Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Damme Words: The Gods of Mars

"Never have I been much of a ladies' man, being more concerned with fighting and kindred arts which have ever seemed to me more fitting a man than mooning over a scented glove four sizes too small for him, or kissing a dead flower that has begun to smell like a cabbage.  So I was quite at a loss as to what to do or say.  A thousand times rather face the wild hordes of the dead sea bottoms than meet the eyes of this beautiful young girl and tell her the thing that I must tell her."

- John Carter, a gentleman of Virgina and prince of Helium in The Gods of Mars

AKA Books!  Check'em out!  Into part two of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian Tales, The Gods of Mars, follow up to A Princess of Mars. I really dug Princess' mix of history, action, swashbuckling adventure, swordplay, monsters, flying crafts and unknown worlds with four-armed aliens and huge beasts.  After wandering into a cave in Arizona and being mysteriously transported to Mars aka Barsoom, former Confederate soldier and Earthman John Carter gets mixed up in human and alien politics.  Along the way he befriends four-armed warrior Tars Tarkas then rescues and marries princess Dejah Thoris.  In the sequel, he's back on Earth, desperately trying to get back to Barsoom and his beloved Thoris.  When he finally returns, he's caught up in a race war between aliens and humans in the planet's thought to be land of the afterlife.  Fighting pirates, creatures and slavers on the ground and aboard flying crafts, Carter saves the life of beautiful slave Thuvia, the young woman mistakes a giant crush on the studly Carter for love.  But Carter only has eyes for one and must rebuff Thuvia who then proceeds to throw a fit.

Originally published in 5 serial parts in 1913, The Gods of Mars was printed as a novel in 1918.  Burroughs of course was a prolific writer of action and adventure and in addition to 11 Mars adventures also created Tarzan the Ape man who lived on through 26 novels and various live action and animated adaptations.  At 35 years old, Burroughs scribbled drafts of Princess on pieces of leftover stationary from his brothers' company where he hoped to succeed in business before overcoming the notion that his work was childish and submitted it for publication.  If his success as an author wasn't enough, he dubbed a ranch outside Los Angeles Tarzana, the name stuck and it became a city in 1927.

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