⚣ [PDF] ✅ A Princess of Mars By Edgar Rice Burroughs ✰ – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk Edgar Rice Burroughs is the creator of Tarzan His other famous hero was John Carter an explorer who ends up living amazing adventures in Mars In the book A Princess of Mars we discover one of the scie Edgar Rice Burroughs is the creator of Tarzan His other famous hero was John Carter an explorer who ends up living amazing adventures in Mars In the book A Princess of Mars we discover one of the science fiction works that revolutionized the genre The Official Edition of a classic novel that can't be lacking in any scifi expert's library. Some years back David Bowie asked the musical question, Is there life on Mars? Had he read A Princess of Mars he might have known the answer.
Back in the early 60’s I fell in love. Not with a girl, (well, there were one or two cracks opened in that young heart, but we do not speak of that now) but with reading. And the brazen hussy that led me down that path was none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs. Of course there were others, all vying for my immature attention, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, H.G. Wells, Robert Heinlein, Jules Verne, and plenty more from that gang of idiots. I remember the glee I felt when a parcel would arrive, the soft packaging that sprinkled to the floor if you opened the pull-tag a little too energetically. Lift the treasure to your nose and inhale deeply. No, wiseass, no glue involved. No glue actually needed. Paperbacks, Ace and Ballantine mostly. This was the way I got one of my first scents of the lifetime of reading that awaited. It was intoxicating. Prime among the treasures to be found in those bags were the Barsoom novels of ERB. I followed the adventures of John Carter the way readers of a certain detective followed his exploits in issues of The Strand. Reading ERB as a kid was one of the best things about being a kid. So one might imagine the anticipation bubbling up when I learned that a film was in the offing. Good, bad or mediocre, this was must-see territory. And to prepare it seemed that, fifty years after having first encountered Barsoom through books, it was worth giving at least some of the books a second look.
Taylor Kitsch as John Carter in the film
John Carter, a soldier (Civil War veteran), mercenary, and apparently occasional miner, begins on Earth. He is trapped in a cave by hostile forces, when he wishes himself, pretty much, to Mars, the god of his profession. The film of course had to come up with a better excuse than that. He is taken prisoner by a group of Tharks, a race of six-limbed, twelve-to-fifteen foot tall green warriors (think taller, thinner, ancestors of Klingons), led by one of their less bloodthirsty sorts, a fellow named Tars Tarkas.
Tars Tarkas - from the film
TT was most impressed by JC’s fighting prowess and his ability to leap tall building in a single bound, a benefit of having muscles adapted to the much higher gravity on a different planet. (ERB’s hero appears twenty years before that Kal-el character, and Jerry Siegel has said that JC was indeed influential in the creation of that better known super-guy.) Tarkas and Carter find common cause eventually and thus begins a beautiful friendship. TT had put a guard dog (actually a Shetland-size, many-tusked critter called a calot ) in charge of JC. But as the locals treat their gigantic ferocious domestic critters rather harshly, it turned out to be receptive to JC’s kinder treatment, so we add a loyal-to-death pet, with the blood-curdling name Woola for our hero. Can the girl be far behind? Not a chance.
Woola - from the film. What a cutie!
After the Tharkian horde does battle with a race of human-like sorts, they take a prisoner, a female. Dejah Thoris is princess of the city-state of Helium (and no she does not speak with a silly-high voice) and of the book title, and is notable for her regal bearing, smokin’ looks and courage under duress. (The film pads her resume with some science credits) Having established his warrior cred by kicking several Tharkian butts, JC has some wiggle room among Thark society and manages to learn a fair bit. He is, naturally, curious about the new resident.
Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris - from the film
Oh, there is one other item missing from the checklist, the baddie. Well, there are several, a crude Thark leader, monsters aplenty, but most of all a professional sneak-thief-liar-betrayer of a Thark named Sarkoja, who does all she can to foil TT and JC in whatever they might want to do. All she lacks is a broom and some striped socks. [The film includes her, but substitutes a different evil-doer for many of the story’s later intrigues.]
Ok, so this is not exactly great literature. Sweden will not be calling any time soon. Carter finds himself in a seemingly endless series of battles, large and small. People are captured. People fight. People flee. Friends help friends. Baddies behave badly. No one really changes much. Oh, they rise in rank and esteem, and prove their mettle, and some character is revealed in time, but really, nothing is told about these people that we did not know very early on. There is silliness and many shortcuts are taken. ERB makes use of deus ex machina so much he must have had a mechanic on call. Carter learns that a large amount of Martian communications occurs via telepathy and bingo, he is telepathic too. What luck! Also, Martian language has devolved to mostly a single tongue. No, really. And he learns it in a twinkling, with the help of a kindly female Thark named Sola. Whenever someone needs a rescue there is always a rescuer, either now or eventually. The cavalry comes riding over the hill a bit too often to avoid eye-rolling. The fights are pretty much pro-forma, with almost mandatory nods to the honor and skill of the thousands of opponents, after, of course, Carter knocks them out or kills them with a single blow to the chin. Puh-leez.
Edgar Rice Burroughs - image from Britannica
In between, Burroughs offers bits and pieces of his vision of life on Mars. We learn how Thark children are joined with parents, get some info on Barsoomian visions of death and afterlife, consider a bit the problem of scarce air, and may wonder at the ancient human ruins now occupied by other species. They have some nifty tech on Barsoom as well, having discovered a special 9th ray of light that is used for energy. Radium is a useful power source as well. Airships of all sizes speed about, but seem to function mostly as boats with negative draft. There will be swashbuckling.
There are some elements in the book that do not travel well through the years. The women have some wonderful qualities but there is little equality to be found. Also, slavery is still a very active element of Martian society, and while ERB shows sundry characters shackled to those chains, and does his best to free those, he does not seem all that upset about the institution. In one commentary on communistic elements of Tharkian society, ERB notes
Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common.This was published in 1912, so a quote like this might not have stuck out so much back then. Of course there are many much more ancient items that seem quaint today, such as
You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.I guess ownership is in the eye of the beholder.
Social systems seem to be widely of the royal persuasion, although combat figures large in determining leadership in some groups. And just as girls have been led to hope for a prince to come to the rescue, so here our hero is not panting after any ordinary female. Dejah is a bona fide, card-carrying princess.
Then, there are some elements that might stand up rather well. Carter applies his knowledge of animals to persuade the locals to treat their beasties much better. The moral superiority of races is not at all determined by color, or in this case, even sentient species. Honesty, motherhood, and I am certain that if the ingredients grew there, apple pie would come in for some ERB support. Courage is also a highly valued trait. Physical prowess in battle is paramount here.
Frank Schoonover's cover illustration for the first book version-from Wikipedia
Ok, so bottom line. This is a very dated book. It is, after all, over one hundred years old. It contains antiquated, sometimes offensive notions. Many of the characters are pretty thinly drawn. But this was not intended to be a thoughtful, adult novel. It is pulp fiction, literally, as Barsoom made its first public appearance in All-Story Magazine in 1912, and its focus is on three things, action, action and action. Burroughs was appalled that people got paid to write the trash that appeared in such publications and said, “I could write stories just as rotten.” If that is ok with you, then A Princess of Mars is a fun read, a buddy movie with a bit of love interest, (no real sex, although a fair bit of nakedness) a lot of fighting, capturing and being captured and escaping, a nifty vision of a faraway place. Overall, good fun. It helps to be a ten-year-old boy. Look at those cavemen go.
The home page for Edgar Rice Burroughs, the corporation, where you will learn that
A Princess of Mars was originally published as “Under the Moons of Mars” under the pseudonym Norman Bean in All-Story Magazine as a six-part serial, February through July 1912.He had first submitted it to All Star as Dejah Thoris, Martian Princess
You can read A Princess of Mars on Gutenberg
Here is another, hyper-texted version, which includes links to other such volumes in the Barsoom series.
Or listen to an audio version here
10/25/16 -National Geographic is producing a documentary series about our favorite red-tinted neighbor (no, not the lady across the way who got too much sun. Put those binoculars away NOW). Coverage in the latest issue includes a whole passel of things Martian. Enjoy. Mars: Inside the High-Risk, High-Stakes Race to the Red Planet
From the August 2017 National Geographic - This Is What a Martian Looks Like—According to Carl Sagan - By Natasha Daly
Painting by Douglas Chaffe - from the above NatGeo article 2.5 stars. I know, I know. I can hear you out there saying “2.5 stars for one of the ALL TIME PULP SF CLASSICS and looking at me like I just made a mess on the floor.
Rest assured, I'm not trying to drop gastronomical leftovers in the PULP SF punch bowl and my rating does not indicate a dislike for the book. As mentioned below, I was probably between 3 and 4 stars on the book EXCEPT FOR ONE THING THAT DROVE ME BAT SHIT NUTSO. So please let me explain my rating before you begin planning to hoist me on a very large petard.
In order to give my comments below some context, I want to have the following on record before I begin:
1. I am a fan of sword and sorcery, sword and planet, pulp SF and planetary romances and so this book is certainly in my strike zone. Thus, I don’t feel like I need to cut this book any slack in my rating as I might for a book that recognized may just not be “my kind of story.”
2. I have not read a ton of the specific sub-genre “pulp planetary romance” of which the Barsoom series is the quintessential example. However, if you add in sword and sorcery and the other sub-genres mentioned above that deal with the same major plot elements (larger than life hero, exotic locations, strange creatures/aliens in a “pulpy” wrapper than I have read (and LOVED) quite a bit.
3. I have only read two other works by Burroughs, At the Earth's Core and Tarzan of the Apes and I didn’t love either one of them so it is certainly possible that me and E.R. are not as compatible as I would like (though I am not ready to give up on our relationship yet as you will see below).
BRIEF PLOT SUMMARY
John Carter was an officer in the confederate army during the Civil War and is seemingly immortal in so far as he explains that he has no memory of childhood and has always appeared to be approximately 30 years old. Through an unexplained phenomenon he is transported to Mars where the weaker gravity gives him great strength and agility. From there the story is mostly a travelogue as Carter meets the various tribes of Martians and we learn their background. While mostly a travelogue, Carter does get involved in a political struggle among various Martian factions as a result of his becoming enamored with Dejah Thoris (the titular Martian Princess).
THOUGHTS ON A PRINCESS OF MARS
On the plus side, despite my lack of real positive ratings on the Burroughs books I have read, I think his writing is decent and I do not have any real problem with his prose. I say this not to imply that he was technically skilled so much as that he wrote well in the pulp style that his stories called for (i.e., flowery, descriptive language and an overly melodramatic tone). In that context, I think Burroughs' writing was just fine.
I also like the character of John Carter who is a true blue virtuous hero in the grand tradition of Golden Age SF. I also liked the various Martian cultures and strange animals he encounters and thought the world-building was pretty good to very good and certainly interesting enough to get me to come back and try another one of the Barsoom stories before I decide how I feel about the series.
So for, I would have been squarely between 3 stars and 4 stars. I don’t think 5 stars was ever in the cards for this one as there was no element that reached the level of either Howard’s Conan or Wagner’s Kane, both of whom I hold in very high regard despite what my review of Darkness Weaves may indicate about Conan's inferiority to Kane (I would note that those results are still being validated).
So what brings the book down to 2.5 stars. The answer is simple, there was one aspect of the story that drove me ABSOLUTELY GARY BUSEY CRAAAAAZY:
This groan inducing aspect was John Carter having to describe his own AWESOMENESS because Burroughs chose to tell the story in the FIRST PERSON. I see this as a fundamental flaw because it meant that all of the wonderful, larger-than-life descriptions of Carter had to come from, uh, his own mouth. Sorry, NOT GOOD!!!
Here are a just a few quotes from the book that illustrate what I am referring to:
“….[t]he following of a sense of duty has always been a fetich of mine throughout my life; which may account for the honors bestowed upon me by three republics, and the decorations and friendships of an old and powerful emperor and several lesser kings.”.
“My mind is evidently so constituted that I am subconsciously forced into the path of duty without recourse to tiresome mental processes. However that may be, I have never regretted that cowardice is not optional for me.”
“To a Red Martian, escape by this path would have appeared impossible, but to me, with my earthly strength and agility, it seemed already accomplished.”
“During the day, I was pitted against first men and then beasts, but as I was armed with a long-sword and always outclassed my adversary in agility and generally in strength as well, it proved by child’s play to me.”
“So with the cunning of a madman, I backed into the corner….”
“There is, there must be a way, and John Carter, who has fought his way through a strange world for love of you will find it.”
..It just made me want to scream at him:
Now I had no problem with the sentiment expressed by the above quotes as all of them are classic pulp hero language. My problem was that due to the first person narrative Carter was forced to say all of these things about HIMSELF. I just found it to be the wrong style for this over the top hero tale and it hurt my head to have to listen to him explain his ultimate badassery while trying to avoid sounding completely pompous. Thus, I like the story concept and the world building and even teh character of John Carter. I just didn’t like John Carter loving him so much John Carter.
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was not the book that transformed Burroughs into a publishing success, that honor belongs to Tarzan of the Apes.
However, this was the book, published in 1912 that effectively began a career that would change the face of American literature in various genres from then on. The stamp of Burroughs influence can be seen in the works of Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury and countless others as well as film and television. Flash Gordon used the Barsoom series as a template and Star Wars was heavily influenced in turn by the Flash Gordon serial.
From the humble origins of pulp magazines came a rich series of adventure, romance and swashbuckling good fun. This is the story of how John Carter was mysteriously transported to Mars and how he then engaged in one superhuman adventure after another. Not much message or provocative literature here, just a well written good narrative.
The books is full of familiar cliches: it created most of them. I am also having a great trouble between classifying this book between fantasy and scifi. As I am not the only one with such problem a new genre was created dubbed sword and planet.
Coming back to the plot, an American Civil War veteran and a perfect southern gentleman (he calls himself thus, so who am I to call him differently?) John Carter ended up on Mars, of all places - straight from an Arizona desert, minus all his cloths. Practically upon his arrival he became a prisoner of large war-loving Martians.
Being best at everything he puts his mind to, he beat one of the most obnoxious aliens and gained some measure of respect. Numerous adventures including romantic ones follow. Speaking about romance I kept recalling an old saying If you must fall in love, fall in love with a queen - because this is exactly what John Carted did (see the title). I told you, the guy was perfect.
This thing - him being perfect - is the only significant complaint I can make. At least when it comes to him being stronger than larger Martians there was an explanation scientific enough for me to accept: the difference in gravitational fields between good old Earth and red Mars means earthlings must have stronger bones and muscles.
The writing quality is mostly very good, the story is never boring. This is the second best known series of the King of Pulp Fiction; the best known series of him is so famous the main character grew out of his books to live an independent life. I am talking about Tarzan obviously.
So this is a classic book, it passed a test of time, is still very entertaining and very influential. Four stars despite my grumblings above. Please ignore recent pitiful attempt by Disney to make a movie out of it. They failed miserably. Old-school pulpy goodness. Fun classic full of manly adventures and good cheesy romance between an awesomely manly man John Carter (did I mention manly?) and a scantily-clad beautiful (and at necessary times appropriately helpless) princess Dejah Thoris among the red landscapes of
And let's not forget John Carter's favorite Barsoomian dog Woola. Who in my head, thanks to the otherwise forgettable movie, will always look like this insanely adorable menacing monster-cutie - SQUEEEEEE!!!!What's not to love about Burroughs' classic? Well, yeah, it's chock-full of machismo, with a generous helping of sexism, a touch of colonialism attitude, a bit of stereotyping, and with mostly wooden characters
Dear Santa, if I'm REALLY REALLY NICE this year, can I pretty please get a Woola puppy for Christmas??? Please???
Doesn't it sound awful? I kid, I kid, Barsoom fans. I actually enjoyed this book, believe it or not. I mean, we get a dying red planet, an atmosphere plant (!), red men, green men, Jeddaks, princesses, and of course WOOLA!!!!
A Princess of Mars may not always appeal to the modern reader (thanks to changing values in the last hundred years!), and yet once you start reading it you realize that it's addictive like crack and seems to have aged alright, like decent wine. Burroughs' portrayal of
Your story may be neither deep nor profound, but it's an entertaining classic, and I still love you. I'm not saying I didn't like it, but what in the hell was that?!
Okay, I kinda am saying I didn't like it, but I didn't HATE it either.
A Princess of Mars is a forerunner in the sci-fi genre and as many of them suffer from ignorant science, so suffers this one. Modes of transportation are silly, alien races are simplistic at best, etc etc
(I know I'm nitpicking).
On the other hand, one has to be impressed with the guesswork a fictional novelist made regarding living conditions on another planet, considering he was writing at a time prior to space exploration. Hell, this was written a mere nine years after the first flight by man.
The real reason this didn't resonate with me had to do with the story's hero, John Carter. He's just too good at everything to be interesting. Oh yeah, he can do that, too? Ho-hum
I found myself saying at about the mid-way point
a point at which I was still trying to suss out how he'd actually arrived on Mars.
The writing also suffers from stiff formality. The rigidity of the language Burroughs' used lacked elegance and deflated exciting action scenes. However, there was plenty of action and that alone kept me turning pages.
All the same, the errors mounted. Burroughs made the mistake of giving the game away. Use of the diary style of narration is a technique in fiction that should never have happened. If the hero of the story is writing about his adventures ten, twenty, whatever number of years after it all went down, it completely gives away the fact that he lived to tell the tale and thus takes the wind out of tension's sails. Present tense for action, always present tense! A SYNOPSIS OF THE BOOK A PRINCESS OF MARS!
John Carter travels to Barsoom to live, love, and fight amongst the Green Men, the Red Men, and the White Apes! his Earthman physique combined with Barsoomian gravity means he's incredibly strong and can jump like a giant-sized super-grasshopper!
John Carter arrives there nekkid! everyone is nekkid! they only wear weapons and ornaments! the Red Race knows what Earthers look like and they think all the clothing we wear is apalling and disgusting! i agree!
John Carter is transported to Barsoom from Frontier America directly after a bloody conflict with the dread and savage Red Man (in this case, the Apache)
and on Barsoom, his adventures involve the alternately warlike and peaceful Red Men, who he views as the closest thing to human. coincidence?
Green Men do not believe in love or friendship or marriage or parenthood. they only laugh when another creature is in its death-agonies. they are a war-like people, to say the least. they also share everything. apparently their customs came from an ancient society based in communalism
dare i say, communism? coincidence?
The Princes of Mars in question is a two-dimensional creation: in love with John Carter except for those predictable moments when predictable misunderstandings occur, a Red Princess of the city-state Helium, beautiful, haughty, brave, a woman of her word, etc, etc. her name is Dejah Thoris.
Burroughs writes clean prose that is easy going down and surprisingly modern in its smooth, no-frills style. this is the opposite of a laborious read. the narrative is perfectly straightforward and the infodumps were relatively pain-free. the characters are enjoyably cartoonish. i read this on my droid over the course of maybe a half-dozen bus rides. a charming experience.
the novel features a cute Barsoomian dog-thing - my favorite character!
A SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE JOHN CARTER!
John Carter travels to Mars to live, love, and fight amongst the Green Men and the Red Men! his Earthman physique combined with Martian gravity means he's incredibly strong and can jump like a giant-sized super-grasshopper!
John Carter arrives there fully clothed! and then he changes into something more revealing! The Red Race also prefer revealing attire!
John Carter spends an inordinately long and tiresome period of time in Frontier America that is nonsensical and bored me to near-sleep. this inordinately lengthy sequence features conflicts with some Native American tribe, some jail time, and some character bits for a completely non-essential supporting character. on Mars, he comes across the Red Men, who actually are not red at all but look like they spend too much time at some cheap tanning salon. they should be called the Orangey Men.
Green Men are monstrous humanoids. their children are adorable little widgets.
there is a Princess of Mars and she is perhaps the most three-dimensional character in the film: a scientist and a kick ass warrior. she is played by Lynn Collins, who was strangled by a serial killer in the first season of True Blood.
the film is co-written by Michael Chabon! what! the film is directed by Pixar house director Andrew Stanton. i watched a sneak peek of this at Pixar itself, after indulging in a few free drinks at one of the Pixar bars. i got drunk!
the film features a cute Martian dog-thing - my favorite character! Lately I've been in the mood for sci-fi novels and I've been meaning to read this cult classic, published in 1912. This is old, and certainly not the usual deep-minded sci-fi work, it has more adventure elements, mixing pulp fantasy and western genre, the progenitor to modern star wars. I have the impression that this book didn't age as ideally and is kinda outdated but still is an interesting reading experience. At the same time, it is kinda wacky and bizarre, but fun and will get you hooked.
I would like this book better if I'd read it when I was younger, maybe around 12 years old, because then I was more in the mood for these kinds of adventures. Most of the narrative is focused on describing numerous ventures that the main character, John Carter has on Mars/ Barsoom. It is heavily action-packed and most of the plot focuses on combats, running away, plotting of running away and the circle seems to be going on and on forever, and at times it feels like this would be much better off as a comic or a movie. It has elements of colonial fiction - a white guy comes to Barbarian tribes and saves them. A part of the plot focuses on a cheesy romance between Dejah Thoris and John Carter. Characters as well as their relationship are kinda underdeveloped and somewhat shallow, but charming. John Carter is a mix of Chuck Norris/Indiana Jones/Superman, a humble-brag type of guy with an odd edge. Naturally excellent warrior, brave unbeatable alpha male with a number of special abilities due to his physicality functioning differently in the atmosphere and gravity on Mars which causes him to have kind of animal strength, being able to jump high in the air or punch someone to death with no sweat. A similar explanation as Superman's extraordinary strength will have decades after (with the same blind spots also). He always tries to do the right thing, basically does chivalry on Mars, and saves a damsel in distress from foul creatures, a tale as old as time. His unbeatability was somewhat annoying, but he does a good job of being the archetypal male hero, as he never ceases to dismiss the call for action. I liked some of his eccentric elements - a sense that he didn't even belong on Earth in the first place (I relate John) and being old and at the same time forever young. Dejah Thoris is the princess of Mars and most physically beautiful and attractive (and naked) woman ever and doesn't display many characteristics beside sparks of learned helplessness (hi passive role, not a woman hero we been hoping for but presumable for time) and she is part of most culturally advance tribe on Mars, red Martians.
Her face was oval and beautiful in the extreme, her every feature was finely chiseled and exquisite, her eyes large and lustrous and her head surmounted by a mass of coal black, waving hair, caught loosely into a strange yet becoming coiffure. Her skin was of a light reddish copper color, against which the crimson glow of her cheeks and the ruby of her beautifully molded lips shone with a strangely enhancing effect.
My favorite characters were Sola and Tars Tarkas and their sad story. Sola and Tars' species, Green Martians or Tharks are savage, ignorant, with torture as greatest satisfaction, and they don't believe in the value of emotions with harsh genetic selection in which they breed species for war. That is the image of a dystopian society that disregards feminine values in the greatest extreme - connectedness, tenderness, empathy, friendship, love. They value only the power, strength and violence, worldview that leads to Hobbes's war of all against all''. That makes them not more than bloodthirst animal-like creatures dependent on their instincts, repressing not only the soul but spirit quality also.
A people without written language, without art, without homes, without love; the victim of eons of the horrible community idea. Owning everything in common, even to your women and children, has resulted in your owning nothing in common. You hate each other as you hate all else except yourselves.
In a Jungian sense, this race is an example of a collective under the complex of Ares, the god of war, interestingly also called Mars, where all sentiments and passions convert to thirst for combat, power and destruction. Sola and then Tars transcended their nature by choosing to be loving and compassionate creatures building upon (view spoiler)[ the sacrifice of Sola's mother, Tars never forgotten love of his life. Their transformation ultimately gave Barsoom its peace, and Tars displays the best (and only) character development. (hide spoiler)]
Transcript from the John Carter sessions
(from the files of Dr. Wm (Bill) Loney, Doctor of Psychiatry)
Carter: So where were we last time, doc?
Doctor: We were talking about representations of things that are ideals for you, and how they are expressed in imaginative fantasies.
Carter: What was that?
Doctor: (sighs) You were telling me about Barsoom and your adventures there.
that's right. I traveled there, you know? It's Mars, actually.
Doctor: How did you know it was Mars?
Carter: There's no other explanation
Did you know they discovered an 8th and 9th ray there? Our rainbow has ROYGBIV, but they have two others.
Doctor: And what range of wavelengths along the continuous spectra of electromagnetic radiation would they associate with those rays?
I think it was #8 and #9
following Violet, which is #7, of course.
Doctor: Is Violet important? Associated with a female name, perhaps?
Carter: No, I told you the woman's name is Dejah Thoris. I am her betrothed. But it's a tragic love story, and here I am back on Earth
She is my princess Dejah Thoris, and I am her greatest warrior.
Doctor: Anagrammatic for other jihads?
Carter: No other woman came close to her perfection. I have never seen a finer example of womanhood.
Doctor: I seem to recall you saying that she was hatched from an egg. If I may speak abreast of certain delicate issues, was she lacking any particular physical attributes common to women?
Carter: (thinks for a moment) She can not tell a lie
And she lives with honor in everything she does.
Doctor: The unattainable finally achieved, and then irrevocably torn asunder. But tell me more about your heroic feats - you described your physical prowess as being somewhat godlike.
Carter: On Earth, I'm just an exemplary soldier. It's due to my many years of experience in fighting. But on Mars, I am the finest fighting specimen around. I think it's due to the weaker gravity and thinner atmosphere, but I can jump higher and move more quickly than the native inhabitants.
Doctor: Your glories epitomize physical perfection. Are there other, similarly awesome qualities you embody?
I'd like to say I'm smarter too, but I tend to act first and think later. If only I'd remembered sooner about (view spoiler)[the nine tones (hide spoiler)] It can be said at the outset that Burroughs was not a very deep nor a very disciplined writer. His disdain for research often shows in his work, and it does here; and in his science fiction (he would write voluminously in this genre --this novel sparked a series, and he produced two other popular sci-fi series as well) consistent and well-thought world building wasn't his strength. For instance, his Martian children incubate in eggs and hatch only when they're able to eat solid food --but his Martian women have physiques like those of human women, busts and all. If there were ever a writer who overused coincidence in plotting, it would be Burroughs, and his plot developments and devices can strain credibility; science fiction writers of that day were quite taken with astral projection, but John Carter's ability to, in effect, simply will himself to the Red Planet, as a means of space travel, is definitely a stretch.
For all that, though, his work continues to fascinate readers. Partly, this is because of the enduring appeal of his theme of primitivism or feralism, of which Tarzan, of course, is the archetypal example, but which constantly reappears in his work: the saga of a scion of modern high- tech, regimented civilization, transported to a primitive, dangerous world where he can be free to be his own boss, but must meet physical challenges in order to survive. And his heroes earn our respect, because they're not egoistic brutes who revel in a chance to be predators in a jungle; rather, John Carter and the others are instinctively moral men who model what Burrough's generation thought of as masculine virtues (which actually aren't gender-specific!) --courage, loyalty, a sense of honor, determination, generosity of spirit. (Of course, they're also larger-than-life heroes with strength, ingenuity, and competence.) This gives his work a dimension of meaning, both as an implicit criticism of a stultifying and constraining social order that tries to reduce us to cogs in a constantly smooth-running machine and as a positive endorsement of qualities we recognize as worth honoring and imitating, that still resonates with readers today, and I think always will. He's also a master of pacing, and of exciting adventure that can keep you turning the pages; and the broad canvas of his picture of Mars --an arid, dying world balkanized among a plethora of warring tribes and kingdoms, violently struggling for survival-- has an undeniable imaginative power that grips the reader.