A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars

eBook - 2010
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Publisher: To be supplied : Project Gutenberg, [2010]
Copyright Date: 2010
Branch Call Number: FICTION Bur
Description: 1 online resource
Audience: 1390
Additional Contributors: Project Gutenberg
OverDrive, Inc

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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 09, 2018

Burroughs’s first published story. Burroughs was not a great writer; but he was an energetic storyteller with an imagination that could fire a boy’s brain, with blood-thirsty warriors, aliens of every stripe and limb-count, and a heroine in danger where a boy dreaming of being a hero could – via reading – rescue her from “a fate worse than death” at least once per book.

John Carter, an ex-Confederate officer after the Civil War, goes gold prospecting with a friend in the mountains of Arizona. The friend is killed by Indians and Carter is somehow transported to Mars. As an earthling on Mars he has super jumping ability and super strength which makes him a highly coveted warrior in the wars taking place among the several intelligent species of the planet. It is a strange brew of medieval attitudes and hand to hand fighting, along with anti-gravity flying machines and atmospheric science. And of course John Carter falls in love with the beautiful Martian princess, Dejah Thoris.

It is, of course, scientifically laughable and silly, with stiff dialogue; but I still found myself hooked by the story in this re-reading. With this book, Burroughs basically invented the science fiction subgenre of the “planetary romance.” These books influenced many people who developed the space program and, not surprisingly, many later science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert. It’s worth reading for the perspective, at least, and you may find it fun.

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scribby
Oct 03, 2018

We’ve all heard the names: Tars Tarkus, Dejah Thoris. These are most famous Martian names; also many of the Martian words have been borrowed into more recent space epics (“Jeddak” sounds a little too much like “Jedi” to be a coincidence). But what of the story? This early 20th century “science fiction” is virtually indistinguishable from Sword and Sorcery tales; the feudalism and barbarity of pseudo-Medieval civilization has been replaced by feudalism and barbarity of an alien world. The familiarity of Barsoom goes further, however; much of the tale is derived from classical mythology – some of the characters and incidents are different, of course, but to a large extent it’s a retelling of Homer’s Iliad. Even the language is classical: characters give grand speeches, and the prose includes set phrases (“wine-dark sea” has been replaced by “ice-clad south” and the River Styx has become the River Iss, but the mythic quality remains). However, much of the work is ambiguous: there is no obvious good or evil (which avoids the question, would alien morality be different from ours, or is morality universal?), and the storyline wanders until the rescue of the Princess and the “War of Troy” part begins. Overall I enjoyed this less than I thought I would; written as serialized pulp fiction, it’s certainly entertaining, of course, but I expected more in the way of character development and explanations of made-up Martian technology (even if it was based on theories about ethereal rays and on Percival Lowell’s writings, both of which turned out to be erroneous). Still, it’s campy fun if you can suspend disbelief (and intellect) for a while.

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mclarjh
Mar 23, 2018

Okay for preteens.

a
anthonybencivengo
Feb 06, 2013

This is exactly that sort of incredibly campy pulp fiction that somehow works on the page but is never quite done justice by Hollywood.

h
hmcgivney
Dec 04, 2012

This story is a really great adventure! In some ways, it is a product of it's time (especially in relation to it's views on the fairer sex), but in some ways I can tell that it was very much ahead of its time (the humane treatment of animals). I liked it a lot!

h
horthhill
Feb 06, 2012

"A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs is the novel where John Carter (of Earth) is introduced. Carter is transported from the Earth to Mars where he becomes a warrior hero to its local inhabitants. The story is non-stop action: mostly sword-play. The plot is simple and much of the details is silly. Yet, as a whole, the novel is fun to read.

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erinsnest
Jan 25, 2012

Started reading this on Monday, Jan 23, 2012. I am proud to own this book, and reading it is a return to my childhood. I am not too sure how old I was, when I first read this, perhaps grade 4? I stole a line from it for one of my stories at the time. I didn't realize that this was not a great idea then! Anyway, I did receive an A+ for that story! I notice from the note about Burroughs, that this is the first book that he had published. I have had to get out my dictionary for some of the words. I guess I must have taken the meaning from the context when I first read this at such a young age. (We were at my summer cottage, no TV available and a whole library of the Martian series to explore during the summer!) I have never forgotten John Carter of Mars, and often think of his motto "I still live!" and I am enjoying his adventures again, 40 or so years later, just as much as the first time!
Finished Thursday Jan 26, 2012. If you are going to read this, I would highly recommend that you have access to "The Gods of Mars" (book 2) and "The Warlord of Mars" (book 3), as they are all part of the same story, which finally comes to a conclusion at the end of book 3! Feb 23, 2012.....Oh! They finally made a movie! I just saw the trailer.....and I can hardly wait! (Might have to wait until the summer, new movies take a while to come to our small town!).....didn't get to see the movie until July....and....I watched on the plane! (going to England!)....must rent it and watch it on a larger screen sometime, (maybe I can find a copy at the library!)

Veepea Dec 28, 2011

It takes a while for the action to start, but once it does, it's quite interesting. I liked reading this piece of early SF. I wonder what the movie will be like..If you liked John Carter, you might like reading "Otherland" by Tad Williams. Part of the novels take place on John Carter's Mars.

s
ScorchingSun
Feb 25, 2010

A delightful little gem from the author of Tarzan of the Apes.
Perhaps a bit corny by our present day jaded standards, but think of this work as you would the classic sci-fi and horror movies, with nostalgia and affection.

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yellow_panda_326
Sep 16, 2015

yellow_panda_326 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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abornzin
Jun 07, 2012

"In one respect at least the Martians are a happy people, they have no lawyers."

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