The first three books of the series are in fact a complete trilogy. One that has endured for a century, and rightfully so, but if action and adventure novels are common enough, what is the lasting appeal of these books? Simple, Honour & loyalty. Essential qualities of character. I am finding in the home brood that the internet generation are missing, and lacking, these seeds. Books like these, themes like these, have shaped me. Read them.
Okay and it’s fun. Hot chicks, swords, wild landscapes and wilder humanoids. You gotta love it.
The Mars series of Burroughs are classic adventure novels and their setting on the dying Red Planet allows Burroughs to move away from the racialist dogma found in the Tarzan series. While falling into a classic paradigm of the great hero who overawes and out-competes the “natives”, it contains such moments of great humanity, even for people who have four arms and tusks, that I always find it uplifting. The style of Burroughs’ adventure writing has always appealed to me and his stories create a living world without devolving into anthropological essay. I must confess that his love of glory, honor and indomitable human spirit, while seeming archaic and filled with machismo, are always refreshing to someone who lives in this post-modern world.
So, foregoing any attempt at objectivity, A Princess of Mars is one of the greatest books of all time and is an undoubted classic of World Literature! OK, so that is putting it too strongly. What it really is, is a cracking adventure yarn that never stops driving forward. Burroughs introduces his characters and environments in clear, concise, but evocative, prose and then gets down to the action.
On Barsoom, everything is writ on a large scale: Carter is the bravest, handsomest, strongest and most courageous of heroes; Dejah Thoris the most incomparably beautiful and loyal woman imaginable; Woola is the most faithful and unfailing of pets; the villains (of which there are many) are all more evil and degraded than the last. No half-measures here! Yes, it’s pulp-fiction; yes, it’s melodrama; but let it sweep you away and it’s likely that you’ll be carrying a little piece of Mars with you forever.