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Barsoom or Bust!

The Martian Tales of Edgar Rice Burroughs:
1-A Princess of Mars (1912)
2-The Gods of Mars (1913)
3-The Warlord of Mars (1913)
4-Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1916)
5-The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
6-The Master Mind of Mars (1927)
7-A Fighting Man of Mars (1930)
8-Swords of Mars (1934)
9-Synthetic Men of Mars (1939)
10-Llana of Gathol (1941)
11-John Carter of Mars (1941-42)

The first five listed are in the public domain and are available as electronic texts from Project Gutenberg. The rest, except for the last volume, can be found at Project Gutenberg Australia.

The last volume contains the two stories “John Carter and the Giant of Mars” (1941) and “Skeleton Men of Jupiter,” (1942), both of which can be found separately at Project Gutenberg Australia.

There is some doubt as to the authorship of “John Carter and the Giant of Mars.” When it was first published, fans wrote in complaining that it could not have been written by Edgar Rice Burroughs because it was so different from his usual style. Later it was revealed that it had been written originally by Edgar’s son Jack to be printed and illustrated by him as a Wonder Book, and Edgar claimed to have revised it for magazine publication. To me, the very fact that the Martian rats in “Giant” are three-legged (unlike the “ulsios” in the previous novels) clearly shows that ERB had little to do with it.

Basalla, George. (2006). Civilized Life in the Universe: Scientists on Intelligent Extraterrestrials. Oxford University Press US. pp. 90-91.
Bozarth, David Bruce. A Barsoom Glossary (2006). Web.
Effinger, George Alec. “Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson,”in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1982. Print.
Lowell, Percival. Mars (1895). 100th anniversary HTML version. Web.

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4 Christopher Miller { 06.01.10 at 8:24 pm }

A well researched and thoughtfully written essay. Though I don’t think sci-fi novels are treated worse by Hollywood than other genres. In fact it’s my impression over the years that the best novels make the worst movies, and vice versa. E.g. Everything is Illuminated by J. S. Foer is one of the best books I’ve read and thumbs down the worst movie I’ve ever tired to watch. Is this because the better the novel, the more must be left out or changed to fit the movie?

5 Chad { 06.01.10 at 8:49 pm }

Thanks, that was a very engaging and well-written essay.

6 Paul { 06.02.10 at 9:49 am }

Fantastic essay!

7 Ray Busler { 06.02.10 at 6:08 pm }

A wonderfully entertaining essay. Thank you. I was enthralled by the portions dealing with Burroughs and the John Carter books. In regard to making any headway towards resolving the book vs. movie debate, well, bonne chance, mon ami. To a dedicated reader the movie is always inferior, and to a dedicated movie buff it doesn’t matter.

8 Redstone Science Fiction #1, June 2010 | Redstone Science Fiction { 06.06.10 at 7:24 pm }

[…] Barsoom or Bust!: The Lasting Influence of The Martian Tales by Henry Cribbs […]