“We made a most imposing and awe-inspiring spectacle as we strung out across the yellow landscape; the two hundred and fifty ornate and brightly colored chariots, preceded by an advance guard of some two hundred mounted warriors and chieftains riding five abreast and one hundred yards apart, and followed by a like number in the same formation, with a score or more of flankers on either side; the fifty extra mastodons, or heavy draught animals, known as zitidars, and the five or six hundred extra thoats of the warriors running loose within the hollow square formed by the surrounding warriors. The gleaming metal and jewels of the gorgeous ornaments of the men and women, duplicated in the trappings of the zitidars and thoats, and interspersed with the flashing colors of magnificent silks and furs and feathers, lent a barbaric splendor to the caravan which would have turned an East Indian potentate green with envy.” – A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs



Burroughs’ Barsoom saga – which spanned 11 novels, I believe (written from the 1910’s to the 1940’s) – had a huge influence on young writers like Robert A. Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, and Arthur C. Clarke, to name just a few. References and homages to Burroughs’ Barsoom have appeared in countless novels over the decades, including Heinlein’s The Number of the Beast, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower II: the Drawing of the Three.

The enduring influence of this series is still noticable – just look at new releases like Jane Carver of Waar by Nathan Long and Under the Moons of Mars, an anthology edited by John Joseph Adams.






So, with that said, I’m hoping that people don’t lose sight of the significance of Burroughs’ Barsoom when the John Carter movie opens. These novels are pretty much sacred to me, so if the movie is successful, I’m hoping that it inspires droves of young readers (and old) to visit (or revisit) Burroughs’ wondrous, adventure-filled world. If the movie flops, I hope that it doesn’t unfairly taint the legacy of this beloved, truly classic series.



Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 


 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!




by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎03-08-2012 08:23 PM
by LordRuthven on ‎03-08-2012 09:00 PM

The reviews of the movie I've read from sources I generally trust have been positive. I still can't believe I am finally going to see Tars Tarkas onscreen. And Willem Dafoe as his voice, that's just awesome.

by on ‎03-08-2012 09:24 PM

This might be a good time to mention that B&N has the first five John Carter novels in one volume at the unbeatable price of 99 cents (or you can download them individually for free from Gutenberg):



A Princess of Mars
The Gods of Mars
Warlord of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars



The John Carter of Mars Collection, 5 Complete Books  

by MADIS on ‎03-09-2012 02:49 PM

I have been waiting for this movie to come out for a long time.  Okay...I admit that it is for an entirely different reason.  I really like Taylor Kitsch.  BUT, if I like it, I may be inspired to read the books.  Now, if I would not have liked the actor so much, I would likely have not seen it to have the chance to be inspired to read them.  Don't hate me because he is beautiful.


I know how hard it is to have something you love be violated for the screen.  Hopefully, it will not be too painful for you Paul. Finger crossed!

by ‎03-09-2012 11:47 PM - edited ‎03-09-2012 11:48 PM

As a child I loved Tarzan of the Apes, but I've never read any of Burroughs' Sci-Fi/Fantasy work, and I'm curious about it. Thanks for bringing this subject up Paul. I'm now interested in Burroughs' Barsoom novels.   

by on ‎03-10-2012 08:33 PM

I just got back.  Overall, I enjoyed the film a lot.  A few minor quibbles.  (Even in Martian gravity a healthy earthman couldn't jump 100 feet high: that was way overdone.)  Woola was really cute and likable.  The basic story was A Princess of Mars but they added in some stuff from the later books.  I'd recommend it.

by Htom_Serveaux ‎03-11-2012 09:21 AM - edited ‎03-11-2012 09:24 AM

Paul: Ditto on the "gateway drug" effect of these novels.


More importantly, among those inspired by them was also a young Brooklynite by the name of Carl Sagan.


More (I won't say "overly") sensitive readers should be aware that these novels are rather dated, and occasionally display some casual (and, not to excuse it, even well-intentioned) racism and sexism.

by ‎03-11-2012 10:00 AM - edited ‎03-11-2012 11:25 AM

Luckily, of course, there is no such sexism of any sort anymore.


Dejah Thoris    Dejah Thoris    

by tfadams on ‎03-12-2012 10:34 PM

well I loved the movie despite the changes. which I tolerated but I am still looking for book:


11. John carter of mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs


which I am looking for my nook color.

by on ‎03-12-2012 11:08 PM

This collection seems to have books 8-11, including the two short stories that were combined as John Carter of Mars:


The Collected John Carter of Mars (Volume 3)  


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