- Jun 13, 2006
This is a brilliant piece if pulp, with the usual caveats around erb's casual use of racial clichees. I think it is the second in the original trilogy, so check out The Warlord of Mars for the denoument.Welcome to another rip-roaring adventure to the pen of Edgar Rice-Burroughs.
Ten years have past since John Carter was on Mars, but once again he is called back to the red planet, and this time it is indicated that his return is going to be permanent. Instead of arriving in the North where he built his reputation he has returned to the South, and is shown another side of life on the planet.
There are some stunning ideas on show here, the society of Mars how there are different cultures and subcultures, how people have different ideas and beliefs as to how the world works, and how certain aspects of life are different from other people.
It also has to be noted that Burroughs does not shy away from disturbing ideas. Some of the characters, most notably the First Men are cannibalistic, quite happy to eat the flesh of different races, that they see as lesser creatures. I am sure there could be an argument made that as the First Men are Black skinned there is an element of racism at play, but there is also an element of respect given to the First Ones. They are describes as beautiful, almost beyond compare, almost more intelligent than the other races, brave and ferocious fighters. Much like all the different coloured races of Mars they have their strong points and weak. At their heart there is their queen, considered god Issus. She is a magnificent creation, truly twisted and despicable a worthy opponent.
As with the first book, the society that Burroughs has created is deep, well crafted and filled with good ideas. His understanding of Mars is surprisingly accurate, especially for the time it was written. (Well apart for the whole life on Mars thing... but the imagination with which he makes this possible is still astounding.)
On the downside, for me the problem this time is John Carter himself. Some of the things that were set up in the first novel are carried through here, he is stronger because of the lower gravity, he can leap great distances. But somehow in this book it goes too far, he is beyond compare now. He seems to find a solution for everything, to be good at everything he tries, to be the best of the best. All the women swoon over him and want to belong to him, all the men are happy to follow him as though he is the second coming (which he is, I suppose, and his initials fit.)
Burroughs also goes out of his way to keep Carter and his one true love, Dejah Thoris apart. Apart from a few brief moments they are apart at the end of the novel.
Of course it needs to be said that the story was originally published in parts as a serial, so there is probably a carry over from that.
In all fun, with some superb set-pieces, but it waivers slightly.
|Thread starter||Similar threads||Forum||Replies||Date|
|Star Trek - Discovery - 2.11: Perpetual Infinity||Star Trek: Discovery||6|
|SFWA warning on Perpetual License for Derivative Rights||Traditional Publishing||3|
|POLL -- 300 Word Writing Challenge -- No 28 (January 2018) -- PERPETUAL MAN WINS!||Writing Challenges||0|
|The Perpetual Challenge - Vote For Your Favourite Story||Workshop||2|
|300 WORD WRITING CHALLENGE #28 (January 2018) -- VICTORY TO PERPETUAL MAN!||Writing Challenges||36|