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A Princess Of Mars (and other Barsoomian tales)

The Master MInd of Mars

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#1 Majere

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 08:27 AM

I just finished Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs yesterday, and started Gods of Mars today. Pretty good stuff so far. I'm a sucker for border-line corny sci-fi stories from the old days. I love names like Barsoom, Woola, Tars Tarkas, etc... lol. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else here has read any of Edgar Rice Burrough's Martian Tales, and if so, what did you think? I'm amazed at how well Burroughs writing holds up even today, considering those stories are nearly 100 years old! :o By that, I mean the writing style itself is still quite readable and exciting. The same can't always be said, unfortunatley, for some earlier sci-fi writers such as H.G. Wells.

On a side note, I get the feeling Robert E. Howard must've read quite a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs growing up, because every now and then when I'm reading ERB it echoes of REH, and vice-versa. Anyway, take care everybody.

Peace,
-M-
"The Perfect Blossom is a rare thing. A man could spend his entire life searching for one, and it would not be a wasted life."

#2 Guest_fiendlurking_*

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:39 AM

Id hardly call anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs corny...in fact quite alot of his books are required reading in some schools...im a huge fan...might i suggest a book called "The Cave Girl"

#3 TOMV9

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 02:36 PM

I read all eleven of the martian books by Burroughs. I thought they were great. If you like them you will want to read the Pellucidar series and the Venus series. They are both a wonderful read as well. I've read just about all of Burroughs published works and I havn't found a single thing I didn't like.

#4 Pontifex

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 03:56 PM

I read all eleven of the martian books by Burroughs. I thought they were great. If you like them you will want to read the Pellucidar series and the Venus series. They are both a wonderful read as well. I've read just about all of Burroughs published works and I havn't found a single thing I didn't like.


i'm looking to buy those books eventually

#5 willowman

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 04:25 PM

I'm actually in the middle of the first book, myself. I love novels like these. They don't really fit into any specific genre to me, I just call them Adventure novels. I group R.E.H.'s work in that category too.

#6 Kane

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:11 PM

I started reading ERB John Carter series around the same year that I started reading Conan.
What a great combo! :D
Every since I think that I've read at least one of the books every year.
Burroughs did an excellent job of creating a world that was filled with exotic wonders..... And women. ;)
I'm slowly rebuilding my collection through the SFBC. They currently have, IIRC, the first 6 books in a two volume collection. Well worth the time to pick up. Also, IIRC, there is a new comic adaption coming out later this year. Sorry, cannot recall which company is putting it out.
If your intrested. there are some excellent write ups on Barsoom and other Burroughs settings at this site. Den Valdron has some that are written, much like Dale Rippke's Conan essays, as if Barsoom is an actual place and he looks at what factors created the world that Carter found himself on.

They don't really fit into any specific genre to me, I just call them Adventure novels.

The sub-genre that the Martian stories fall into is known as either, "Planetary Romances", because the main character usually falls in love with primary female character, or, "Sword and Planet", for the obvious reasons.
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#7 Strom

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:15 PM

I started reading Princess of Mars a few months ago and I was really surprised how slow the beginning is. After reading Howard, it is very slow. I love ERB's Tarzan and even collected the John Carter of Mars comic back in the day but I'm somewhat disappointed in the beginning of POM. Anyway, I hope to resume reading it soon and I'm sure it picks up. I brought a very old paperback so I'm very careful in reading it so as not to destroy the thing. :D

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#8 korak

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 11:58 PM

strom writes- I started reading Princess of Mars a few months ago and I was really surprised how slow the beginning is. After reading Howard, it is very slow. I love ERB's Tarzan and even collected the John Carter of Mars comic back in the day but I'm somewhat disappointed in the beginning of POM. Anyway, I hope to resume reading it soon and I'm sure it picks up. I brought a very old paperback so I'm very careful in reading it so as not to destroy the thing.


I think I read the first three Mars books last, and I agree that volume one is a somewhat slow and dense read in the style of Verne and Wells, the older 19th century style. It was Burroughs very first book in 1912, so that explains why it and Tarzan of the Apes are more Victorian in style. Later books become quite streamlined and action packed and colorful, in the typical pulp era style. Howard owned a pretty good pile of ERB books and magazines and ERB was one of his primary pulp influences, as can be seen by such homages as Vale of Lost Women, where Conan is virtually a Tarzan clone, and Almuric, a pastiche of the Mars genre of science fantasy.

For Frazetta enthusiasts, the Doubleday science fiction book club hardback editions of ERB's Mars series in the seventies had cover paintings AND extensive interior illustrations by Frazetta. These can be obtained economically on abebooks.com. My personal favorites are the original Ballantine edition of the sixties with Robert Abbett covers.

#9 deuce

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 06:13 AM

strom writes- I started reading Princess of Mars a few months ago and I was really surprised how slow the beginning is. After reading Howard, it is very slow. I love ERB's Tarzan and even collected the John Carter of Mars comic back in the day but I'm somewhat disappointed in the beginning of POM. Anyway, I hope to resume reading it soon and I'm sure it picks up. I brought a very old paperback so I'm very careful in reading it so as not to destroy the thing.


I think I read the first three Mars books last, and I agree that volume one is a somewhat slow and dense read in the style of Verne and Wells, the older 19th century style. It was Burroughs very first book in 1912, so that explains why it and Tarzan of the Apes are more Victorian in style. Later books become quite streamlined and action packed and colorful, in the typical pulp era style. Howard owned a pretty good pile of ERB books and magazines and ERB was one of his primary pulp influences, as can be seen by such homages as Vale of Lost Women, where Conan is virtually a Tarzan clone, and Almuric, a pastiche of the Mars genre of science fantasy.

For Frazetta enthusiasts, the Doubleday science fiction book club hardback editions of ERB's Mars series in the seventies had cover paintings AND extensive interior illustrations by Frazetta. These can be obtained economically on abebooks.com. My personal favorites are the original Ballantine edition of the sixties with Robert Abbett covers.



I totally agree with your assessment of "Princess" and "Tarzan", Korak. Burroughs was blazing new literary trails in those books, conceptually and stylistically. There really wasn't anyone to copy, he just had to go it on his own. Those first two novels moved at a breakneck pace compared to Haggard or Wells. Let's not forget that besides Howard (who wrote a fan letter to ERB), many other great writers have cited Burroughs as a huge influence over the years. A VERY short list: Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury, Michael Moorcock, Gore Vidal, Robert Adams and SM Stirling.
BTW, Korak, speakin' of Bob Abbett, James Van Hise has a tabloid-sized paperback called (I think) "The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs". It has a Corben cover of Tarzan and an i-view with Abbett, amongst many other cool things. You can buy it through Bud Plant. Kaor!

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#10 korak

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 06:20 AM

deuce writes- BTW, Korak, speakin' of Bob Abbett, James Van Hise has a tabloid-sized paperback called (I think) "The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs". It has a Corben cover of Tarzan and an i-view with Abbett, amongst many other cool things. You can buy it through Bud Plant. Kaor!


Yay! I do have that one, and it is a uniform match with Van Hise's companion volume about REH. Kaor! :rolleyes:

#11 Majere

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 07:15 AM

Id hardly call anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs corny...in fact quite alot of his books are required reading in some schools...im a huge fan...might i suggest a book called "The Cave Girl"

I certainly didn't mean to imply that Burroughs was corny. I said I like "corny sci-fi" stories. By that I simply meant all those old pulp stories from the 20's-50's. And I use the term "corny" affectionatley, believe me. I like that stuff, I'm not insulting it in any way. And if you've read any of my other posts, or even most of the one in which you just replied to, you'll see that I've only got good things to say about ERB. So I hope I cleared this up for anyone who thought I was insulting Mr. Burroughs, because I was not.

Take care guys,
-M-
"The Perfect Blossom is a rare thing. A man could spend his entire life searching for one, and it would not be a wasted life."

#12 Hyborian Frog

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:34 PM

I just started reading these this year. I'll probably only read the orginal trilogy as the others do not sound as good. For those who have read them all, are the later books as good as the original trilogy?

#13 Almuric

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 04:43 PM

Actually, I believe his Barsoom novels are his best, overall. The series maintains a high level of quality throughout, even if the plots tend to fall into the princess-is-kidnapped-hero-travels-far-to-save-her-kills-monsters type. It's the cool settings and strange peoples who make them worth reading. My personal favorites are Gods of Mars, Thuvia, Maid of Mars and Swords of Mars. I have most of the Michael Whelan covers from the early 80s, which are still my favorite cover paintings ever.
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#14 korak

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 06:59 PM

I think the first one I read was Chessmen of Mars which was great. I like the later ones better, and one reason is becausse the first three comprise a "trilogy" with cliff-hanger endings, but the others are free standing one shots.

#15 PainBrush

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 11:01 PM

Edgar Rice who ?

" You have a good point there,...put your helmet on & no-one will notice it ."
" Look for a long time at what pleases you... and longer still at what pains you "
So THIS is civilization ??!??!......

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#16 tiger54

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 11:20 PM

Read most of them and, yes, get those Sci-Fi Book Club editions for the truly wonderful Frazetta artwork. I agree they are slow to get going, more Victorian than modern in their style, pacing and tone. And Barsoom and Pellucidar can, quite often, be substituted for each other in terms of dialouge and plot. Dejah Thoris is the same as Dian The Beautiful as vica-versa. But Burroughs is a natural storyteller and has a wacked-out imagination for sure. He does pull off more than a little magic here, especially when one considers when he wrote this stuff. Pretty far-out there for its time. Well worth the read though for my tastes Howard wins hands down for keeping me on the edge of my seat. I prefer the Tarzans by far.

#17 korak

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 11:38 PM

painbrush writes-Edgar Rice who ?


BURROUGHS... BURROUGHS. You know, that guy who writes the abstract chain of thought books like Naked Lunch, about drugs and sex and all that.... :lol:


Seriously, For me the main appeal of the Mars series is the first person narrative, because I always find it fascinating to get inside the head of a Frazetta type hero. Howard could also write some incredible first person narratives, like Almuric or Valley of the Worm. The Tarzan series, on the other hand, are third person omniscient narrator like the Conan series.

Another cool thing about the Mars series is the pulse pounding high adventure level that they typically reach. Reading one is as much fun as watching a Bond film!

#18 PainBrush

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 02:01 AM

BURROUGHS. You know, that guy who writes the abstract chain of thought books like Naked Lunch, about drugs and sex and all that....

- been hanging out with kiki & the boys from interzone ? Pass the Bug-Juice . hahaha .

I haven't read any E.R.B. in a couple years . I might dig them out soon after I finish the handful of books I've been dawdling around with lately . I hadn't really thought about it before but I think I agree with you about the first-person narrative style in a few of those tales - it gives the fantastic a bit more plausability when it sounds as if someone is relating a story to you directly that they went through - there's a couple of Howards that have a bigger impact when he wrote that way - I'm thinking of Almuric - pretty similar to Burroughs stuff like someone mentioned .

" You have a good point there,...put your helmet on & no-one will notice it ."
" Look for a long time at what pleases you... and longer still at what pains you "
So THIS is civilization ??!??!......

Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image
~ FUTUE EOS SI NON CONCIPERE IOCULARUM ~


#19 Hawklord

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 08:55 PM

Yep, in fact I'm in the middle of rereading the series, coming up to 'Swords of Mars.'

I'd kind of agree that ERB's stuff is 'corny,' at least in the early pulp story sense.

The heroes are all valiantly heroic, the villains are all dastardly, the heroines are all buxom and scantilly clad . . . like the other stories of the time.

Like watching the Flash Gordon serials.

Rollicksome entertainment.

#20 Kane

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 10:01 PM

..., the heroines are all buxom and scantilly clad . . . like the other stories of the time.

Really don't have a problem with that. :)
"I vanquished Law once, I'll conquer yet again--
And force upon Mankind the Freedom he fears--
And dead gods I will again defy?"