Emily's Reviews > A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
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's review
Mar 11, 2012

really liked it
Read in March, 2012

I'm rereading this series because of the movie coming out this week, and I'm being a bit generous with a 4 star rating just because of the age of the book; published in 1912 it's among the earliest speculative fiction and is a classic I grew up with. Really there's very little plot at all; the story centers around civil war hero John Carter, mysteriously transported to Mars (aka Barsoom) where he happily finds himself in possession of near-superhuman strength due to the weaker gravity of Mars. He moves from one battle or crisis to another, winning friends with his fighting skills, and there really isn't much to the plot beyond that; just John Carter valiantly and usually single-handedly fighting various villains of Mars in various different locations with a sketchy plot to explain his presence. The men are all strong, chivalrous, and brave; the women are all beautiful, virtuous, and loyal; and the villains are all black-hearted, shifty-eyed, and vicious. No surprises here, and throughout the series Burroughs is frequently inconsistent within his own universe which can be annoying (for example remembering that the Mars year is twice the length of the Earth year only when convenient; or having John Carter waste a day or more failing to choose which is the correct path to take to follow the princess, despite having his martian hound Woola by his side who could presumably have smelled the correct path in seconds, etc etc). Nonetheless it's one of the earliest written novels set on another planet, and a remarkable imagination considering the time it was written. Pulp fiction it is, but classic pulp fiction and sometimes charming in its archaic style.
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