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Distinguished Bibliophile
Posts: 2,725
Registered: ‎06-16-2009
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Discussion Proposal: John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

[ Edited ]

I was wondering if anyone would be interested in participating in a discussion about one of the John Carter books written by Edgar Rice Burroughs? His Tarzan books are also an option, but I must confess to curiosity about the John Carter books doubtlessly due to the John Carter of Mars movie. (See a Paul Goat Allen blog review at More Than a Movie: The New John Carte Film is a Golden Nugget from the Golden Age of SF.) I've never read any Burroughs' Sci-Fi/Fantasy books, and I'm interested in the subject as my exposure to his work as a child was limited to Tarzan.


The biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs and a complete list of his literary works can be found at this Wikipedia link Edgar Rice Burroughs. Suffice it to say that he was a seminal author in Adventure and Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature.


John Carter was the lead character in the first novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs set on a fictionalized version of Mars known as the Barsoom tales. Written between July and September 28, 1911, the novel was serialized as Under the Moons of Mars in the pulp magazine The All-Story from February to July 1912. It later appeared as a complete novel only after the success of Burroughs' Tarzan series. For its October 1917 hardcover publication by  A.C. McClurg & Company, the novel was retitled A Princess of Mars.

Carter reappeared in subsequent volumes of the series, most prominently in the second (The Gods of Mars, 1918), the third (The Warlord of Mars, 1919), the eighth (Swords of Mars, 1936), the tenth (Llana of Gathol, 1948), and the eleventh and final installment (John Carter of Mars, published posthumously in 1964). John Carter is also a major secondary character in the fourth volume (Thuvia, Maid of Mars, 1920), and the ninth (Synthetic Men of Mars, 1940). (See Wikipeida link at John Carter,)


There's a slew of low priced John Carter nookbooks offered by B&N like

The John Carter of Mars Collection, 5 Complete Books ($0.99). There's also a paperback John Carter collection currently offered by B&N

John Carter on Mars Collection ( $20.99).

Since I've never gone digital, I'd personally be more interested a hardback edition of the Collected Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs like

Collected Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs ($36.99).  (Yep, steep, but I'd like a hardback collection, and Tarzan was a childhood favorite.)



From a brief search of the internet it appears that just about every work written by Edgar Rice Burroughs can also be found free and on-line. (See Edgar Rice Burroughs - Biography and Works. Search Texts, Read ...., Edgar Rice Burroughs - Free Online Library)


So, is anyone interested in discussion one of the John Charter books and/or a Barsoom book that doesn't feater Carter and/or another Edgar Rice Burroughs book?  

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎08-31-2011
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Re: Discussion Proposal: John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

I started a thread in the SF section asking if anyone was going to the movie on opening weekend.  i then decided to read the first book of the series again, having read it once at least 25 years ago.



It was a quick read, taking only a few days what with work and other things going on also.  


I give Burroughs high marks for character development and imagination.  The good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys.  Also high marks for readability and keeping the story moving along.


Low marks go for how Carter arrives on Mars and then again for how he returns to Earth.  It didn't make a lot of sense and was a bit mystical which didn't fit with the psuedo science of the rest of the book. It is the weak point in the book and Burroughs and his editors must have known it.  It gets short treatment.

Low marks also for the narration that is prominent in the beginning.  Shows up unpredicably for one sentance in the middle and is sparse at the end.  Either put the narrator in the story like you started to or don't.


Low marks in a way for the melodrama and soap opera talk during the love interest scenes.  But I say in a way.  Back then, that was standard for pulp fiction with Burroughs being one of the originators.  It was expected in that kind of literature.  Today, you might find it in romance novels, but not much anywhere else.


The other mark of the pulp fiction era is the leaving you hanging for the sequal.  Burroughs did this quite a lot.  It was standard for the genre.


In all, I found that I forgot I was reading a 100 year old book.  It was a quick and enjoyable read. 

Distinguished Correspondent
Posts: 166
Registered: ‎10-30-2011
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Re: Discussion Proposal: John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

[ Edited ]
I just finished the original John Carter trilogy - 'A Princess of Mars', 'The Gods of Mars' and 'The Warlord of Mars'. It is an awesome series and my new favorite. I also read the original 'Tarzan of the Apes' novel. (I downloaded them all for free from Feedbooks and side-loaded to my Nook.) I find Burroughs' writing fascinating, made even more-so by the fact that these stories are 100 years old. Reading the John Carter books today, it's easy to pick out where things have been borrowed by everything from Superman to Star Wars. It added to the enjoyment of it to me.