The Gods of Mars

BOOK 1: A Princess of Mars  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Gods of Mars   description:

1886. John Carter, forever 30, returns to Mars and again fights enemies with green Tars Tarka and red Kantos Kan. In ‘Heaven’, Golden Cliffs, ‘Goddess’ Issus, cannibal, claims immortal divinity and supremacy of black Omeans and white Therns, to enslave and eat pilgrims – green or red. John is trapped, as is wife Dejah Thoris, son Carthoris. To stay or leave means death.

gods of marsBOOK 2: The Gods of Mars   4 STARS

Definitely an interesting follow up from the first book. John Carter makes it back to Mars, but not the Mars he remembers. Entering “Heaven” he discovers the cruel lie both the green and red martians have been fed, leading them forever to their doom. It was nonstop adventure, one bad event after the next that leads John Carter to places no man had ever seen before and lived to tell others. All because nothing on 2 planets will stop John Carter from finding his Dejah Thoris, and it’s just the greatest romance I’ve ever read about. I love that Burroughs doesn’t do what so many do, drag out whether 2 people will be together, cause endless problems in the relationship, instead they love each other without end. And John Carter admits, rather amusingly, that he isn’t a ladies man, which does lead to him missing the obvious and getting himself in a lot of trouble which only adds to the bad situations he gets himself in. Yet, he doesn’t mind talking about his undying love for Dejah Thoris, and how he would rather die than live without her. While this may sound girly in its’ way, it in no way diminishes his warrior image, and the fact he is the greatest fighter in a world of warring people. Plus it had one hell of a cliffhanger, which will definitely have you snatching up the next book wanting to know how it all turns out.

My one complaint, which obviously isn’t that big, is the writing style felt altered in this one. It didn’t flow as well at times, and it almost felt like Burroughs was trying too hard with the King James kind of wording.

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A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs  description:

Suddenly projected to Mars, John Carter found himself captive of the savage green men of Thark. With him was Dejah Thoris, lovely Princess of Helium. And between them and rescue lay a thousand miles of deadly enemies and unknown dangers.

mars princessBOOK 1: A Princess of Mars   5 STARS

Burroughs is my all time favorite author and going back and reading this, the first book I ever did read by him, I’m once more reminded why I fell in love with his writing. His style just draws me in, and makes what could just be another simple scifi story something so much grander. The story being told in first person by John Carter is actually told years after the events, and so he’s often able to give a more inclusive perspective than he would have if he was telling it right as the events were unfolding, but it still has the personal feel to it and we get to be surprised at times just as John Carter would have been. There are also things like how he ended up on Mars that he freely admits he has no clue how it transpired. It just happened and he just rolled with the punches. The fact that Burroughs doesn’t mind having an inexplicable experience be a major part of the story gives it a magical quality in the way that you just accept that these sort of things are possible, and you don’t question them but instead hope such might possibly happen to you.

The building of the world is also a great aspect. The Martians are both more advanced than us, and in many ways more barbaric. It’s an interesting dichotomy that you don’t come across often in the scifi world, and does make this stand apart. They are a warring people, but with the hopes of someday being more, and John Carter becomes a big part of that. He’s a warrior in every sense of the term, but he also holds himself up to be a good and kind gentleman. This is shown in things like the treatment of his animals, they become loyal to him in a way they never were to the green men. Dejah Thoris is also a great character, because she’s very willful and sure of herself. She isn’t some fainting princess who needs some man to come save her, she did need help, but she’s very strong and brave on her own, and is willing to do whatever it takes to survive, but also looks death in the face without fear. Honestly, every character in this book is very distinct and intriguing. You don’t have any cookie cutter alien encounters, or a lot of generic action hero sequences. This is just an incredible adventure, and it’s good to know that it continues on in several more books.

Is Fiction Just Fiction?

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. -Ernest Hemingway

I’ve never been a big fan of this quote, it’s a little macabre for my tastes, but it is accurate. Sure some books may just be fluff, but I say even that is a reflection of the writer. The whole reason I bring this up is because some people consider fiction something frivolous, something that can be discounted because it isn’t real. Yet, it is a real view into that writer, and their own view on the world in ways that perhaps reading their biography or even actually talking to them in person can’t reveal. It’s a reflection of the good and the bad within them. While talking to someone about Edgar Rice Burroughs, because that’s just what I do, they said they might read his biography because they liked to study people, but there’s no reason to read the fiction he wrote. However, from his writing you do see much of the man himself. I always said the Moon Man series made me want to be a better American, and that’s not surprising in the fact that Burroughs was clearly a bit of a patriot himself. In his late 60’s, Burroughs was actually at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked, and afterwards petitioned the government to allow him to help in some way because he was actually too old to serve. He then became the oldest American war correspondent during WWII. He didn’t have to do such, but his own beliefs led him to help the best he could, and these views are reflected in his writings. Which I find a bit ironic that his most famous character is English, and I think the only main character of any book that wasn’t American. At least I haven’t come across any other non-american lead that I recall.

More so, even beyond seeing into a piece of the writer themselves, good literature should change you. People often see it as only a bit of escape, but it should also allow you to return to reality with a new point of view. Something to take away and allow you to approach the world anew. Sarra Cannon asked on Facebook what book we could read over and over, to which I replied, “The Study series by Maria V. Snyder… I love Poison Study the best… but once I read it I have to read the rest of the books as well… there’s just something about it that keeps me going back… Yelena just goes through absolute hell and she still comes out strong and still is able to come to trust people and even fight for those she should probably hate because she knows what is right and what needs to be done… and that’s just hopeful in a way…” I was insanely thrilled when Sarra Cannon actually replied, “This post makes me so happy. I love that you can take away something so powerful from books.” But the fact is, we should all take something like this from books. Like I mentioned before, some books may just be a bit of fluff, but any book that draws your attention, and even manages to bring you back again and again, there has to be more too it. There’s something that connects with you, and causes you to react and that’s what makes it even more real than ever. It is the reader that makes it real, and what makes fiction so valuable.

Why Edgar Rice Burroughs is my Favorite Author…

There are very few things in life that I regret… I find that regret is useless and I rarely want to change anything because the small things don’t matter and the big things are what most likely led me to where I am today and I rather like where I am today… but the things that do plague me tend to be missed moments to say something awesome… usually the awesome thing I should’ve said comes to me later… but in this one instance I knew what I was going to say… I was in one of my English classes and we had a man visiting the class, he was some important guy in the college… I have no clue what his job is though… and of course he was asking us all what our name was and our major and who our favorite author was… and I was so excited… I mean nothing makes me happier than getting to tell people how awesome old ERB is… and so I’m waiting my turn and everyone else’s answer is “I don’t know who my favorite author is”… which is just craziness… but still, perhaps that is why by the time he got to me he decided to give up on asking that… I was crushed but I decided to push on and say hey I have a favorite author it’s Edgar Rice Burroughs… but then a tragic thing happened… before I could explain why, my teacher jumped in surprised that I hadn’t named Sir Arthur Conan Doyle apparently because of a report I’d done in a previous class on him (which I aced) and so then I got caught up explaining why he isn’t my favorite though still a notable author and by the time I got back to trying to explain about Burroughs my moment was getting way off track… and then when no one recognized the name (tragedy of the largest degree) my only response is… Tarzan… and then there goes those expressions… the ones that say how ridiculous for you to love the man that created Tarzan… why would anyone be proud of this? all of which is in no way based on the books but from the horrible things Hollywood has done to Tarzan… and so the moment was gone and I never got to tell those people why Burroughs is so absolutely amazing… and so since these thoughts are currently hitting me in the wee hours of the morning I’ve decided to tell all of you, and perhaps that will free me from this sadness…

The wonderful thing about Edgar Rice Burroughs is how he writes with a sense of grandeur… there really is no other way to describe it and I’ve never read anyone else that quite compares… he writes men and women not how they are but how they should be… he creates these incredible and complex worlds and civilizations… that are unique but not beyond what you can relate too… and no matter where the story is it’s filled with people who are honorable, trustworthy, and who hold integrity above all else… they fight the world over for those they love and put the needs of others before their own welfare… I’ve never read another book that when I’m done I feel like a better person for having known these characters… they make me want to go out and fight for what is right and change the world for the better… sure every book I read makes me feel… I get excited and involved and I’m sad when it’s over… but these books hit me on a much higher level… Like how the Moon Men series made me have a new appreciation for my country… all I wanted to do was go out and protect it from anyone who might want to hurt us… his books make me want to be that person who does those good things for no other reason than because it is the right thing to do because that is what his characters do… they are unwavering… he’s the writer that made me want to be a writer… and I know it may sound crazy to say these books have the impact they do… and I know no one else may ever feel that way… and while I usually don’t really care if someone likes the same authors I do, for some reason it hurts me to know that others don’t understand how incredible his books are… don’t see the truth of how ahead of their time they were and not just in futuristic inventions but with how he saw people, all equal and all valuable… and I think it makes me even sadder to know that all most people will ever know of him is the ridiculous movies that get put out or that dumb line “Me Tarzan, you Jane” which was never even said in the books because well Tarzan was way smarter than that… the thing is that some people only see the mere basics of the stories and not all the underlying values that they hold…

but all of that is why Edgar Rice Burroughs is my favorite author…

The Mucker

The Mucker  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

BILLY BYRNE was a product of the streets and alleys of Chicago’s great West Side. From Halsted to Robey, and from Grand Avenue to Lake Street there was scarce a bartender whom Billy knew not by his first name. And, in proportion to their number which was considerably less, he knew the patrolmen and plain clothes men equally as well, but not so pleasantly. His kindergarten education had commenced in an alley back of a feed-store. Here a gang of older boys and men were wont to congregate at such times as they had naught else to occupy their time, and as the bridewell was the only place in which they ever held a job for more than a day or two, they had considerable time to devote to congregating. They were pickpockets and second-story men, made and in the making, and all were muckers, ready to insult the first woman who passed, or pick a quarrel with any stranger who did not appear too burly. By night they plied their real vocations. By day they sat in the alley behind the feedstore and drank beer from a battered tin pail. The question of labor involved in transporting the pail, empty, to the saloon across the street, and returning it, full,  was solved by the presence of admiring and envious little boys of the neighborhood who hung, wide-eyed and thrilled, about these heroes of their childish lives. Billy Byrne, at six, was rushing the can for this noble band, and incidentally picking up his knowledge of life and the rudiments of his education. He gloried in the fact that he was personally acquainted with “Eddie” Welch, and that with his own ears he had heard “Eddie” tell the gang how he stuck up a guy on West Lake Street within fifty yards of the Twenty-eighth Precinct Police Station.

muckerBOOK 1: The Mucker   4 STARS

This book definitely is a bit different from Burroughs norm when it comes to the hero of the tale… normally the men are perfect gentlemen… men of honor and loyalty and intergrity… even Tarzan had somehow come out of the jungle knowing exactly how to act as Lord Greystoke… but Billy is a thug… he’s coarse and vulgar and thinks beating a man up for no reason is good fun… yet he’s accused of a murder he actually didn’t commit and goes on the run for it… which lands him in with a bunch of sailors that kidnap him and force him to work for them… they being no better than the gang he left behind… which is one of the things that makes this book a nice change of pace for Burrough’s characters and an interesting look at a man changing gradually and sometimes without really knowing why… and then watching his old self and new self struggle within… it’s as exciting and adventurous as all his stories are and leaves you wanting to know what happens to the poor Mucker next… but perhaps I just like my men a bit more gentlemanly and so it could only manage a 4…

At the Earth’s Core

At the Earth’s Core  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

When the inventor Perry fires up his burrowing prospector, it runs out of control, plunging him with his young protege, David Innes, into the centre of the earth. There, instead of being destroyed by the molten lava they expect to find, they discover an inner world of bizarre savagery and unearthly beauty. Here mighty dinosaurs still roam alongside beasts never seen in the world above. And to their horror, they suddenly find themselves enslaved in a land where humans are ruled by the reptilian and evilly intelligent Mahars.

pellicidarBOOK 1: At the Earth’s Core    5 STARS

I love how Burroughs tends to turn all the rules and knowledge of this world on it’s head… of course we know at the center of the earth is nothing but the molten core… then again maybe there is a Pellucidar… a world a few million years behind ours… because as it took longer for the core to cool, it took longer for life to emerge down there… and as in an essentially different world, beings evolved differently… so even though the humans are intelligent there and have their culture and language… the Mahars got there faster and further… they’re described as pterodactyls and have telepathic powers but no hearing and so don’t know that the humans have speech and think of them as cattle… so once David and Perry get down there it’s just one adventure after another… but I have to say my favorite part of this book is its look on time… because this world is perpetually in daytime, for there is no horizon for the sun to set behind… with this they find that time may be more in the mind than they had realized… there is just so much to find intriguing in this whole series and looking at how the world evolves and how the slightest things can completely change your perception of it…. it’s just the best kind of science fiction there is…

That’s Right… Tarzan’s Back…

BOOK 1: Tarzan of the Apes  by  Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Return of Tarzan  description:

Tarzan had renounced his right to the woman he loved, and civilization held no pleasure for him. After a brief and harrowing period among men, he turned back to the African jungle where he had grown to manhood. It was there he first heard of Opar, the city of gold, left over from fabled Atlantis.
It was a city of hideous men — and of beautiful, savage women, over whom reigned La, high priestess of the Flaming God. Its altars were stained with the blood of many sacrifices. Unheeding of the dangers, Tarzan led a band of savage warriors toward the ancient crypts and the more ancient evil of Opar …

returnBOOK 2: The Return of Tarzan   5 STARS

You can take the boy out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of Tarzan… sorry I had to say it… because even though Tarzan can blend with the best of them and could’ve inherited the title of Lord Greystoke, he gave it all up… with nothing left he basically decides to go on a treasure hunt… he’s got nothing but time and plenty of skills… but of course nothing is simple… Jane and all of them some how manage to get shipwrecked in Africa again… Tarzan is abducted by ape men and a woman who thinks he’s the reincarnation of the Flame God… just as exciting and adventurous as the first book… except this time with Tarzan being a bit more intelligent and aware of the world around him it makes him a character easier to relate to and interesting to watch him grow and change as he’s trying to get over Jane and live with the choices he’s made…

 

John Carter… Well, They Got the Name Right…

carterYou know I will say if they had cut the few threads that tied it to A Princess of Mars or any of the Martian Series by Edgar Rice Burroughs it might have been an okay movie… maybe not one worth all the money they spent making it or even the price of a movie ticket but okay… Yet, I hate it when they try to take something like the Martian series and then not at all follow it… it was frustrating through the whole movie as I watched it just do whatever and completely turn the world upside down…

To begin with I did have hope for this movie… after all they did make Burroughs a character… something he tends to do with his books is make him connected in some way… usually as the guy who was told the story and is now passing it along in a book… they did include the tomb he was buried in that could only be opened from the inside… they even have his alien dog… other than that they basically kept some names the same and then they decided to do their own thing…mars princess

In some ways they seemed to have begun to include the 2nd book… The Gods of Mars… but it’s barely tapping into that but that’s the only reasoning I have of some of the things they talked about and showed…

They began to destroy the book when they gave John Carter a family that was killed… he never had a family… heck he didn’t even know how old he was… his past is very mysterious and he only knows that he has some distant relations in Virginia who call him Uncle Jack… but Captain Powell is his friend who he’s out gold digging with but they’re driven to this cave by Indians… at no point is he ever a fellow of disrepute… he’s a good respectable gentleman… in fact he frequently refers to himself as a Virginian Gentleman… he believes in fighting for what is right, in loyalty and honor… he isn’t going to turn down a woman in need… he isn’t going to jump and grab a shot gun of a man… even if he is an 18 foot tall alien… who is obviously showing him no harm… and he isn’t going to hock a loogey at people and in any way show himself less that someone to be respected…

mars godsAnd how they touch on The Gods of Mars is by including the Therns… they are not a powerful race… though they were revered as gods… they can’t change forms or do all these mysterious things… they’re more mythical than anything… though John Carter does meet them in the 2nd book they’re not as great as they make themselves out to be… and the 9th ray is a power that has been used on Mars/Barsoom for years… it’s how they control everything… and it’s just power… not some crazy force they made it out to be…

But the main problem with this movie is they tried to humanize them… they tried to recreate them into today’s standards… The people of mars… the red and the green and all the other colors that come into play later… are a warrior race… they do not care for peace… in fact they believe it’s peace that led to the destruction of Barsoom… being an assassin is a respectable profession… they believe in fighting to the death… but they do have a code of honor… so they’re not just some mad killing race… but they tried to give them our wish for peace… John Carter does bring about uniting many of the races… but that takes like 11 books to get too… and it definitely has nothing to do with anything that happened in that movie… but Burroughs did a great job of creating a whole other world that we can feel for and even relate to in some ways but is vastly different than our in others… they are aliens… they have different codes and beliefs… whoever wrote the script for this movie took the basic elements but left out the greatest parts…

In short… it failed…

Apparently though other people did like this movie… if you’d like to see that such do exist check out TIWAM… everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I know mine can be a bit crazy at times when it comes to Burroughs…

in the end though… John Carter still lives!

Day 15- Your Five Favorite Characters of All Time

1.    poison  Yelena from the Study series by Maria V. Snyder

she went through hell but came out strong on the other end… she’s smart, fearless, and though she is cautious she hasn’t allowed the world to make her overly cynical… she also has a knack of making friends out of her enemies… but also defeating those that are inherently evil and aren’t worthy of friendship… it’s a good quality in a character…

2.      John Carter from the Martian series by Edgar Rice Burroughsmars princess

and I haven’t seen the movie but it doesn’t seem to really hold true to the character… I like him because he’s rather mysterious… he has no known beginning… he isn’t sure why he’s seems to have lived much longer than normal men… and he doesn’t know how he ended up on Mars… but he is a gentleman who values honor and integrity above all else… and also works to bring peace and unity to Mars… which, once more, are very admirable traits…

3.      damagedSidney from the Damaged series by H. M. Ward

mainly cause she’s hilarious in a rather accidental way… the things she gets herself into… being attacked by squirrels… accidentally adopting a turkey vulture… but once more a strong woman who’s just trying to survive but is a very human character… while I can’t help but admire those that seem better than the average bear… I like that Sidney in many ways sounds like an everyday girl… the kind you could be friends with, hang out with, or possibly overlook because she’s just another normal girl passing by…

4.      Odd Thomas from the Odd series by Dean Koontzodd

while everyone is always wanting to be different, special, stand out… Odd is fighting to be normal… to be just a 21 year old fry cook in a little town… not a man who sees ghost that can’t even talk to him, much less tell him why they’re there… but even as he wants to be normal he uses his gift to save the good people and make sure the bad guys go to jail…

5.     bloodlines Sydney from the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead

Sydney is raised to think that all the Moroi and Dhampir are evil, but still tries to help them and is still willing to give them a chance… to see the good in them… she also gives off a rather good like church girl vibe, but can surprise you with her rather devious ability to get back at those who wrong her loved ones… and the fight she has in her to stand against the true evil that is out there… it’s nice to see a character in a way break away from the ideals that has been forced upon her her whole life but still remain true to her own beliefs and not really change who she is as a person…

Day 13- Your Favorite Author

mad kingThis makes me feel like I’m beating a dead horse… Anyone whose followed this blog closely… or knows me personally, has probably heard me rant about how amazing Edgar Rice Burroughs is… how I think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread… How all his characters are the cream of the crop… and I’m so madly in love with his books I just want to go and snuggle with them every night and dream sweet dreams filled with those amazing adventures that vary from the center of the Earth, to Africa, to planets beyond our farthest star…

So I’ll talk about someone else… and the runner up is…

Wow… this is actually kind of hard to decide on… but I’ve decided to go with the author that I’ve liked the greatest number of their books…

Charlaine Harris

I loved her Sookie Stackhouse series, Harper Connelly series, and Lily Bard Mysteries… and though you can in many ways see landlordsimilarities in her main characters… women who have been set apart from society… I love that they’re still very different from each other but are very strong women who continue to persevere no matter what life throws at them… her books are dark but she does a good job of slipping in those happy and sometimes just mundane moments that keep you liking her characters and even being able to relate to them regardless of their differences… definitely a great author that I would recommend anyone checking out…

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