loving him so much John Carter.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    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 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 more 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 film John 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 film TT 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 film Oh, 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 more 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 Wikipedia Ok, 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 STUFF The 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 Princess You can read A Princess of Mars on Gutenberg Here is another, hyper-texted version, which includes links to other such volumes in the Barsoom series. Or listen to an audio version here 10/25/16 -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 Planet From the August 2017 National Geographic - This Is What a Martian Looks Like—According to Carl Sagan - By Natasha Daly Painting by Douglas Chaffe - from the above NatGeo article

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    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 templa 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Evgeny

    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. P 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    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 - SQUEEEEEE!!!! 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 - SQUEEEEEE!!!! Dear Santa, if I'm REALLY REALLY NICE this year, can I pretty please get a Woola puppy for Christmas??? Please??? What'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 WOOLA!!!! A 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    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 pl 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 point...a 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!

  7. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    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 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 more 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!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    Transcript from the John Carter sessions (from 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? Doctor: (sighs) You 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 havMars?actually.there.that?fantasies.doc?Psychiatry)sessions(from Transcript from the John Carter sessions (from 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? Doctor: (sighs) You 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? Carter: (thinks for a moment) She 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 more 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 more 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)] ... But I don't want to talk about that. Doctor: I think our time is up. We've accomplished a lot. Please be sure to pay the receptionist on the way out. Yes, cash is preferred. Carter: Ok.. bye doc. Doctor: And don't forget to put on some clothes... I tolerate it during these sessions, but you really can't go around everywhere on the planet unclothed, you know. People will begin to think you're crazy...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Werner

    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 Ma 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and

    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 righ 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 more…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 more. 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 more 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. *http://guavapuree.wordpress.com/2012/...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    This reminded me of 'Flash Gordon conquers the universe' and similar shows that I used to watch on TV on Saturday mornings as a child, presumably the people who made such films grew up reading stories like this. In the same way as those shows, although they had rocket ships (apparently powered by sparklers),they also featured magic amulets and spells. This isn't so much science fiction as fantastic fiction which is sciency in that the action takes place on Mars but the hero gets there and back a This reminded me of 'Flash Gordon conquers the universe' and similar shows that I used to watch on TV on Saturday mornings as a child, presumably the people who made such films grew up reading stories like this. In the same way as those shows, although they had rocket ships (apparently powered by sparklers),they also featured magic amulets and spells. This isn't so much science fiction as fantastic fiction which is sciency in that the action takes place on Mars but the hero gets there and back apparently by magic rather than by some ostensibly rational means. The plot is essentially Androcles and the lion, repeated with many variations, with the hero, Confederate veteran Captain John Carter of Virginia as Androcles and various creatures taking the part of the lion. Finding himself naked and on Mars John Carter finds he has superhuman powers in the lower gravity of Mars, he can jump great heights and a blow from his fist can have fatal effects. I wondered at first if this was some kind of 'Lost Cause' parable - you know, the South was only beaten by the North in the American Civil War because it was an unfair fight - why in the lower gravity conditions of Mars it would have been an entirely different story. But as the pages slipped by I abandoned that theory, this book instead is a fruit of that cultural period when the Civil war had been resolved in favour of the cultural victory of the South, the south is genteel, it is chivalric and honourable, it's heroes are knights. Burroughs' John Carter is essentially Ivanhoe on Mars but with access to rifles with effective ranges of hundreds of miles and exploding radium bullets (though sadly these don't make much impact plot-wise(view spoiler)[ if you can forgive the pun (hide spoiler)] ) and of course the ability to jump over any foe or low building, deadly fists and telepathy. All Martians apparently are telepathic and John Carter gains this ability but Martians can't read his thoughts (conveniently) Burroughs isn't the kind of writer to trouble to take this entirely seriously (view spoiler)[ or possibly even to remember consistently that his hero is telepathic (hide spoiler)] but luckily he can always overhear that bad guys are planning on ambushing him in case he has turned off the reception of telepathic thoughts for the afternoon (to get some peace and quiet), and he never uses his telepathic abilities on the Martian Princess he falls in love with - but of course, he's a Southern gentleman from Virginia, how vile of me even to imagine he might do such a thing, naturally he prefers interplanetary cultural misunderstandings to cloud their relationship instead. The storyline is full of bizarre holes, but sadly one doesn't sense enough tongue in cheek for this to be consistently funny though I was amused that telepathy works on dead people too and so when John Carter murders in a sword fight four of his fellow guardsmen in a convoluted attempt to rescue the above Princess, a psychologist is sent to investigate the crime and profiles the killer from the minds of the victims - a handy skill. It is the sciency elements which I found most interesting, Burroughs' Mars is Earth like but dying - it is drying out and losing it's atmosphere, agriculture of a kind is possible along the infamous canals, and in another H.G.Wells touch Burroughs is interested in evolution and long periods of history - his Martians are mostly inhabiting the ruins of some long vanished civilisation from the good old days when the planet was far wetter. Of modern Martians there are two types, green and red, the latter are humanish , the former are physically alien but behave a bit like plains Indians but with radium bullets and long ranged rifles to allow them to offset the fighting power of the Red Martians in their airships (which don't explode when hit by explosive radium bullets, but never mind). In addition to all Martians being telepathic and oviparous, the green Martians have lost through evolution kindness and any gentle or merciful feelings. John Carter then is a double throwback, a knight of the South with genteel manners who helps those weaker than himself (except when he kills them) and this gives him an advantage, repeatedly, as I said Androcles and the Lion. Ideologically the story shows the triumph of very old fashioned values, coupled with pure fighting ability over the whole of Mars despite it's flying machines, hyper violence, long range rifles and factory to manufacture an atmosphere. Implicitly one doesn't need technology or factories or democracy (view spoiler)[ on Mars there are chieftain societies and monarchies (with airships) (hide spoiler)] just pure emotion, a powerful punch and to do the right thing. First Spain, next the universe, the American century has begun. In terms of science fiction this is a beautiful exemplar of the tendency for that genre to be historical fiction in space - the Fall of the Roman empire (with spaceships) in Foundation or space Feudalism in Dune coupled with interest in hereditary and evolution, the twist here is that apparently you can become too evolved rather like Wells' Morlocks and Eloi - the ancestor is a perfect balance of both tendencies, the over specialisation of the descendants can become a weakness leading to vulnerability in the face of John Carter's avenging fist. We might also see here a stage in the development of a peculiar stage in popular heroism, thoughtlessness married with violence that we as consumers accept as good because of the self-image of the hero as essentially chivalric and a 'gentleman', from a critical view point we might see this as the off duty KKK man out of his bed sheets who is kind to animals, or the morality of a Nathan Bedford Forrest - superheroes all seem to me to be of the same type. The implicit message is that someone else will sort out the mess the 'collateral damage' that they have caused in pursuit of their own interests. So such Realpolitik, the victory of the stronger over the strong.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Markus

    It's hard to classify this book, both in terms of genre and quality. There is no doubt that Burroughs is an important, influential and remarkably talented writer (the writing itself is extraordinarily good sometimes), and overall, this is a book that I am very glad that I read. On the other hand, it has not aged well. While it contains many fun and interesting elements, it has been so widely surpassed in almost every single area by all the brilliant masterpieces of fantasy and science It's hard to classify this book, both in terms of genre and quality. There is no doubt that Burroughs is an important, influential and remarkably talented writer (the writing itself is extraordinarily good sometimes), and overall, this is a book that I am very glad that I read. On the other hand, it has not aged well. While it contains many fun and interesting elements, it has been so widely surpassed in almost every single area by all the brilliant masterpieces of fantasy and science fiction that have followed it in the century since its release. That is quite natural, and not really something the book itself can be blamed for. In the end, I suppose it makes the most sense to call it a fun and simple space fantasy that is quite often extremely enjoyable, and another interesting case study of the early era of many genre tropes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 3* of five The Book Review: No one ever nominated Burroughs for the Nobel Prize. The Movie Review: Seriously, what was all the butt-hurt over this movie about? Yeah, the title stank. Shoulda called it Barsoom and had done with it. The hunky young actor who played John Carter wasn't likely to get an Academy nod. Dejah-Thoris was mildly pretty. The f/x were just fine, and that leaves the script, which was every bit as finely crafted as the book. It was perfectly acceptable summer-afterno/>The/>The Rating: 3* of five The Book Review: No one ever nominated Burroughs for the Nobel Prize. The Movie Review: Seriously, what was all the butt-hurt over this movie about? Yeah, the title stank. Shoulda called it Barsoom and had done with it. The hunky young actor who played John Carter wasn't likely to get an Academy nod. Dejah-Thoris was mildly pretty. The f/x were just fine, and that leaves the script, which was every bit as finely crafted as the book. It was perfectly acceptable summer-afternoon watching. It was perfectly acceptable summer-afternoon reading. Why did this flop? I am not understand, please. To take pity, please, on old immigrant from country of dead peoples and to explain?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Maybe even 4.5 - I really enjoyed this and I plan to read the rest of the series. This must have been very creative for the time it was written.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Megan Baxter

    I came to this having enjoyed the terribly-named movie version much more than I had expected. Not deep, but pulpy fun. (Seriously, John Carter? "A Princess of Mars" was too girly? "John Carter of Mars" might have, what, given the impression it takes place on Mars?!?) I didn't know how much of the book had made it into the movie, but I was hoping for some of the same kind of pulpy fun from this. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and I came to this having enjoyed the terribly-named movie version much more than I had expected. Not deep, but pulpy fun. (Seriously, John Carter? "A Princess of Mars" was too girly? "John Carter of Mars" might have, what, given the impression it takes place on Mars?!?) I didn't know how much of the book had made it into the movie, but I was hoping for some of the same kind of pulpy fun from this. Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here. In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  16. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    This is one of those books I can't even pretend to be objective about. I know it's flawed -- it was Burroughs' first novel, and it's occasionally a bit sloppy, entirely too reliant on coincidence, and (remembering that it was first published in 1912) has a couple of, shall we say, uncomfortable ethnic depictions (relatively mild, but they're there). But. I. Don't. Care. Barsoom is my absolute favorite imaginary world -- a world of giant, four-armed sav This is one of those books I can't even pretend to be objective about. I know it's flawed -- it was Burroughs' first novel, and it's occasionally a bit sloppy, entirely too reliant on coincidence, and (remembering that it was first published in 1912) has a couple of, shall we say, uncomfortable ethnic depictions (relatively mild, but they're there). But. I. Don't. Care. Barsoom is my absolute favorite imaginary world -- a world of giant, four-armed savage green hordes, noble warriors and beautiful maidens dressed in jeweled regalia, towering cities, hideous monsters, mighty aerial navies -- I can't resist. Instead, I long to join John Carter as he fights his way from one pole of a dying planet to another, all in service of Dejah Thoris, the most beautiful woman of two worlds.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Let's not try and pretend that Princess of Mars is some kind of unique trailblazing original that Science fiction and fantasy writing owes some huge debt to. Authors had been writing about Sci-fi concepts involving other worlds and other cultures for a long time, and as early as the 17th Century we have an example (The Blazing World) of a writer imagining another world full of beasts and bird-men, Let's not try and pretend that Princess of Mars is some kind of unique trailblazing original that Science fiction and fantasy writing owes some huge debt to. Authors had been writing about Sci-fi concepts involving other worlds and other cultures for a long time, and as early as the 17th Century we have an example (The Blazing World) of a writer imagining another world full of beasts and bird-men, whose entrance is located at the North Pole. Popular Victorian author Edgar Bulwer Lytton wrote about a subterranean race with telepathic abilities known as Vril in The Coming Race and of course H G Wells wrote a much better book about Martians, War of the Worlds , 15 years before Burroughs turned his pen towards Bharsoom. Edgar Rice Burroughs popularity benefited from a burgeoning interest in sci-fi concepts that presumably happened as Astronomy and Science gradually brought these matters to our attention. This coincided with cheaper cheaper means of production and distribution of material, and an uneducated population more able and willing to read meant that the fantastical stuck and the pulp phenomenon was born. Much of the scorn poured upon popular pulp writers of the day is perhaps less to do with the fantastical nature of their topics than their unwillingness to write material that's genuinely thoughtful. Of course, the writing wasn't meant to engage on any deep level, just entertain and pass the time, and so more and more supporters of the writing of this era have protested against Academically inclined literary snobs who dismiss work of this ilk, arguing that there's a time and place for these kinds of genre thrills. A long-time fan of Robert E Howard and HP Lovecraft I've always sympathised. There's an art to crafting entertaining stories with atmosphere or panache and there's cultural value in understanding the minds and the pens that are able to create them. Something problematic has always haunted these works, though. Since they were written to be consumed by an early twentieth century racist and patriarchal working class population, there's more than a tinge of uncomfortable ideology about them. For Howard black men are rarely more than brutish and dumb, whilst women for the most part serve the sexual needs of a dominating male population. For Lovecraft black people are synonymous with evil occult magic. Lovers of this literature frequently swiftly step over this troubling tendency in the pulp work they love, dismissing these attitudes as “a little dated”and going on to enjoy narratives steeped in offensiveness.(hardly dated though, since racist and sexist thought still dominate) And sure, if one is highly alert to issues of feminism or imperialism one can still enjoy these books for their fine writing and expertly crafted stories But sometimes the pendulum swings too far the other way and supporters of pulp begin to decide that because something is superficially fun and easy to enjoy then matters of ideology are entirely irrelevant. They miss the difference between something not being PC and being the offensive ideological building block on which their culture is founded. There's an obvious reason why Disney, the corporation of conservative family values, decided to make the movie John Carter of Mars in 2012 and that's because this book on which it was based is not just the precursor to all things Disney, it pretty much promotes the entirety of Disney's values and became ridiculously popular in doing so; being as it is an unabashed wish fulfilment American Dream imperialist patriarchal fantasy. In other words, it really fucking sucks. When HG Wells decided to write a book about Mars he spun an intelligent and probing anti-imperialist narrative that asked how life would look for humanity if we were in somebody else's shoes, imagining Martian invaders treating the British with as much dispassion as the British Empire itself had shown towards alien cultures . Wells' was a harsh critique and a sobering lesson; not listened to of course, but as a work of literature it shows an extraordinary depth of understanding and is a deserved Science Fiction classic. One could almost view Burrough's work as a response to Wells' apparent pessimism. Certainly one can do nothing else than view Princess of Mars as a jingoistic, ultra-patriotic affair whose only main goal is to convince its readership of the greatness of being a white American alongside the importance of being rich , prosperous and important. There are big clues in the first chapter of the novel. John Carter and his friend are gold-hunters and successful ones too. Yep, they've struck riches before the novel even starts because, let's be clear, John Carter is awesome. He's never really characterised in a way that we can care about him on an emotional level, we just know he's awesome because of the things he gets handed to him and the fact that people indiscriminately love him (unless they suck and they hate him, in which case they die, mostly). Unfortunately the pesky Indians kill John's friend and chase him away from his gold. If one is enjoying the colonial nature of this narrative already then one is probably in ideological trouble, but don't worry it gets worse. John is whisked away to have an adventure on Mars where – note this – only he is white. Everyone else is Green or Red (they're different – get it?) And only he expresses American values (or honor as he keeps calling it). Now here's the real problem. Mr white man waltzes into a strange land, full of funny coloured people, and is instantly better than everybody else. He doesn't even need to try h e's just better. He can fight better jump better, think better than everybody Oh and the most beautiful girl who is a princess is instantly in love with him because he's better (and he loves her because she looks good naked, or something). Wish fulfillment, they call it, but the problem here is what's being wished for and also the way it's expressed. Here's a fairly typical paragraph “Their foster mothers may not even have had an egg in the incubator, as was the case with Sola, who had not commenced to lay, until less than a year before she became the mother of another woman's offspring. But this counts for little among the green Martians, as parental and filial love is as unknown to them as it is common among us. I believe this horrible system which has been carried on for ages is the direct cause of the loss of all the finer feelings and higher humanitarian instincts among these poor creatures. From birth they know no father or mother love, they know not the meaning of the word home; they are taught that they are only suffered to live until they can demonstrate by their physique and ferocity that they are fit to live. Should they prove deformed or defective in any way they are promptly shot; nor do they see a tear shed for a single one of the many cruel hardships they pass through from earliest infancy. “ Not only is John Carter faster, stronger, better … he knows more. He's more “humanitarian” he understand people better, society better, emotions better. John Carter is fucking so much better than … Martians. The Other. He's American, get it? If you're not ideologically frightened yet you really should be because this book isn't an imaginative fantasy about Mars, it's a patriotic racist travelogue that not only has no interest in exploring any cultural ideas outside its own, it exists purely to pour scorn on the idea of “the other” to America. The message of this book is “if you don't do it the American way, you lack finer feelings, but if you do then you'll win hot women and people will love you.” Or something like that. And I'm not going to comment on the attitude towards women in this book beyond the following quote “Then aloud she said: "Do you remember the night when you offended me? You called me your princess without having asked my hand of me, and then you boasted that you had fought for me. You did not know, and I should not have been offended; I see that now. But there was no one to tell you what I could not, that upon Barsoom there are two kinds of women in the cities of the red men. The one they fight for that they may ask them in marriage; the other kind they fight for also, but never ask their hands. When a man has won a woman he may address her as his princess, or in any of the several terms which signify possession. You had fought for me, but had never asked me in marriage, and so when you called me your princess, you see," she faltered, "I was hurt, but even then, John Carter, I did not repulse you, as I should have done, until you made it doubly worse by taunting me with having won me through combat.” My question is simply this. At what point do we brush aside “not entirely PC” values and accept that a book's sense of wish fulfilment is simply not entertaining thanks to the nature of those wishes. And how do we feel about books that form the basis for offensive ideological beliefs in our culture by expounding them and becoming bestsellers? If this were Ayn Raynd would we be having a serious conversation, or simply be mocking? The frightening thing is that these wishes must still be relevant to people because clearly people find this book still fun to read. And the reason I say this is because, unlike Howard or Lovecraft there's nothing else that one can glean from this book beyond its puerile wish-fulfillment. Burroughs writes with a deliberately dull-edged prose in order to get his weak political points across to as many stupid people as he can. This isn't a thoughtful or well written book and its entertaining insomuch as one sees John Carter as the ultimate heroic fantasy, a blank-slate all-American whose personality comes entirely from the reader who wants to to indulge his American-wet-dream sensibilities and pretend – or not bother to understand - that there are no real-life consequences.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    'A Princess of Mars' is the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs 'Barsoom' books, set on a mythical Mars, and the first introduction of the character of John Carter, 'Warlord of Mars', 'the greatest Swordsman of two worlds', and something a demigod of war himself. It is a giant in the history of science fiction, fantasy, and modern superhero stories, and a rollicking good adventure story filled with wonder and imagination. Modern 'Swords and Sorcery' and 'Space Opera' are both deeply indebted to this w 'A Princess of Mars' is the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs 'Barsoom' books, set on a mythical Mars, and the first introduction of the character of John Carter, 'Warlord of Mars', 'the greatest Swordsman of two worlds', and something a demigod of war himself. It is a giant in the history of science fiction, fantasy, and modern superhero stories, and a rollicking good adventure story filled with wonder and imagination. Modern 'Swords and Sorcery' and 'Space Opera' are both deeply indebted to this work. At its heart, if you peal away all the lovely trappings, 'A Princess of Mars' is boy's literature written to instuct young boys in the ways of manhood. And, like the best boy's literature, it is both wonderfully orthodox and didactic and wonderfully subversive and thought provoking at the same time. Much is made from certain self-important critics of Burroughs supposed racism or sexism or general unfitness to be intructing young boys. Certainly there is nothing at all politically correct in this tale fraught with violence and barbarism. Superficially, there might seem to be something politically correct for its time, and if this is so it was certainly written at a time when racism and chauvanism was politically correct. But dig a little, and you find that Burroughs is sneaking in well aimed criticism at the accepted standards of Burrough's time. Among other things, his characters dress casually - indeed wear almost nothing at all - and Burroughs bemoans female dress that is confining - not just because it conceals the figure - but because it prevents women from being active. We get the idea he hates high heels, and that he would have loved women's atheletic shoes and modern standards of dress in general. He detests false modesty and prudishness. He detests unquestioning religious fervor. Burroughs detests race based snobbery, and his most noble characters openly assert that there is no apparant racial defect which is not do to want of culture rather than racial destiny. The characters of his story bear out these themes. Indeed, the character of John Carter is successful, not just because of his superior ability with the sword, but because of his heroic ability to see through the skin of his alien acquaintances and to accept and judge them on the basis of the content of their character. This skill, acquired in part because he is an earthman and thus not indoctrinated into the racial prejudices of the martians nor subject to them himself, serves him just as well as his sword or sidearm. Though white skinned himself, as the series progresses, John Carter's staunchest allies and most noble friends are black, yellow, red, and green and the one nation of people where he ultimately finds no one of virtue is the white martians. So, no, despite his reputation and at times its very political incorrect ways this is no simple tale of easily dismissable racism or chauvinism. It is both interesting and entertaining, and while not every book that follows is of the same high standard of imagination, this one is well worth the small amount of time it will take you to race through its pages.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Some thoughts on A PRINCESS OF MARS: I really want a Woola. Tars Tarkas is a total badass. Saddest ending to a sci fi book? Quite possibly! The JOHN CARTER movie was a remarkably faithful adaptation. John Carter, the character, is less of a Mary Sue than I thought he would be. This book is an amazing combination of really awesome science fiction and Victorian novel. No, really. John Carter is very much a 19th Some thoughts on A PRINCESS OF MARS: I really want a Woola. Tars Tarkas is a total badass. Saddest ending to a sci fi book? Quite possibly! The JOHN CARTER movie was a remarkably faithful adaptation. John Carter, the character, is less of a Mary Sue than I thought he would be. This book is an amazing combination of really awesome science fiction and Victorian novel. No, really. John Carter is very much a 19th century gentlemen, and yet he deals with the four-armed, green-skinned Martians with great aplomb. Burroughs creates a wonderful, unique world full of fascinating creatures, and then describes them in the exact way that Wilkie Collins would have described two gentlemen taking port together. It's no wonder this book has been a classic for a hundred years! It's refreshing, yet old-fashioned at the same time! Final thought: There was an EGG?! ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME?!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leonard Mokos

    The first three books of the series are in fact a complete trilogy. One that has endured for a century, and rightfully so, but if action and adventure novels are common enough, what is the lasting appeal of these books? Simple: Honour & loyalty. Essential qualities of character. I am finding in the home brood that the internet generation are missing, and lacking, these seeds. Books like these, themes like these, have shaped me. Read them. Put them into your kid's hands and no, they won't die The first three books of the series are in fact a complete trilogy. One that has endured for a century, and rightfully so, but if action and adventure novels are common enough, what is the lasting appeal of these books? Simple: Honour & loyalty. Essential qualities of character. I am finding in the home brood that the internet generation are missing, and lacking, these seeds. Books like these, themes like these, have shaped me. Read them. Put them into your kid's hands and no, they won't die if the iPod goes away for hours each day, forcing them to grow roots into self evaluation, meaning, and notions about character, loyalty, service. Okay and it's fun. Hot chicks, swords, wild landscapes and wilder humanoids. You gotta love it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Galadrielė

    ☆4.5/5☆ ▪Plot 5/5 ▪Details 3/5 ▪Characters 5/5 ▪World building 4.5/5 ▪Logic 4/5 ▪Writing style 5/5 ▪Enjoyment 4.5/5 Really interesting and enjoyable read. I'm sure that I'm going to continue this series in english. The thing is why it didn't reach 5 stars is because it wasn't so detailed as I wanted it to be. And I had some issues with logic, but I guess everything will sum up in other books of the series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Elijah Meeks

    The Mars series of Burroughs are classic adventure novels and their setting on the dying Red Planet allows Burroughs to move away from the racialist dogma found in the Tarzan series. While falling into a classic paradigm of the great hero who overawes and out-competes the "natives", it contains such moments of great humanity, even for people who have four arms and tusks, that I always find it uplifting. The style of Burroughs' adventure writing has always appealed to me and his stories create a The Mars series of Burroughs are classic adventure novels and their setting on the dying Red Planet allows Burroughs to move away from the racialist dogma found in the Tarzan series. While falling into a classic paradigm of the great hero who overawes and out-competes the "natives", it contains such moments of great humanity, even for people who have four arms and tusks, that I always find it uplifting. The style of Burroughs' adventure writing has always appealed to me and his stories create a living world without devolving into anthropological essay. I must confess that his love of glory, honor and indomitable human spirit, while seeming archaic and filled with machismo, are always refreshing to someone who lives in this post-modern world. As an academic, I've been struck on re-reading this book and others in the series and seeing how Burroughs describes a dying planet that forces its inhabitants into an ever-more militaristic and combative relationship with each other. John Carter is not just a great swordsman, but an injection of spirit into a hardened and long-suffering community. Ultimately, his theme of reconciliation between historically antagonistic groups is beautiful, even if it sometimes gets ignored because of all the swordfights and exotic locales.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This is the one that started it all for me. The first in the Barsoom series by Burroughs. John Carter gets to Mars and has his first adventures. I loved it so much that from the moment I read it I began making up my own stories about this kind of character and world. Eventually, the Talera cycle resulted. I owe ERB so much for the joy he gave me and the inspiration he was for me with these books.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Petergiaquinta

    Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars marks a milestone in my career as a reader. Like Scout Finch, I cannot remember not being able to read, so I’ve got a lifetime of reading under my belt, but for the first time now, with A Princess of Mars, I have read a book in an electronic format. It seems rather late for me, doesn’t it? What with Nooks and Kindles and iPads and the Internet being around for so long already, but I just haven’t warmed up to the idea of reading books electronically. I r Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars marks a milestone in my career as a reader. Like Scout Finch, I cannot remember not being able to read, so I’ve got a lifetime of reading under my belt, but for the first time now, with A Princess of Mars, I have read a book in an electronic format. It seems rather late for me, doesn’t it? What with Nooks and Kindles and iPads and the Internet being around for so long already, but I just haven’t warmed up to the idea of reading books electronically. I read newspapers online: I browse the headlines, read poetry and lit crit—I’m no Luddite and like most folks these days I spend way more time than I should online—but I have a fondness for books and a reticence to give up the tactile experience of reading. And not just the tactile experience, either. I like the smell of books, especially the smell of old books, that musty smell that I equate with used bookstores and the old library I went to as a child in Iowa City and especially with the adult paperback carousel there that I discovered once I had finished with the Wizard of Oz books and the Hardy Boys and even the Nancy Drews, and moved out of the children’s room looking for something more. I was a voracious reader as a kid, and so long before I probably should have, I migrated to the adult side of the library where the wire carousel of well-thumbed paperbacks caught my attention. There, the novels’ covers showed well-muscled men with chiseled jaws fighting bad guys and beasts, blowing up things and shooting big guns. And there were usually scantily clad women on those covers as well, sometimes barbarian princesses in skimpy chain mail, sometimes European bikini-clad beauties on a beach in the Riviera or wearing a revealing gown in a Monte Carlo casino. So I was hooked. And thus I entered a new phase in my reading and checked out as many of these books as I could, at least the ones I thought my mother would not object to, causing me to leave the ones with the nearly naked ladies on the rack. From the fantasy of Oz and the action and adventure of the Hardy Boys, I quickly accelerated my reading fare to those pulp novels detailing the adventures of Doc Savage, the Avenger, Mack Bolan, and Nick Carter. And here I also found and read the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, or at least his Tarzan titles because I feared his Mars books featured way too many alien beauties in undress on the covers to get past the eye of my mother. So there’s something curiously appropriate here that my first electronic book is Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. It’s almost like I’m back to that rack of paperbacks as an 11-year-old, making up for lost time and unread volumes, and what better way to initiate myself into this brave new world of electronic novels than to start with one of the great early sci-fi fantasy books of all time… Burroughs has his own influences, obviously Verne and Wells from the other side of the ocean, and James Fenimore Cooper here closer to home, and of course the cowboy dime novels of the late 1800s, but reading A Princess of Mars, I’m struck by how in 1912 what a ground-breaking storyline this must have been and how much a debt today’s American popular culture owes to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his John Carter. Carter is a uniquely American hero, the descendant of Natty Bumppo, and the forefather of just about every action/adventure hero who has come after him. I was just on Wikipedia, and the Robert E. Howard entry there calls Howard the father of the sword and sorcery genre. But without Burroughs’ influence, Howard would never have created Conan the Barbarian; without John Carter there’s no Superman and precious few other superheroes from the DC or Marvel line-up; without Burroughs, we wouldn’t have sci-fi as we know it today, from Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles to James Cameron’s Avatar. We surely wouldn’t have Christopher Pike and James T. Kirk and those sexy green babes from Orion. And there’s something in John Carter that might even remind the reader of big-screen action figures like John McClane or John Connor or even Neo, even though he isn't named John. John Carter arrives on Mars (“Barsoom” in the local tongue) through quite mysterious circumstances. He is a gentleman of Virginia, a veteran of the Civil War who travels to the west in the post-war migration to make his mark. The beginning of the story finds him in Arizona territory, prospecting. There are Indians and ambushes, and it’s almost like Burroughs here intentionally creates a transition between those early cowboy pulp novels and his new outer space adventure. Those Indians chase Carter into a cave and when he emerges he discovers he’s no longer in Arizona. Through his superhuman strength (the thinner atmosphere and lesser gravity on Mars allows him to leap 50 feet at a time and knock out a fifteen-foot Martian with one blow), John Carter overcomes many an obstacle to win the girl, save the day and become a prince of Mars before finding himself just as mysteriously back on Earth by the end of the novel. So the story itself is pretty much what you might expect it to be. But as with any good science fiction or fantasy, A Princess of Mars is more than just a simple pulp novel, and it’s as much about life on Earth as it is about Mars, and at the core of this novel is a message about the necessity of tolerance and diversity in a world filled with division and violence. In that way, A Princess of Mars shares common ground with many a sci-fi tale, for example, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the most recent sci-fi/fantasy offering that comes to mind. Just like those original Planet of the Apes movies (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes make the theme most apparent), this newest reboot offers a message of hope if people (and apes) can work together. And so too on Barsoom, where the green men live brutal, savage lives constantly warring on each other and on the neighboring red Martians, John Carter arrives bringing with him to the red planet a new hope for living together through tolerance and mutual understanding. When John Carter finds himself suddenly transported to Mars, he first encounters the Tharkian tribe of the green Martians. These fifteen-foot-tall creatures with four arms and long tusks practice eugenics and euthanasia, and few if any live to their natural lifespan of a thousand years. Their cruel code of honor creates a harsh society where it is kill or be killed, and the Tharks only smile or laugh when they see their enemies suffering. However, through his increased strength and his experience at war, John Carter is able to fight his way to a position of respect among the Tharks and encourage a new set of ideals among them. John Carter allies himself with the green man Tars Tarkas and teaches him the value of friendship. He is able to bring the green men together to fight for a common cause and for the first time creates an alliance between the green men and the red Martians of Helium. John Carter even shows kind mastery to his dog and horse (or his calot and thoat, that is), making them much more effective creatures as companions and mounts and through his example teaches the green men the virtue of kindness to animals. (Wait a minute, Edgar Rice Burroughs, you wacky guy…John Carter? JC? Bringing a message of hope and light to the darkness…hmmm? I dunno, but maybe!) And like any great writer of sci-fi, Burroughs is familiar with the scientific theories of this time, and he builds on them with a prescience that is curious to read today. In 1912, he is talking about the gravity and atmosphere of Mars and imagining flying machines with the capacity of waging war. Here through the warring green men of Barsoom, Burroughs seems to be pointing to the gathering storm in Europe that in a couple of years is about to unleash the worst violence in the history of mankind. The red Barsoomians, less martial than their green counterparts, have unlocked the secrets of light; the ninth ray is the key to the creation of their artificial atmosphere, and the eighth gives them propulsion enabling flight. Radium is the source of their energy on Mars and powers their technology as well as their weapons of the non-stabby kind. None of it makes any real sense today, but it’s fascinating to think about Burroughs reading up on the discoveries of the Curies or the theories of Einstein and working them into his stories. And so now here I am 100 years later with my own advanced technology, reading about John Carter and Dejah Thoris on my iPad. Truth be told, I’d rather be reading his adventures on Barsoom in some ancient paperback from a carousel in my public library. I’d rather have the touch and the heft of the book in my hands and the smell of wisdom from old bookstores emanating from the musty pages of the novel, but time keeps on slipping away from me, and in fact this fall I will be required to teach my freshmen using iPads in the classroom. No more books in the freshmen curriculum, if you can believe that. So today it’s Edgar Rice Burroughs, but in a month or so it’ll be Homer and Shakespeare and Steinbeck and more. I’ve got some serious catching up to do!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lynne King

    There were very good reviews of this book by Edgar Rice Burroughs and, as it looked to be such an interesting subject, I couldn’t wait to read the book. My expectations were high. I’ve always been interested in space, planets and the stars, and purchased a rather splendid telescope about six months ago so that I could enjoy this “hobby” of mine even more. Nothing just gives me greater pleasure than looking out over the foothills and distant mountains, and at the stars. It’s magical. I There were very good reviews of this book by Edgar Rice Burroughs and, as it looked to be such an interesting subject, I couldn’t wait to read the book. My expectations were high. I’ve always been interested in space, planets and the stars, and purchased a rather splendid telescope about six months ago so that I could enjoy this “hobby” of mine even more. Nothing just gives me greater pleasure than looking out over the foothills and distant mountains, and at the stars. It’s magical. I then thought Mars and began to wonder how an author would go about writing a book about this planet. I soon found out. I thoroughly enjoyed the Foreword in which the manuscript of Captain John Carter is found. Everything was fine in the book until John arrived on Mars. The fact that he was naked, and could leap to great heights all over the place, began to rather annoy me after a while. Too much of a good thing isn't good. The green Martians and the white hairless apes, “except for an enormous shock of bristly hair upon its head” all seemed rather stiff in the dialogue. Sola was, however, excellently portrayed and also Woola, the guard dog and what a wonderful description: “It waddled in on its ten short legs, and squatted down before the girl like an obedient puppy. The thing was about the size of a Shetland pony, but its head bore a slight resemblance to that of a frog, except that the jaws were equipped with three rows of long, sharp tusks.” I could just visualize it. This creature was, “As I was to learn, this is the fleetest animal on Mars, and owing to its intelligence, loyalty, and ferocity is used in hunting, in war, and as the protector of the Martian man.” Woola was soon to be a friend of John, as was Sola. I confess that I began to “skim read” after this, looking for something interesting to read; found some very descriptive sections, continued on to the end. But basically I had abandoned the book soon after Woola and the white apes came into the picture. When I think about this book, I try to analyze why I didn’t like it. Basically, it comes down to one thing. A book should make the dramatic statement “Read me, read me” and not “Leave me, leave me” which I soon did unfortunately and the book is now in the “cloud”. Perhaps the book about the manuscript of John Carter has already returned to Mars? Who knows?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    This is a good pulp novel from the Golden Era. For the first half of the book, I was totally hooked. John Carter, a former Confederate soldier and prospector, falls into weird dream that has him waking up on Mars -- without a stitch on. Burroughs loves his primitives. Carter soon discovers he can jump extreme distances, and knock out 12 foot giant insects and apes with a one punch. It's an atmosphere thing, but one that he me wondering if Carter was some sort of early Earth version of Superman. This is a good pulp novel from the Golden Era. For the first half of the book, I was totally hooked. John Carter, a former Confederate soldier and prospector, falls into weird dream that has him waking up on Mars -- without a stitch on. Burroughs loves his primitives. Carter soon discovers he can jump extreme distances, and knock out 12 foot giant insects and apes with a one punch. It's an atmosphere thing, but one that he me wondering if Carter was some sort of early Earth version of Superman. The story is told in the first person, and for the first part of the book held my attention, as Carter dutifully records his observations -- between fights and adventures -- of the peoples and customs of Mars. The Mars he draws is pretty cool, with thin atmosphere, wild beasts, and red skinned humans who also walk around with not much on. However, I really had roll my eyes when he called one kingdom "Helium." It seems like he could of dug a little deeper on that one. Then again, didn't he name Tarzan after some neighborhood in California? Whatever. Use whatever's in the tool chest, I suppose. The second half of the book, while still reading fast, sort of lost my interest. At this point, the numerous escapes and battles really began to blur. It's not uncommon to see in the space of a few pages a daring escape (or three), some hand to hand combat, a huge battle involving thousands (and even a million by the end), some romance, and some long winded speeches. Actually, I enjoyed the speeches. They were kind of funny and the kind of thing I expect in a pulp novel (especially one from 1912). Still, after a while the sheer repetition gets to be pretty mechanical and thin by novel's end. One thing that did start to grate on me was John Carter's high opinion of himself. But even that annoyance is covered to some extent by the breakneck speed of the story, which increasingly read like a one draft whoop-de-doo.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    A surprisingly good read. Solidly space opera. As an adventure, it works just fine. Others have documented Burroughs' shoddy research, but cut the guy some slack--he lived before the invention of modern physics. That said, he commits several gaffs which are perplexing for their crudeness. For example, after he identifies Mars' year as twice as long as an Earth year, he has his hero staying on Mars ten years and returning to Earth with only ten years elapsed. He doesn't even t A surprisingly good read. Solidly space opera. As an adventure, it works just fine. Others have documented Burroughs' shoddy research, but cut the guy some slack--he lived before the invention of modern physics. That said, he commits several gaffs which are perplexing for their crudeness. For example, after he identifies Mars' year as twice as long as an Earth year, he has his hero staying on Mars ten years and returning to Earth with only ten years elapsed. He doesn't even try to explain how John Carter comes to have two apparently-functional bodies. The whole "radium" thing is a hoot. Like SF writers before and since, Burroughs uses the then-new element as the solution to every technical problem. Think: electric/electronic, nuclear, positronic, quantum and anti-matter. He had no more idea than most of the others how his Deus ex machina worked, it just did . . . he said. The birth-by-egg business is hopeless, of course, but plays a critical plot purpose, so what can we say? Burroughs says there are no birds or bugs on Mars, yet everyone dresses in silks and decorates with feathers. Huh? His getting the sand storms and mountains wrong is excusable, given the state of our knowledge of the Red Planet a hundred years ago. He at least knew that Percival Lowell was all wet. A fun read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I couldn't believe how much I liked this book. I thought it would be your typical early-20th-century Anglocentric sexist thinly-veiled allegory of Western cultural dominance. Then I got over myself. Like H. Rider Haggard (a near-contemporary of Burroughs, and probably a more direct influence on the Barsoom novels than Jules Verne or H.G. Wells) Edgar Rice Burroughs has some attitudes that modern readers find uncomfortable, but in the context of his time, he's a remarkably liberal thinker. John C I couldn't believe how much I liked this book. I thought it would be your typical early-20th-century Anglocentric sexist thinly-veiled allegory of Western cultural dominance. Then I got over myself. Like H. Rider Haggard (a near-contemporary of Burroughs, and probably a more direct influence on the Barsoom novels than Jules Verne or H.G. Wells) Edgar Rice Burroughs has some attitudes that modern readers find uncomfortable, but in the context of his time, he's a remarkably liberal thinker. John Carter is strong but generous of spirit, a powerful warrior but respectful of women, a staunch defender of what he believes to be right, and completely aware of his weaknesses instead of pretending they don't exist. I think his personality is best defined by how he becomes a "chieftain" among the green Martians totally by accident. Among the Martians, status is gained by killing other warriors, usually only for that purpose; John Carter kills to defend himself and then others, completely unaware of how green Martian society works, but doesn't change his behavior once he learns the truth--even though gaining status would help both him and Dejah Thoris, the titular princess. His falling in love with her is so sweet--there's something very touching about a strong man who's completely at a loss before the woman he loves. Burroughs's world building is at times inconsistent, but since this novel was originally published serially, it's not surprising that he changed his mind about stuff between issues. It was incredibly easy to lose myself in the story, and the only thing I couldn't quite believe was that John Carter was able to control his physical urges even though he and Dejah Thoris were naked the whole time. Seriously? I could buy Dejah Thoris being unaffected on the grounds that it's how her people live, but a red-blooded Virginia boy? Who came from a time when women showed almost no skin below the neckline? Maybe that makes Burroughs even more of a liberal thinker than I thought.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    My paperback cost $1.25, an expensive replacement back in the 1970's. My original was only 35¢ when my father bought it. This was one of my first ERB novels & is possibly my favorite series of his, but it hasn't aged as well as I thought it would have. He's not as racist or sexist in this as some, the action is nonstop, & the overall plot is pretty good, but there are just too many coincidences. It's not really SF as much as a fantasy. The science is pretty magical. Radium, sp My paperback cost $1.25, an expensive replacement back in the 1970's. My original was only 35¢ when my father bought it. This was one of my first ERB novels & is possibly my favorite series of his, but it hasn't aged as well as I thought it would have. He's not as racist or sexist in this as some, the action is nonstop, & the overall plot is pretty good, but there are just too many coincidences. It's not really SF as much as a fantasy. The science is pretty magical. Radium, specific rays of the sun, telepathy, & other odd notions make life on Barsoom possible. (Why isn't 'Barsoom' in my browser's dictionary? Programmers should be geeky enough to know it.) Even though John Carter's organs are in such different places that he couldn't pass a physical as a Red martian, the Green martians can fix up his wounds in miraculous ways. He even manages to have a couple of kids with Dejah Thoris although she lays eggs. Since most egg layers that I know have a cloaca, that means... well, I don't really want to think about it. Dejah Thoris is a dream girl, but perhaps JC is a bit more adventurous than I thought in other ways, too. ;) It was an interesting read. I did so with 2 groups who happened to read it in the same month. It's really not worthy of 4 stars save for the impetus it lent to other authors over the years. Edmond Hamiltion's Earth of a million years from now in City at World's End seems to have pulled the ocher land directly from Barsoom. Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom are modern short stories based on ERB's series & they were worth reading, too.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    A Princess of Mars is not a great work of literature, but it is a genre classic and one that has a cult following. The first book in the legendary Burroughs' Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series is a lovely introduction to the series. It is worth remembering that the Barsoom series inspired many authors and even some scientists. It is a fairly influential book and one worth reading even if just to see what the fuss is about. However, if you're a politically correct type, than this is NOT a book for you. F A Princess of Mars is not a great work of literature, but it is a genre classic and one that has a cult following. The first book in the legendary Burroughs' Barsoom (i.e. Mars) series is a lovely introduction to the series. It is worth remembering that the Barsoom series inspired many authors and even some scientists. It is a fairly influential book and one worth reading even if just to see what the fuss is about. However, if you're a politically correct type, than this is NOT a book for you. First serialized in a pulp magazine in 1912, this science fiction novel falls into a subgenre of planetary romance. It is a pulp writing for sure and a hundred years old at that, but it has its qualities. As long as you don't mind reading a story narrated by a guy who tells you how awesome he is and praises himself every step of the way, you should be fine. Not recommended to feminists and hipsters. The hero of this novel, Captain John Carter tells this story in his own words, but not before he is introduced in a foreword: ...In submitting Captain Carter's strange manuscript to you in book form, I believe that a few words relative to this remarkable personality will be of interest. My first recollection of Captain Carter is of the few months he spent at my father's home in Virginia, just prior to the opening of the civil war. I was then a child of but five years, yet I well remember the tall, dark, smooth-faced, athletic man whom I called Uncle Jack. Naturally, the protagonist is handsome and perfect, as a pulp hero must be. That much is clear from the start and if you have a problem with that, you might as well skip this book. ...He seemed always to be laughing; and he entered into the sports of the children with the same hearty good fellowship he displayed toward those pastimes in which the men and women of his own age indulged; or he would sit for an hour at a time entertaining my old grandmother with stories of his strange, wild life in all parts of the world. We all loved him, and our slaves fairly worshiped the ground he trod. He was a splendid specimen of manhood, standing a good two inches over six feet, broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, with the carriage of the trained fighting man. His features were regular and clear cut, his hair black and closely cropped, while his eyes were of a steel gray, reflecting a strong and loyal character, filled with fire and initiative. His manners were perfect, and his courtliness was that of a typical southern gentleman of the highest type. His horsemanship, especially after hounds, was a marvel and delight even in that country of magnificent horsemen. I have often heard my father caution him against his wild recklessness, but he would only laugh.... After this introduction, the reader learns something else about Cartier, as his wistful gazing off into the space is mentioned. This foreshadows what is to come a bit (planetary romance), but still doesn't tell us that much about the protagonist. ...When the war broke out he left us, nor did I see him again for some fifteen or sixteen years. When he returned it was without warning, and I was much surprised to note that he had not aged apparently a moment, nor had he changed in any other outward way. He was, when others were with him, the same genial, happy fellow we had known of old, but when he thought himself alone I have seen him sit for hours gazing off into space, his face set in a look of wistful longing and hopeless misery; and at night he would sit thus looking up into the heavens, at what I did not know until I read his manuscript years afterward. The first chapter opens with John Carter telling his story that starts of as a western of some sorts. There are Indians but after a clash in a cave, John is paralyzed and the fierce Indian warriors flee before some unknown terror. John manages to move after many horrible hours and finds himself naked. Seeing his clothed body next to him, Cartier is unsure whether he is alive or dead. ....The transition had been so sudden and so unexpected that it left me for a moment forgetful of aught else than my strange metamorphosis. My first thought was, is this then death! Have I indeed passed over forever into that other life! But I could not well believe this, as I could feel my heart pounding against my ribs from the exertion of my efforts to release myself from the anaesthesis which had held me. My breath was coming in quick, short gasps, cold sweat stood out from every pore of my body, and the ancient experiment of pinching revealed the fact that I was anything other than a wraith. Again was I suddenly recalled to my immediate surroundings by a repetition of the weird moan from the depths of the cave. Naked and unarmed as I was, I had no desire to face the unseen thing which menaced me. My revolvers were strapped to my lifeless body which, for some unfathomable reason, I could not bring myself to touch. My carbine was in its boot, strapped to my saddle, and as my horse had wandered off I was left without means of defense. My only alternative seemed to lie in flight and my decision was crystallized by a recurrence of the rustling sound from the thing which now seemed, in the darkness of the cave and to my distorted imagination, to be creeping stealthily upon me... The story really gets started once Cartier gets transported to Mars after he glances upon the planet of War with a desire in his heart. As you might have already noticed, the writing style is a bit old fashioned and quite wordy. This novel definitely feels overwritten and in many ways it hasn't aged that well. However, there is a wonderful imagination in it, if you can look pass the fact that it is a pulp work, you will be able to see that it is not as shallow at it might seem at first. ...I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I was not asleep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I....It was midday, the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was rather intense upon my naked body, yet no greater than would have been true under similar conditions on an Arizona desert. Here and there were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing rock which glistened in the sunlight; and a little to my left, perhaps a hundred yards, appeared a low, walled enclosure about four feet in height. No water, and no other vegetation than the moss was in evidence, and as I was somewhat thirsty I determined to do a little exploring. On Mars, John is a superman of some kind ( I wonder was he the inspiration for the Superman) as his Earth muscles make him stronger than others. Naturally, there is a damsel to save (as the title would promise) and all sorts of fights and adventures to happen. The protagonist will fall in love instantly and so will she undoubtedly. This book is quite predictable, I'm afraid...and I would lie if I said that it didn't make me roll my eyes now and then. It annoyed me quite a few times. Nevertheless, I quite liked A Princess of Mars. There is a reason why it has such a cult following and it is not just because it was one of the first of its kind. There is something to said about this book, there really is. A bit of magic that allows you to see beyond its shortcomings.

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