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The Master Mind of Mars (Barsoom #6)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  3,771 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
From ERBville Press: Edgar Rice Burroughs has written many interesting stories, but we believe, for downright originality and exciting interest, this story is hard to equal. There is hardly a page that does not hold your interest. Once the story gets under way, hair-raising episodes seem to tumble right over each other--they come so quickly.--Hugo Gernsback
Paperback, 165 pages
Published June 16th 2009 by ERBville Press (first published 1927)
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Aug 22, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Master Mind of Mars" is book #6 of 11 John Carter adventures that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave to the world. It first appeared in the magazine "Amazing Stories Annual" in July 1927, and John Carter himself only puts in a cameo appearance near the book's end. Instead, our hero is another Earthman, Ulysses Paxton, who mysteriously gets transported to Barsoom (Mars) after being critically wounded on the battlefields of WW1. Paxton becomes an apprentice of the eponymous mastermind Ras Thavas, and ...more
Mary Catelli
Ulysses Paxton, fighting in World War I, finds himself transported to Mars with no more reason than John Carter -- though this goes more briskly than in Princess. He finds himself in the lair of Ras Thavas, a slightly mad scientist who transplants organs, including brains, and can often revive the dead. He has room after room of bodies suspended as if time did not pass.

He trains Paxton, thinking that a man with nowhere to go is the most trustworthy he can find, and knowing he needs someone to tr
Jun 12, 2012 Joseph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably more like a 4.5 or 4.75 . . .

For this volume we're back to first-person narration, but it's not John Carter -- it's Ulysses Paxton, another Earth man who makes his way to Barsoom from the trenches of WWI-era Europe. Paxton already has a basic familiarity with Barsoom because he's read ERB's previous books, although he thought they were fiction. (Burroughs was meta before meta was a thing.)

This is an interesting installment -- it has much more of a science fictional feel to it than other
An Odd1
Dec 09, 2014 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Fun body switches. Do you love the person inside? Or does outside / inside influence other side?

Ulysses Paxton narrates death in Civil War, waking naked on Mars, apprenticeship to transplant expert ancient Ras Thavas of Toonol, who calls him 'Vad Varo'. Ras does good, giving arm to worker whose own was crushed, new brain to "demented child .. from violent deaths" p 394

Into lovely body, they put brain of Xaxa, old ruler of Phundahlia although "She is an ig
The Master Mind of Mars completes the little mini-arc of philosophy I've described. In Thuvia, Maid of Mars, we meet a city of realists and etherealists, the latter of whom believe that none of us exist but both of whom are so focused on the creations of their minds as to ignore reality; in The Chessmen of Mars, we meet a race of Martians who have developed into all brain (the kaldanes) and all body (the rykors), neither of whom enjoys the fullest pleasures of life; and in The Master Mind of Mar ...more
Jun 29, 2009 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Master Mind of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs is the sixth book in the Barsoom series. Burroughs moves further away from John Carter by introducing a new hero, Ulysses Paxton, who uses his Martian name Vad Varo for most of the book. Ulysses is a much different hero than John Carter, or for that matter Cathoris or Thuvia from “Thuvia Maid of Mars” or Gahan of Gathol or Tara of Helium from “The Chessmen of Mars”. Ulysses’s connection with John Carter is that when on Earth he read the stories o ...more
Stephen Brooke
Although Burroughs’s earlier Barsoom novels are nominally science fiction thanks to their setting, ‘The Mastermind of Mars’ moves closer to true SF and away from the fantastical romances of its predecessors. They still, however, have a lot in common including many of the same basic plot elements ERB recycled throughout his writing career.

All in all, I find it a lesser effort. The sense of wonder and adventure we enjoyed in the previous novels is downplayed in favor of a slower pace and a smaller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This story follows the adventures of an unrelated hero, Ulysses Paxton, an Earthman. Like John Carter, Paxton arrives on Mars via astral projection and ends up being trained by mad scientist Ras Thavas, the titular Mastermind of Mars, in the techniques of mind-body transfer. Paxton uses these techniques to restore his beloved Valla Dia's brain into her own beautiful body after her brain had been swapped with that of the hideous Xaxa of Phundahl.

These stories are not high art, or even good sci-fi
Oct 11, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Carter is not the only one who travels to Mars. Enter Captain Ulysses Paxton, US Army. While on the fields of battle in the Great War, Paxton suddenly mortally wounded and fixes his gaze on the twinkling red planet in the dark night sky. He stretches out his arms toward this sparkling light and in almost a blink of an eye finds himself laying flat on his back gazing up into a bright sun-lit sky. Standing over him is Ras Thavas, Barsoom’s greatest scientist. Thus begins the adventurers of an ...more
Roddy Williams

Former Earthman Ulysses Paxton served Barsoom’s greatest scientist, until his master’s ghoulish trade in living bodies drove him to rebellion. Then, to save the body of the woman he loved, he had to attack mighty Phundahl and its evil beautiful ruler.'

The Sixth in Burroughs’ Martian series sees a new Earthman, Ulysses Paxton, transported from the Hell of the trenches of World War I to the red sands of Barsoom. We know this, because he took the trouble to write a letter to Edgar
May 20, 2012 Phil rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
Despite being the 6th novel in the series, in this story Burroughs proves that there are plenty of stories left to tell on Barsoom, and that John Carter or Carthoris don't need to be present to have a compelling story.

Our protagonist is a World War I soldier with the incredibly badass name Ulysses Paxton. When he gets blown in half by an artillery shell, he finds himself on Barsoom, a planet he knows well from Edgar Rice Burrough's stories. I like that--as with John Carter's original teleportati
Sep 05, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Burroughs fans
The Mastermind of Mars is the sixth book in Edgar Rice Burroughs's Mars series. (The first is A Princess of Mars. If you like ridiculous space opera, I recommend this series. The first five are available on Project Gutenberg; I got this one and the seventh in e-book form from B&N, as The Third Martian Omnibus.)

This is one of the better of the seven Mars books I have read. The hero, Ulysses Paxton, is another Earthling who, like John Carter, has traveled to Barsoom to find a new life among t
Robert Saunders
These were considered "planetary romances" according to one source back when this series from the creator of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs, was written. This series of about 10 books started in 1912 and culminated around 1948. There's an odd mention of a book in 1964, but the other had been dead for 14 years by then. Plus there are a few shorts published in some pulp periodicals of the 1940s (where many of these stories appeared in years prior).

Today we call this stuff sci-fi, but it's quite diff
Jeff Stockett
This book had an interesting premise. If medical procedures could progress to a point where we could swap out any body part, including the brain, how would that affect society? People could live forever by swapping out parts or even entire bodies.

If this had been a stand alone novel, I think it would have worked better. As a Barsoom novel, there are certain things you come to expect. My two favorite things about Barsoom are the fantastic world filled with fantastic creatures and the larger than
Mar 11, 2012 Christopher rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Although this struck me as the most focused story in the series up to this point and one that presaged any number of brain-transplant / body-swapping SF stories that would come later, I could barely get through it. What I enjoy about Burroughs isn't his ability to write moden, coherent novels, but rather how he packs so much imagery and energy into the earlier parts of this series. When he slows down, pins his story to just one or two places and problems, and tries to work out complications of m ...more
Benjamin Elliott
Burroughs brings up some interesting ideas in this book. The switching of bodies and the effect that would have on people psychologically, varying by what they are being switched to and whether it was by or against their will is the most prominent example in this book, but I'm sure the talking idol made an impression on some as it was likely less used to that point. Still, they are used only as the color in the standard Burroughs fare. This is yet another escapist fantasy where a common man (usu ...more
Apr 08, 2016 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Burrough's Martian stories have increasing put the original hero John Carter, into a marginal role.
In this volume, Ulysses Paxton, a soldier who is dying in the trenches during World War I, is transported to Mars, and taken in by master surgeon Ras Thavas.

Thavas has developed techniques to preserve bodies and use them as organ banks for the living. Even going so far as to transfer the brains of the aged into younger bodies.
Thavas mentors Paxton, and teaches him his surgical methods, but things
Tuomas Saloranta
Sep 09, 2015 Tuomas Saloranta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Idealtaan ja henkilögallerialtaan paras tähänastisista. Uusi Marsiin siirtynyt Maan mies lähtee hakemaan takaisin rakastettunsa ruumista, johon on siirretty vanhan aatelisnaisen aivot, ja apunaan hänellä on kuolleista herätetty kuuluisa palkkamurhaaja, väärään ruumiiseen joutunut vartiokaartin päällikkö sekä ihmisen aivoilla varustettu suuri valkoinen apina. Jo kirjan alku, jossa asetelmaa pedataan ja tutustutaan Marsin neron kummallisiin kirurgisiin toimiin, on mitä herkullisin, ja erikoisen se ...more
Oct 22, 2008 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Burroughs so much that I even like bad Burroughs, but this book (the 6th in the Mars series) is one of his best. Our hero, Ulysses Paxton, a dying soldier on a World War I battlefield, is mysteriously beamed up to Mars where he ends up serving as a laboratory assistant to a weird scientist who has discovered the secret of switching people from one body to another. Paxton falls in love with a beautiful young woman who is unfairly trapped in the old body of a mean empress, and vows to resto ...more
May 25, 2014 Keith rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Another American finds himself on Mars in the laboratories of a Martian medical savant who gains wealth by switching out the brains of local aristocrats and jeddaks with those of beautiful slaves or criminals. Somehow this works and produces a series of wrongs that must be righted. The American Ulysses Paxton sets off with a cadre to the nearby city of Pfundahl to rescue the body of one of these hapless victims. That it is now hosting the city states leader is just a minor problem. John Carter m ...more
Jul 01, 2010 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Robert Appleton
A macabre entry in the Barsoom series, The Master Mind of Mars borrows from Frankenstein and The Island of Dr Moreau, but is still replete with E.R. Burroughs' trademark imaginative flourishes. The ghoulish first half gives way to his more formulaic--but always fun--action adventure heroics, while the central romantic contrivance is his least developed in the series (certainly original, though). The misguided scientist who performs horrific/ingenious transplant operations is a fascinating creati ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like this one better than some of the recent Barsoom series I've been reading.

The hero is another earthman, Ulysses Paxton. He is in the service of an old scientist who makes his living moving people's brains into younger bodies.

Ulysses sees a beautiful woman, and her brain is put into an old body. I like this one because they carry on a relationship, even though she is not beautiful through most of the book. He loves her anyway despite her looks (or lack thereof).

He enlists the help of a whit
Bill Zodanga
Please note, this 5 star rating is based on my long ago memories of this book - I may have read it greater than 20 years ago. I recall reading and really liking it, and even kept the book to read again in the future (something I only do with good, or otherwise significant books). The memories of an old man are sometimes faulty so this could really only warrant 3.5 to 4.5 stars, instead of the 5 I gave it. Once I re-read the book I will update this rating/review to more accurately reflect my thou ...more
John Lawson
May 19, 2015 John Lawson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Captain Ulysses Paxton is snatched from the trenches of WWI and taken to Barsoom, where he becomes the protege of a Doctor Frankensteinish mad genius. Extreme make-overs ensue.

This book was terrific! John Carter's tale had pretty much played itself out, so introducing a new Earth character injects new life into the series. His motivations are clear, his heroics are reasonable. He fashions together a Seven Samurai cadre of heroes to aid him in his quest for justice and vengeance, and they all hav
Jan 19, 2012 Rene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
This is book #6 of the Barsoom series, and I think it is - so far - one of the best. There is a good sf-story in this book with good content and no excessive figting. John Carter only plays a tiny part in he last chapter, and in fact all the characters are new after the first five books.
It is the story of Ulyssus Paxton, an American soldier, who is transposed to Mars and arrives there near a laboratory where dubious experiments take place. This is worked out in an inventive way into a story wit
Mar 06, 2016 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sure, all the BARSOOM books are pretty dumb...but THE MASTER MIND OF MARS is stoopid with two o's. Burroughs takes an excitingly macabre premise (I got chills at the thought of someone grafting half a human brain onto half an animal brain) and then wastes it on a dopey plot that is both boring and as far removed from reality as one can get. Poor character development resulted in my having a hard time keeping straight the identities of the hero's sidekicks, and the romantic element is childish ev ...more
Rex Libris
Feb 07, 2014 Rex Libris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this installment of the "John Carter" series we meet a new charactwer, Ulysses Paxton. He is soldier in WWI who is injured and transported to Mars just like Carter. In this instance, he is plopped down in the middle ofthe compound of the Marian equivalent of Josef Mengele. This individual takes the brains out of old people and transplants them into the stolen bodies of younger people so the older people can live longer.

Paxton rights the wrongs helps a beautiful young woman regain her body. W
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Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.
More about Edgar Rice Burroughs...

Other Books in the Series

Barsoom (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)
  • The Gods of Mars (Barsoom, #2)
  • The Warlord of Mars (Barsoom, #3)
  • Thuvia, Maid of Mars (Barsoom, #4)
  • The Chessmen of Mars (Barsoom, #5)
  • A Fighting Man of Mars (Barsoom, #7)
  • Swords of Mars (Barsoom, #8)
  • Synthetic Men of Mars (Barsoom, #9)
  • Llana of Gathol (Barsoom, #10)
  • John Carter of Mars (Barsoom, #11)

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