Thoughts on: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

March 8, 2012

Article first published as Book Review: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs on Blogcritics.

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs is a science-fiction book published in 1912. This is Burroughs first published book and stars John Carter.

  • 160 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • ISBN: 0345331389

My rating for A Princess of Mars – 3

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A Princess of Mars is Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first novel, while the novel is good, it feels like a first novel and I’m glad Burroughs continued to write and get better each time.

What impressed me about the book was how imaginative it was compared to other science-fiction stories of the time. While Jules Verne concentrated on the science aspect of his stories (see my review of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) and H.G. Wells’ science fiction stories were more about social commentary (my thoughts on The Invisible Man), Burroughs concentrated more on the story aspect, but instead of taking place on earth, he set it on Mars.

The book is an escapable fantasy, and enjoyable tale which, if set on earth, could have been easily been classified as pulp fiction. A Princess of Mars is very imaginative with lots of action, alien culture, romance and chivalry.

While I certainly enjoyed many of Burroughs’ later novels (Tarzan of the Apes comes immediately to mind), this book is on a different level entirely. While I found Tarzan of the Apes to be complex, involving and even philosophical, A Princess of Mars is a silly joyride, full of action with wonderful narrative.

I know what you’re saying to yourself: “he read this just to capitalize on the release of the new John Carter movie”.
And I’d say: “good observation, Captain Obvious”.

I did read this book because the movie is coming out, and I hope you do too. I’m glad Disney decided to rejuvenate this old series, bring Burroughs back into the spotlight and have a new generation of readers enjoy his tales.

So tell me, what is the last book you read because of a movie?

John Carter, a Civil War Confederate veteran, finds himself projected to Mars. Discovering he has enormous strength and agility due to the lower force of gravity, Carter rises to a high position in the Tharks tribe. The Tharks are nomadic green Martians who have six limbs.

Soon the Tharks capture the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris who is a member of the red Martians which are a humanoid race. The red Martians live in city-states and control Mars’ canals and agriculture. John Carter saves Dejah Thoris but becomes embroiled in Martian politics.

Eventually, Carter leads a horde of Tharks against Zodanga, a city-state of the red Martians and historic enemy of Helium. This act of valor wins John Carter the hand of Dejah Thoris and he becomes Prince of Helium. The happy couple lives joyfully for nine years when a breadown of the Atmosphere Plant threatens to destroy all life on Mars. Carter uses a telepathic code to enter the factory with engineers who can restore it to working conditions. However, Carter soon becomes asphyxiated and awaken back on Earth wandering what happened to his beloved and his people.

Great price on this book in paper or FREE in electronic Format
through the Man of la Book Affil­i­ate Account

More books by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Zohar – Man of la Book
Disclaimer – I got this book for free.

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One Comment

  • Jonathan March 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

    A year or two ago I read all three of Borroughs’ original John Carter series back to back to back. Turns out that was a mistake, as the pulpy goodness wears on you after that much inundation. Taken one at a time, however, they’re a nice jaunt through other-worldly lands of derring-do.

    To answer your question, I suppose technically the last book I read because of a movie was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but that was just because they were offering review copies of the movie tie-in re-release, not because I read the book in preparation for rhe movie. Still haven’t seen the flick yet.

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