Princess of Mars :John Carter, Warlord of Mars, Book 1 (John Carter, Warlord of Mars)
Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs
Publisher: I Books (March 1, 2005)
I forget how or when I first heard of John Carter, but I became more curious about him after he featured in extreme passing in the second League of Extraordinary Gentlemenseries. When I stumbled across this book in the old Wbooks store, I figured I’dgrab it because it’s something of a classic, and, well, it was cheap. Five bucks cheap. With an employee discount, it’s pretty hard to beat.
The basic plot is pretty straightforward – John Carter,
This is total pulp sci-fi at it’s finest. Science takes a backseat to plot and action, the hero is…well, HEROIC, and the bad guys are BAD.(And of course, lust after the women, because they’re BAD). It’s good, cheesy fun. It’s not deep. If you want a LeGuin-like story about the inner workings of a society, or an Asimovian-exploration of esoteric scientific principles, you will not like this book. If you want Flash Gordon-like action, complete with ray-guns, hover-bikes, arena duels, and so on, then you’ll probably enjoy this.
Also, if you are offended by a very 1916-view of the world,this book may not be for you. If you want female characters with equal screen-time and presence…you won’t get much of it. Sola, one of the female Tharks, manages to do some interesting thing, but Dejah Thoris is pretty much a McGuffin in skimpy clothing.
One total oddity: Carter (who narrates most of the book),mentions in the first chapter that he’s immortal. Well, ageless, anyway. This is never mentioned again, nor does it seem to have any particular bearing on the story. He’s just some guy who is so old, he can’t remember how old he is.It’s a pretty neat concept (I like the idea of a guy so old he can’t remember how old he is), but Burroughs ignores it after the first page of Chapter One.Which makes it both confusing, and feel totally unnecessary.
In the end, this is kind of a fun, pulpy book. Nothing deep or taxing…a dedicated reader could probably burn through it in an afternoon. But it’s a classic, and clearly had a big influence on the sci-fi genre as a whole(Star Wars certainly cribs some stuff from it). I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series at some point (or at least more of it).