Barsoomian tales

The advantage of movie adaptations of a book is that it is expected an increased interest in the original story will follow. In this case I am talking about a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs that have been republished at the release of the movie John Carter which tells about adventures of an Earth man on the planet of Mars (called by its inhabitants Barsoom). Back in the day (between 1910 and 1940) the series was highly popular and its story concepts inspired famous movies like Star Wars and Avatar.

These days the John Carter series is mostly forgotten. If there is a reprint then its usually only the first few books. As I am a sucker for classic works, especially Fantasy and Science Fiction, I’ve had the first two novels in a Dutch omnibus edition for over a decade. I never thought much about reading more, but with the release of the movie and subsequent reviews that mentioned many more than those two books, I decided to check on the availability of the rest of the books.

As I said in the beginning, a movie adaptation often acts like a trigger for book publishers to release the books as well to gain some extra profit there. Three quite nice and fairly cheap omnibus editions have come available containing all 11 John Carter novels. Now is the chance to get them complete at last. So I did.

The first volume contains A Princess Of Mars (1912), The Gods Of Mars (1914) and The Warlord Of Mars (1918). The second volume contains Thuvia, Maid Of Mars (1920), The Chessmen Of Mars (1922), The Master Mind Of Mars (1928) and A Fighting Man Of Mars (1931). And lastly the third volume contains Swords Of Mars (1936), Synthetic Men Of Mars (1940), Llana Of Gathol (1948) and John Carter Of Mars (1964). The last novel can be considered an extra as it actually contains two stories: John Carter and the Giant of Mars (1940), which is more of authorized fan-fiction, and Skeleton Men of Jupiter (1942), which is actually an incomplete story. They are all not large books as they were published in serials in magazines. The shortest are about 170 pages and the longest no more than 300 pages. So they are ideal to combine together.

I could start with A Princess of Mars again to begin reading the whole series. This time I have read them before already however, which is also the case for The Gods Of Mars. I do have to admit it has been a long time so I have forgotten most of it. Nevertheless I enjoy falling into the middle of a story so I have decided to start with The Warlord Of Mars. Eventually I can always pick up the first two novels again. I don’t mind that. Shifting the order in a series allows different perspectives. When I was younger, before the advent of the internet and webshops, I had little choice but pick up the books available at the library, which was relatively small. Frequently enough they could be a random book from a series, either first, last or one in the middle. So I don’t mind picking up a story later in the plot and this time I can still change my mind if I want too.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.