He died at 75, with a wish-list for the afterlife: “I want to travel through the space to visit other planets”.
Edgar Rice Burroughs outsold the combi...moreHe died at 75, with a wish-list for the afterlife: “I want to travel through the space to visit other planets”.
Edgar Rice Burroughs outsold the combination of Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Faulkner, at his time. He ventured far (and wide) in the realm of imagination. Maybe he "caught" kids and teens first, then adults, definitely. I was one of the "caught-ups" in this vast world imagined, when I was a teen; I read Tarzan whenever possible and all the pulp fiction I could grab.
Ray Bradbury was right saying about Burroughs: “astronomers and biochemists fell in love with John Carter and Tarzan; B. put us on the moon; all technologists read”… him. So no wonder Bradbury called him the “most influential writer of the world”. I agree in some way, for a certain genre of writing.
The Barsoom world (which this novel of John Carter adventures on Mars is a part of) started before Tarzan. It was a shy start up, so to speak, because Burroughs didn’t even pen it with his own name, but under the name Norman Bean; the 1st version was called Under the moons of Mars; later then it became A princess of Mars, published in 1912. Burroughs was in a sort of “existential desperation”; the business of writing saved him; he had started at 35; he acknowledged: his earlier career had been disappointing.
APoM struck me first for its introductory lines. John Carter the civil war hero (the one we all love, writes the narrator,…grey eyes ,black-hair…a typical southern gentleman), finds himself looking for gold in the Arizona landscape; his musings inside a cave are lapidary: >“I am a very old man…possibly I am 100 possibly more…I have always been a man of 30”.
And shortly after he’s catapulted to another sphere: Mars; he’s just seen his terrestrial body laying inside the cave; now, he’s bare naked contemplating this incubator of eggs…of strange creatures, hatching.
The all panoply of creatures will unfold before his eyes: male, green Martians with “scrawny” bodies, “6 legged creatures” 15 feet high, 400 pounds-weight. . Then females, 10 to 12 feet tall. Beings made for war; “naturally” selected and raised for war. A population with curious statistics: of 300 years of average life,they can live up to 1000 years, only 1 in 1000 dies of disease; there’s a continual warfare between their communities. Carter's only friends are Martian Sola (a "motherly" young woman of 45), a loyal watch "dog"…and surely the girl,the loved princess, Dejah Thoris.
A “nomadic race”…whose only thoughts are for "the today". A race of brutes. 5 million martians.
Carter discovers his new abilities on the surface of Mars: he’s capable of super human leaps: 30 feet into the air. Even Martians are astounded. He noticed some buildings are “out of proportions” when compared to these green Martians; maybe another civilization, a different one, had been responsible for its construction.
But there are other types: the colossal ape-like white creatures:”hairless except a bristly hair upon its head”. And more.
The two Martian moons are closer than ours; so nights are different; if both moons visible, than light,...if not, total darknesss. Nights are cold on Mars. -----
So much’s been written on these stories of Burroughs; from so many angles…; recently I’ve read this political Marxist view (by a blogger): "the politics of A Princess of Mars are rooted in a 19th century colonialism that more accurately reflects the wishes and problems of modern imperialism"*.
I think you can read politics in (to) Burroughs. His aim will always go far beyond that; because imagination needs no politics. When I was a kid,my eyes didn't read politics; I was mesmerized, ...not by ideology,certainly not.
Matthew is a very rich lawyer; he’s rotten rich mainly because of heritages he got that date back to his grand grandmother pr...moreA story set in Hawaii.
Matthew is a very rich lawyer; he’s rotten rich mainly because of heritages he got that date back to his grand grandmother princess Kekipi: she married a banker who was her assets manager; now Matt has plenty of properties to sell; and yet he prefers using the money of his own job: ”I don’t like heritages”.
She was seven years younger than Matt. They met 20 years ago. They got married, they had two daughters ….but now she’s in a hospital, in a coma; she had a racing-boat accident. Joanie was alcoholic; she liked motorbikes…and racing-boats.
Scottie is a 10 year old “crazy” girl; her older sister (Alex), once posing as model for bikinis and alike stuff, had drugs problems….and alcohol issues too.
The book describes with great detail those few days (and memories) in and out of hospital visits. Now it’s all about being (and learning TO BE) a competent father with Scottie and Alex. Being able to learn from nanny Esther about the minutiae of foods and mobile phone messaging slang... and all kinds of habits of irreverent Scottie.
For some time Matt feels awkward, an “ass-hole father”. While in hospital he looks at his wife and thinks:” I need you”. How to say farewell to a person he loves so much?, how to explain it to 10 year old Scottie? Alex had been away in a special school due to her drugs problem; Matt brings her back home; she brings along her boyfriend.
They receive updates from doctor Johnston: mother signs are getting worse. It’s an irreversible coma. Matt gets to know her life will: no life supporting systems: no life-preserving machines.
Alex had drug problems…and she’s the one who’ll tell father that Joanie was having a love affair. Things get really complicated for Matt. He cries for the first time. He’s got to reformulate his feeling world.
These are very tense (few) days for Matt and the girls.
The book is an inside-his-troubled-mind journey/window.
Trials,coping with death ….and life. A fine job by writer Kaui Hart Hemmings. No wonder the book turned into a movie.
I am basing my review on the movie, with same title.
In an Amish community a newborn baby is found dead near a pond. A police officer (Sergeant Lisa M...more I am basing my review on the movie, with same title.
In an Amish community a newborn baby is found dead near a pond. A police officer (Sergeant Lisa Monroe) is called upon to investigate who did it, …who killed the baby. It gets clear that 18 year old Katie runs the risk of prison; she’s the main suspect, since her mother Sarah had no more children. But Katie denies any wrong doing, despite being taken to hospital and all the medical evidence pointing to her.
Sarah says about daughter: “she’s in God’s hands…it’s not Katie’s baby!”. A preliminary investigation concluded that there was a hair-scissors missing.
Meanwhile, according to a judge’s decision, Katie gets a lawyer (Ellie) to work on her defense, though Katie still affirms:”I didn’t have a baby”. Katie Fitch has been charged with “murder in first degree”. Ellie goes to Katie’s place for some days, to try to get the truth; she invites also a psychiatrist called Cooper. To the psychiatrist Katie keeps on denying…but recognizes she feels better when she speaks to her diseased sister. Cooper tells Ellie about “dissociative states”.
Ellie found out Katie speaks in the middle of the night to some absent figure. “I miss you”. Katie says it’s about a dead sister called Anna, she was 12 when she died, she drowned. The lawyer gets more and more puzzled, especially with Amish mores like the one forbidding technology at their homes: she cannot use her computer. There are, yet, strong reasons to believe in fact Katie didn’t do it: because Amish cannot be violent. Until Ellie finds out about a boyfriend of Katie and her brother…
Things get better and better (from the narrative search-for-truth point of view) as the film approaches end. When all seems clarified (the baby died of a natural cause, an infection) and Ellie is about to leave the farm …she finds out about the role of Sarah in cutting the umbilical cord with the missing scissors. What next, now? Maybe forgiveness.
A great story; an inside view of the Amish mind. (less)