Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Synthetic Men of Mars (Barsoom, #9)” as Want to Read:
Synthetic Men of Mars (Barsoom, #9)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book

Synthetic Men of Mars

(Barsoom #9)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,804 ratings  ·  80 reviews
John Carter desperately needed the aid of Barsoom's greatest scientist, Ras Thavas, who is now a prisoner of a nightmare army of his own creation.
Mass Market Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 12th 1980 by Del Rey (first published 1939)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Synthetic Men of Mars, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Synthetic Men of Mars

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,804 ratings  ·  80 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jun 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Edgar Rice Burroughs had this problem in all of his series: After a while, the quality of the books would start to slip -- maybe he was getting bored or maybe he'd just start repeating himself. Arguably, this is where the Mars series begins its downhill slide (which means that, percentage-wise, John Carter has less dross than the other major series -- Tarzan, Venus and Pellucidar).

This book is again narrated from the perspective of a native Barsoomian, Vor Daj, who accompanies John C
Although not generally well-thought of compared with other ERB stories set on Barsoom, this is a personnal favorite aside from the openning sequence of the first three John Carter books. How can you resist a character grown in a culture vat, whose name Tor-Dur-Bar means four-million-eight, and whom the hero first encounters as a severed head which complains it can't see from where it is being carried in a net strapped to the back of a giant man-carrying bird?!?

Especially, when later
Aug 22, 2011 rated it liked it
"Synthetic Men of Mars" is the 9th of 11 books in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series. It first appeared serially in "Argosy Magazine" in early 1939, and is one of the most way-out entries in the Carter series. The book may be seen as a sequel of sorts to book #6, "The Master Mind of Mars," in that Ras Thavas, the eponymous superbrain of that earlier work, here makes a return, and the bulk of the action once again takes place in the dismal and forbidding Toonolian Marshes of Barsoom ...more
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Told from the perspective of Vor Daj, companion of John Carter as they search for Ras Thavas, the only surgeon on Mars who can help the injured Dejah Thoris. The two of them fall into the hands of the Hormads, creatures created by Thavas in vats on an island in the great Toonolian Marshes.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing, one only needs to read the previous John Carter books to make sense of it. All of these names and places stem from the previous tales.

Burroughs see
Adrian Colesberry
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved this whole series. It's pretty sexual and macho and they're all massive page-turners.

Same review for each.
Roddy Williams
John Carter, Mighty Warlord of Mars, rides to new and terrifying adventures.

Captured by deadly warriors mounted on huge birds he is taken to the ill-omened city of Morbus.
There he meets Ras Thavas, evil genius and master surgeon. A man who has succeeded in his nightmare wish of creating life in his own beings – creatures that ultimately rebel and threaten the lives of Ras Thavas, of John Carter and of all Mars.

Blurb to the 1973 NEL paperback edition.

Using more or less the same plot as ‘A Pri
Mary Catelli
This is the tale of one Vor Daj. John Carter went in search of Ras Tavas, and yielding to pleas, brought along one soldier. They quickly find that finding him will not be easy.

Indeed, they are taken prisoner, along with some others, include one woman, and taken to the city, encircled by marshes, where they find that Ras Thavas is the prisoner of his own synthetic men, and forced to produce more and more of the virtually unkillable monsters. And to transplant the brains of the most po
John Lawson
Dejah Thoris is having personal, lady troubles, so John Carter hooks up with a random bro to help him find Barsoom's greatest mad scientist. Shub-Niggurath ensues.

So the old "beauty = good/ugly = evil" trope gets the full treatment here. So imagine the poor hero's consternation when his gentlemanly brain is stuffed into an ugly body, and he's so ashamed that he's unable to confess his love for a beautiful princess. In fact, he even considers suicide.

Will she discover her
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good

I do love these stories. No great explanations of whether a thing is really possible, just very good story telling.
Jeremy Michael Gallen
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This tale of Barsoom opens with a chapter indicating the fate of the mad scientist Ras Thavas, who is exiled to an island, and The Warlord of Mars, John Carter, seeking his assistance due to his consort Dejah Thoris being involved in an accident and becoming comatose. As with a few of its predecessors, Synthetic Men of Mars introduces a new character as a narrator (except the first chapter), Vor Daj, who sets of for Phundahl with Carter. The party quickly encounters men astride the avian malagor ...more
Stephen Herczeg
Jul 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Probably not the best book to choose as my first "John Carter" book, but I found it at a book sale, bought it and decided to read it.
Wow. An action packed story, with a very interesting writing style, and some loopy science-fantasy. I won't called it Science Fiction cause I don't think it belongs in that category.
The plot concentrated more on John Carter's off-sider Vor Daj and involved a strange cloning technique that was more about growing sub-humans in vats than cloning.
It w
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The mad Scientist, Ras Thavis, of "The Mastermind of Mars" is back; this time he has created a monstrosity that could engulf all of Mars, after creating an army of hormads - synthetic men. John Carter is seeking him out, believing that he is the only one who can heal Dejah Thoris of a horrible injury. The story is told from the viewpoint of Carter's lieutenant, Vor Daj, who has his brain transferred to a hormad head as the plot develops.
James Troxell
It's one of the weaker Barsoom books. But the mad science is fun and it's a short enjoyable romp.
Hannah Russell
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
You know, it was pretty good for a John Carter book. Bringing back old characters (which this book rarely does), changing up the plot and main character a bit. I'm impressed.
Stephen Robertson
fast read, man gets brain transplaned into ugly alien.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining and original. A step up from the previous book in the series in imagination.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since the character of Ras Thavas was featured in both the John Carter volumes I absolutely did not enjoy (THE MASTER MIND OF MARS and JOHN CARTER OF MARS), I was not looking forward to seeing him return, which is why I put off reading SYNTHETIC MEN OF MARS until the very end. Turns out, though, my dread for this novel was misplaced. The ridiculous body-swapping element from MASTER MIND is still present, but this time Burroughs uses it in a fun, memorable sort of way. I wouldn't call it a good n ...more
Mar 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: free-ebook
In this book, we meet again Ras Thavas, the Master Mind of Mars, whose latest invention, the vat-grown synthetic men or hormads, have gotten out of his control and taken over his base, the island city of Morbus in the marshes of Toonol. John Carter has need of the Master Mind's surgical skill to save the life of Dejah Thoris, who has been injured in a flier accident (offstage; we never meet her in this book). Thus he sets out to search for Ras Thavas with Vor Daj, the narrator of the story.
Joe Aguiar
Apr 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Synthetic Men of Mars is the 9th book in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian Tales and it is also one of the best of the latter part of the series. The story opens with John Carter's beloved Dejah Thoris being gravely injured in an accident and Carter sets out with faithful padawan, Vor Daj to find the Mastermind of Mars, Ras Thavas to use his surgical genius to save her. They find Thavas after being captured and brought to Morbus, an island in the middle of the Great Toonolian Marshes, where Thavas i ...more
Robert Saunders
Feb 07, 2008 rated it liked it
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'
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, absurd, sf, fantasy, badfic
Johncarterus ex machina like nobody's biz; the pacing is like Burroughs got sick of writing about the privations of a Noble White-I-Mean-Red Martian dude stuck in a (functional, efficient, healthy) fug body but he didn't want to work out a plot mechanism to get out of it so he just threw good ol' J-Car on the page and had him fix everything.

The theme/subject matter had simultaneously the most potential and the least utility of any of the Barsoom books so far. The degree of disgust Bu
John Cairns
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
The edition I read is 450011674, New English Library, 1972

Bad food is specified as animal tissue.

It's humorous: 'I had met a strange girl ...and for the first time ...I had fallen in love and almost within the hour I had lost her.' Manufacture of the synthetic men has not been completely accomplished. 'What good shall I be with only a head and one leg?' 'I found my fellow guardsmen a stupid, egotistical lot of morons.' '"You don't think , do you, she would choose you, a monster in p
Feb 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is book 9 of Burroughs' Barsoom (Mars) series. The story was originally published in Argosy Magazine, during 1938-1939. Burroughs started the series in 1917, and this book was written 22 years later, after his fame had been well established for a generation. It's a reunion of a few established characters, but mostly the adventure of Vor Daj, a young guard serving John Carter, the Warlord of Mars. Shortly after the action begins, Vor's brain is transplanted into the body of a vat-bred brute ...more
Dec 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, kindle
This serves the purpose of diverting the mind from more serious if tedious reading. Alas, the vigour of the earlier Barsoomian stories has grown attenuated and repetitive in this book. Still it has its moments, one almost Swiftian, in which Burroughs mocks the pretensions of some aspects of society which he knew.

I have noticed as I read through this series that Burroughs becomes more explicit and suggestive as he goes along. In the first several books, no hint of prurience is tolerated and it i
This was my second read of Burrough's novel; the last time was in the 1970s! This time I read it in anticipation of the pending nominations for the 1941 RetroHugos for this year at MidAmericonII.

A fun adventure story (with a little romance), new readers to Burroughs need to read with the time period of the book's writing in mind. No, you won't think everything is "politically correct"; but simply appreciate the good changes that have happened since 1940 and move on to the adventure o
Stephen Brooke
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Typical of Burroughs's later Barsoom novels, 'Synthetic Men of Mars' is more slowly paced, with its characters spending more time plotting than sword-fighting. It remains inventive, even if the science part of the science fiction here is often a bit preposterous. ERB, as usual, manages to throw in his social commentary -- the dry humor involved sometimes works, sometimes comes off as heavy-handed.

An enjoyable enough escapist read, SMOM is not the equal of the early Barsoom work. The
May 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
A return to the scene of Mastermind of Mars. There's a little body-swapping, plus clone warfare and a gray goo scenario. The romance this time has a strong "beauty's only skin deep" theme, which (like book 7) represents a welcome twist relative to the love-at-first-sight plot driver otherwise so prevalent on Barsoom. But this wasn't in the top half of the series. There's nothing very complicated or interesting about the plot. Stupidity is a repeated motif. The discussion of air traffic patterns ...more
Bill Zodanga
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another wild Martian tale from the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs. John Carter is in this one but he is not front and center. Dejah Thoris is back in Helium with a broken back and John Carter has gone in search of Ras Thevas (The Master Mind of Mars) to heal her. But he's up to his eyeballs(literally) in synthesizing grotesque humanoids for an army. Burroughs always gets me to turn the page no matter how outlandish his tales.
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it
It's the Barsoom series, so this is pretty par for the course. Like many of the others, an interesting read, albeit somewhat predictable. However, the plot line is enough to keep me reading, and will not deter me from reading the last two in the series. What is interesting about this series is how Burroughs finds ways to bring new life to past characters and his ability to simply create a new species of people for the purposes of a new book. It works. It's formulaic, but it works.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Star Light
  • Sinister Barrier
  • The City of the Beast or Warriors of Mars (Michael Kane 1)
  • Almuric
  • A Knight of Ghosts and Shadows
  • Planets of Adventure
  • Space Viking
  • Lord Of Thunder (Beast Master / Hosteen Storm, #2)
  • In Paul Klee's Enchanted Garden
  • Seas of Venus (Seas of Venus, #1-2)
  • The Reavers of Skaith  (The Book of Skaith, #3)
  • The Spoils of War (The Damned, #3)
  • Sunborn (Chaos Chronicles, #4)
  • The Right to Arm Bears (Dilbia, #1-2)
  • Lucky Starr and the Oceans of Venus (Lucky Starr, #3)
  • Goat Girls (Weetzie Bat, #2-3)
  • The Repairman
  • A Plague of Demons & Other Stories
See similar books…
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.

Other books in the series

Barsoom (1 - 10 of 11 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)
  • The Master Mind of Mars (Barsoom #6)
  • A Fighting Man of Mars (Barsoom #7)
  • Swords of Mars (Barsoom, #8)
  • Llana of Gathol (Barsoom, #10)
  • John Carter of Mars (Barsoom #11)