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John Carter… of Mars!

December 9, 2011

Whatever type of speculative fiction you prefer, you can’t deny that Edgar Rice Burroughs has most likely influenced your favorite writers in some way, even if only indirectly. Well, you could try to deny it, but you’d be wrong.

Burroughs’ “sword and planet” tales of the Civil War veteran, John Carter, who is transported through the mists of time to ancient Mars, were the first of their kind.  When I read the first John carter book, A Princess of Mars, at age 12 I thought it was a little too strange and far out for my tastes.  At the time I mistakenly thought that there should be some kind of clear separation between fantasy and science fiction. While I haven’t re-read it since then, I remember enough of the story to appreciate just how wrong I was. Since it was the first series of stories of it’s kind, Burroughs didn’t have to worry about his audience’s pre-conceptions. It’s like putting chocolate and peanut butter together before people realized you could have them separately.

I have high hopes for the forthcoming John Carter film, which looks like it’s been mostly adapted from A Princess of Mars, even if the reason for removing ‘Mars’ from the title makes positively no sense.



Semi-interesting factoid about me: The copy of A Princess of Mars I had at 12 years old is the first book I ever had that showed a woman’s nipples on the front cover. (But you can’t really fault them for putting clothes on the actors for the film, can you?)

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