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Gulliver of Mars

3.02  ·  Rating Details ·  167 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Lieutenant Gulliver Jones, U.S.N., arrived on Mars in a most unexpected fashion and promptly found himself head-over-heels in adventure. For Mars was a planet of ruined cities, ancient peoples, copper-skinned swordsmen, and weird and awesome monsters. There was a princess to be rescued, a River of Death to be navigated, and a strange prophecy to be fulfilled.
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Paperback, 224 pages
Published 1964 by Ace Books (first published 1905)
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Jan 17, 2011 Werner rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Readers very interested in the history of science fiction
Edwin L. Arnold had some reputation in his own day as a writer of highly melodramatic science fiction, mostly based on this book and on his Phra the Phoenician --which I haven't read; and based on this one, won't!-- both are mentioned in older editions of The Anatomy of Wonder, and some critics, including Richard A. Lupoff (who wrote the introduction here) think both books, especially this one, influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels. (Arnold's works hadn't appeared in an American editio ...more
Apr 28, 2012 Derek rated it liked it
Shelves: sword-and-planet
I find myself liking it piecemeal; interesting ingredients are present, but something about their assembly and presentation doesn't work. I can't tell if Arnold is doing this deliberately--reflecting Gulliver Jones's essential obtuseness and failings as a hero--or if Arnold hadn't the craft to make use of it properly.

Consider the ideas that are intimated, but never carried through: the ancient Martian civilization that had traveled to, or possibly from, the Egypt of the pharaohs; Jones's languag
Jun 22, 2016 Leothefox rated it it was amazing
This is another entry in a long quest to read through the origins of my favorite waves of pulp science-fantasy. I imagine I came to this book for the reason most other folks did: to see what (if anything) inspired Burroughs' immortal Barsoom books. Richard A. Lupoff's introduction to the ACE edition addresses this and suggests further reading in Arnold's “Phra the Phoenician”, so my quest continues.

I tried to mostly read/enjoy Lieutenant Gulliver Jones' adventures on Mars in their own right ra
Apr 10, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pulp, sci-fi
If you took a second-rate version of Jonathan Swift and combined him with a second-rate version of Edgar Rice Burroughs, you'd wind up with the author of GULLIVAR OF MARS.
It's very hard to know what to make of this book. At certain times, it feels like parody or satire; at others, it comes across as a straight-laced adventure novel. In that respect, it's a whole lot like Mark Twain's A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT, but nowhere near as pointed and topical.
The story (theorized by some
Nov 08, 2011 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I have a much older Ace edition. Some folks say that this is the book that inspired Burroughs' John Carter series. It came first, certainly, and there are some similarities, but they are relatively minor. I give it a three for being a very early and imaginative book, but the story itself probably deserves 2 stars.
"Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation" is the last fictional book from Edwin Lester Lindon Arnold (1857 - March 1, 1935). The book is also known as "Gullivar of Mars", and in both cases there are editions of the books using the alternate spelling "Gulliver". Along with his book "The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phaenician" he appears to have greatly influenced Edgar Rice Burroughs with regards to his Barsoom series, though some people dispute this. Phra is seen as similar to John Carter, ...more
Mar 27, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Published several years before the much more famous A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, it nevertheless shares many similarities: a US military man finds himself on a dying Mars with the remains of a once great culture, where he falls in love with a Princess who he must rescue. There is a also a river of death, on which all the bodies of the dead are shipped on for their final journey.

Nevertheless, the stories are very different. I know I'll get in trouble with the general Sci-Fi commun
Oct 05, 2012 Laurie rated it liked it
I read this book mainly due to my interest in it as an influence on Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Mars stories. It is definitely a product of it's time, very different in prose style and construction from a science fiction pulp of the Golden Age, very far removed from modern science fiction. I enjoyed it anyway, mostly for it's oddness and archaic sensibilities. I can see why it is considered to have been an influence for the Barsoomian Mars tales.

It is a very quick read and if you have the time
Jul 19, 2012 Jim rated it liked it
This is the story of Lieutenant Gulliver Jones of the United States Navy magically appearing on Mars. He has a number of adventures there, such as saving a Martian princess and going down a River of Death. Sounds like the hero John Carter created by Edgar Rice Burroughs...but this was written in 1905, while Burroughs' "A Princess of Mars" was written in 1911. It would seem that British author Arnold influenced the American Burroughs....but Burroughs' book is by far the better one...
Apr 22, 2010 Evan rated it it was ok
It's interesting from a History of SciFi standpoint as one of the earliest novels of travel to Mars, and an obvious source of inspiration for Burroughs's Barsoom. But it's just not actually very good.
Jul 31, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Turn off brain, sit back and have fun.
Oct 21, 2016 Theo rated it did not like it
While this may be the inspiration for Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom series, this is clearly not writing anywhere close to Edgar Rice Burroughs. The writing is overly florid, overly descriptive while the descriptions are vacuous, has sparsely interspersed dialogue and a barely discernible plot. On top of those issues, seemingly 3/4 of every chapter are character self-loathing followed by a momentary act of supposed heroism, which is followed by, you guessed it, more self-loathing. Wouldn't ...more
Gary Peterson
Jan 23, 2016 Gary Peterson rated it liked it
Shelves: 1900s-fiction
GULLIVER OF MARS was a fun diversion, which, as Arnold's closing line testifies, was among his hopes. That this 1905 novel sparked the imagination of Edgar Rice Burroughs and inspired the John Carter/Barsoom series made reading it a worthwhile undertaking, and it was by no means dry, historical research, even if it wasn't exactly rip-roarin' excitement first page to last.

It was admittedly difficult to read this novel on its own terms, as an Edwardian-era fantasy that predates all the science-fi
Mar 31, 2011 Dave rated it it was ok
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
The book Gulliver's Travels was superb satire combined with imaginative visits to four unique lands.

Gulliver of Mars was not satire although the author clearly showed his dislike for "slothfulness" and touted the industrious Victorian gentlemen of his time. Gulliver Jones traveled through two countries on four areas of Mars with just two different races. Burroughs's many Martian books included five humanoid races and the eighteen-foot-tall Green Men of Mars. Arnold's Gulliver encountered mostly
It was an okay book. It moved at a decent pace, I suppose. I would say it was strongly reminiscent of the John Carter of Mars books, except that this book was written before the ERB books. It held my attention throughout the book; the Mars described by Arnold is definitely a bit different than the Mars described by ERB. Had this book been written after ERB's books, I would say it was a condensed version of some of ERB's books. The ending is quite different, though. (view spoiler) ...more
Joe Santoro
Apr 25, 2015 Joe Santoro rated it really liked it
Shelves: soft_sf
Plot: Gulliver Jones gets flung to Mars on a flying carpet, where he finds a small, pretty race of drifters he calls the Hither folk, who seem to just happily while away the days. He learns another rather, the Thither Folk, who are big and hairy, demand tribute every year, including a beautiful maiden. Jones, naturally falls in love with the Princess, who gets taken, and he goes on a quest to save her. Just as he does, he gets sent back home to his fiancee and a promotion.. so they get married ...more
Read this and Princess of Mars back to back. Both are awful in their own way but were Princess is boring, pointless and has a main character with no personality. Gulliver of Mars is interesting and exciting with a lead that at least has a pulse. Of course Gullivers main character trait is that he's a complete tool but at least thats something. Its amazing how angry and frustrated this book made me due to its flaws. There really seemed to be a decent story trying to get out but the author never ...more
This was not nearly as good as I had hoped it might be. While I can see, perhaps some inspiration points for the Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian Tales, this was still a very different type of book. It falls more in the tradition of The Travels than actually something like Gulliver's Travels or A Princess of Mars. While it was not a bad read it did not live up to my expectations and was little disappointing.
Oct 04, 2014 Sam rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody
Shelves: 2013, did-not-finish
Rarely do I find a book to be too boring to finish; I normally force myself to finish what I start. In that sense (and probably others as well) I'm somewhat of a masochist. Maybe its character building (one can hope), or maybe I just find the torture of not finishing to be greater than that of slugging through the mire. That being said, I could not force myself past the hundred page mark of this book. It is one of, if not the most boring books I have ever read, and I'm the type of person who ...more
Ed Wyrd
Oct 28, 2015 Ed Wyrd rated it really liked it
What if I told you there was a novel about an Earthman who traveled to Mars, fell in love with a Princess who was kidnapped, and he traveled all about Mars to reclaim her and it was written 7 years before Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote about John Carter and Dejah Thoris on Barsoom?

Unlike the larger-than-life suoerhero John Carter, however, Gulliver Jones is a rather passive character -- things happen to him rather than he making things happen -- who faces his adventures with wide-eyed artless innoce
Jun 14, 2012 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book mostly just to examine the claim that the John Carter stories have their roots in this pre-dating work. I can certainly see how such a claim can be made. There are similarities in both protagonists being military men from earth's past, both men come across brutish races and more refined races. These races are in conflict with one another. There is a princess of the more refined race as a love interest - and numerous other crossovers.

But I have to say in terms of pure enjoyment,
Oct 15, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok
Some of the prose(in fact most of it) is delightful however it just isn't that gripping a book..I has little concern over the visit to Mars via a flying carpet as I have read books with similiar strange premises which have come good..Clive Barkers Weaveworld the story of a fantastic realm in tapestry for example..but once in Mars the story plodded.
Some half good ideas of a nation of lazy pleasure seekers and slaves but all in all a book that reads as a travelogue with little of true
John Desmarais
Jan 07, 2015 John Desmarais rated it it was ok
Reading this book, as a "modern" science fiction reader, can be an odd experience. Writing styles change over generations, and this book most definitely reads like OLD science-fiction, complete with the overly florid language of the period. It is also one of the primary inspirations for the John Carter books, so from an genre historical perspective there are good reasons for fans of those stories to read this book. Unfortunately, the story moves at a ponderous pace. Very little actually happens, ...more
Mar 06, 2016 Richard rated it liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this little bit of nonsense. I had never heard of it until I saw it on Amazon and read the reviews and how similar it is to Burroughs works. To think that it was written in 1905, wow! The price couldn't have been any better either: free. Thank you to whomever converted it into e-book form.
Norman Cook
Mar 06, 2014 Norman Cook rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-twice, e-book
This was a chore to get through. The vocabulary and grammar are very old fashioned, filled with long, obscure words and prosaic descriptions. The characters are without empathy. The plot is hard to follow. It is a far cry from the books of Edgar Rice Burroughs who many have cited being inspired by Arnold.
Timothy Boyd
Feb 10, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was ok
Written about 9 years before Edgar Rice Burroughs "A Princess of Mars" this book was supposed to be an earlier version that influenced Burroughs in his story. Well Burroughs did it way better than Arnold. The story seemed to wander without much plot and little action. I really looked forward to reading this but was very disappointed in it. Not recommended
So this was the one that led Burroughs to write A Princess Of Mars...a pretty feeble climax (such as it is); only maybe really about half a book's worth of stuff happened. And most of that in Adolescentland.
Dec 09, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
This is an early 20th-century fantasy about an Earthman's trip to Mars (on a magic carpet!). Naturally, there is a beautiful (is there any other kind?) Martian princess that needs rescuing, and only the big, strong Earthman can do it ...

Not bad, but Burroughs' Barsoom is better.
Oct 01, 2010 Larry added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no-one!
I didnt finish this book, I just couldnt go on any further, it was annoying me! Not only the fact that the people on mars spoke English, but also how the chharacter got there (in a flying carpet!!) Just stuf and nonesense really and incredibly hard to read in places!
Jul 06, 2015 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than Jon Carter.

I have to review this book with 20 words or more. So I'm trying 20 words or more. Ta da!
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Edwin Lester Linden Arnold, (1857 – 1 March 1935) was an English author. Most of his works were issued under his working name of Edwin Lester Arnold.
Arnold was born in Swanscombe, Kent, as son of Sir Edwin Arnold. Most of his childhood was spent in India, but he returned to England to study agriculture and ornithology. He became a journalist in 1883, and published his first books A Summer Holiday
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