Anthony's Reviews > The Gods of Mars

The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
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Feb 18, 11

it was ok
bookshelves: sf-fantasy, sword-and-planet
Read in November, 2009 — I own a copy

Overall, I really enjoy the heck out of these old pulp adventure characters, and John Carter has always been one of my favorites (owing, in part, to the Roy Thomas-scripted, Gil Kane-drawn adaptation that Marvel Comics published in the 70s). All of Burroughs' trademarks are present in the first two books -- the introductory note that implies the events are real, given to Burroughs himself by an intermediary source; the larger-than-life titular character; the lush exotic setting in which the Hero first meets and is disdained by (and later wins the love of) the Damsel-in-Distress. And of course tons of swashbucking adventure and against-all-odds fight scenes.

The second book picks up ten years later. Ten years! Carter has been hiding on Earth all this time, building the fortune he'd left behind so long ago, and hoping to return to Mars but unsure of how to get there. He finally slips the bonds of Earth's gravity and returns, but arrives an an area unfamiliar to him. "The Gods of Mars" is Burroughs' most pointededly topical as far as I can tell. In the time it takes to tell the tale, Carter proves that the belief system shared by all Martians regardless of skin color is a patented lie. Burroughs seems to be saying that any belief in an afterlife is wrong, and he spends an entire book tearing such institutions down. On the upside, we're given the history of Life on Mars and we meet at least two more of the planet's races (the White and Black Martians). There are more amazing fight scenes, and the introduction of a couple of supporting characters who will come to the forefront of the series later on. But of the three initial books, this is the one that plods a bit and feels a touch too long. Of course, there is also a cliff-hanger that once again separates John Carter from Dejah Thoris.
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