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A Princess of Mars

(Barsoom #1)

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  55,022 ratings  ·  3,923 reviews
A Princess of Mars is the first of eleven thrilling novels that comprise Edgar Rice Burroughs' most exciting saga, known as The Martian Series. It's the beginning of an incredible odyssey in which John Carter, a gentleman from Virginia and a Civil War veteran, unexpectedly finds himself on to the red planet, scene of continuing combat among rival tribes. Captured by a band ...more
Paperback, 186 pages
Published January 30th 2007 by Penguin Books (first published February 7th 1912)
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W.T. Keeton "A Princess of Mars" is an gook for anyone from 10-12 up while retaining appeal to readers of any age. While the story is simple enough on the surface…more"A Princess of Mars" is an gook for anyone from 10-12 up while retaining appeal to readers of any age. While the story is simple enough on the surface to serve as a good old-fashioned adventure to inspire young boys to dream, introducing them to concepts like honor and heroism, it also has more depth than it is typically credited as having. As an adult, I admire the story because it is a wonderful window into the psyche of ERB himself. This is true for the Barsoom books in general, especially "The Gods of Mars". (less)
Julio Bonilla John Carter, a soldier that served during the Civil War. 🔫

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Will Byrnes
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
Some years back David Bowie asked the musical question, "Is there life on Mars?" Had he read A Princess of Mars he might have known the answer.

Back in the early 60’s I fell in love. Not with a girl, (well, there were one or two cracks opened in that young heart, but we do not speak of that now) but with reading. And the brazen hussy that led me down that path was none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs. Of course there were others, all vying for my immature attention, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov
2.5 stars. I know, I know. I can hear you out there saying “2.5 stars for one of the ALL TIME PULP SF CLASSICS" and looking at me like I just made a mess on the floor.
Rest assured, I'm not trying to drop gastronomical "leftovers" in the PULP SF punch bowl and my rating does not indicate a dislike for the book. As mentioned below, I was probably between 3 and 4 stars on the book EXCEPT FOR ONE THING THAT DROVE ME BAT SHIT NUTSO. So please let me explain my rating before you begin planning to
Mar 25, 2012 rated it liked it
A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs was not the book that transformed Burroughs into a publishing success, that honor belongs to Tarzan of the Apes.

However, this was the book, published in 1912 that effectively began a career that would change the face of American literature in various genres from then on. The stamp of Burroughs influence can be seen in the works of Heinlein, Clarke, Bradbury and countless others as well as film and television. Flash Gordon used the Barsoom series as a t
Old-school pulpy goodness. Fun classic full of manly adventures and good cheesy romance between an awesomely manly man John Carter (did I mention manly?) and a scantily-clad beautiful (and at necessary times appropriately helpless) princess Dejah Thoris among the red landscapes of Mars Barsoom.
And let's not forget John Carter's favorite Barsoomian "dog" Woola. Who in my head, thanks to the otherwise forgettable movie, will always look like this insanely adorable menacing monster-cutie - SQUEEEE
Jason Koivu
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
A Princess of Mars is a forerunner in the sci-fi genre and as such some of the science herein is off. On the other hand, one has to be impressed with the guesswork a fictional novelist made regarding living conditions on another planet, considering he was writing at a time prior to space exploration. Hell, this was written a mere nine years after the first flight by man.

The real reason this didn't resonate with me had to do with the story's hero, John Carter. He's just too good at everything to
mark monday

John Carter travels to Barsoom to live, love, and fight amongst the Green Men, the Red Men, and the White Apes! his Earthman physique combined with Barsoomian gravity means he's incredibly strong and can jump like a giant-sized super-grasshopper!

John Carter arrives there nekkid! everyone is nekkid! they only wear weapons and ornaments! the Red Race knows what Earthers look like and they think all the clothing we wear is apalling and disgusting! i agree!

Lately I've been in the mood for sci-fi novels and I've been meaning to read this cult classic, published in 1912. This is old, and certainly not the usual deep-minded sci-fi work, it has more adventure elements, mixing pulp fantasy and western genre, the progenitor to modern star wars. I have the impression that this book didn't age as ideally and is kinda outdated but still is an interesting reading experience. At the same time, it is kinda wacky and bizarre, but fun and will get you hooked.

Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fantasy, audiobooks

Transcript from the John Carter sessions
(from the files of Dr. Wm (Bill) Loney, Doctor of Psychiatry)

Carter: So where were we last time, doc?

Doctor: We were talking about representations of things that are ideals for you, and how they are expressed in imaginative fantasies.

Carter: What was that?

Doctor: (sighs) You were telling me about Barsoom and your adventures there.

Carter: Yeah... that's right. I traveled there, you know? It's Mars, actually.

Doctor: How did you know it was Mars?

Carter: There
Mar 20, 2008 rated it liked it
It can be said at the outset that Burroughs was not a very deep nor a very disciplined writer. His disdain for research often shows in his work, and it does here; and in his science fiction (he would write voluminously in this genre --this novel sparked a series, and he produced two other popular sci-fi series as well) consistent and well-thought world building wasn't his strength. For instance, his Martian children incubate in eggs and hatch only when they're able to eat solid food --but his Ma ...more
I had fun reading this adventure tale. There is nothing serious here, only adventure fun. Edgar had a great imagination and he bring a new planet to life in this portal fantasy.

When John Carter the movie came out I saw it in theatres and loved it. I thought it was great. It was poorly marketed at the time. I think the movie pieced the story together in a great way and I love it. I think the book is good, and I prefer the movie. I'm glad I read this classic. The story is over a hundred years old
Jan 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-lit, sci-fi
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 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 righ
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2020-shelf
Way back in 1912, Burroughs of Tarzan fame make a big manly adventure on the desert-like Martian landscape with warriors like alien American Indians while saving buxom alien maidens.

Does this sound silly?

It should. It has been mimicked thousands of times over the years and found great fame and infamy during the later Golden Age of SF, cheesy TV dramas of all flavors, including SF, F, and especially Westerns.

HOWEVER... a special place should be set aside for this work. It DID transform the landsc
This reminded me of 'Flash Gordon conquers the universe' and similar shows that I used to watch on TV on Saturday mornings as a child, presumably the people who made such films grew up reading stories like this. In the same way as those shows, although they had rocket ships (apparently powered by sparklers),they also featured magic amulets and spells. This isn't so much science fiction as fantastic fiction which is sciency in that the action takes place on Mars but the hero gets there and back a ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I can't even pretend to be objective about. I know it's flawed -- it was Burroughs' first novel, and it's occasionally a bit sloppy, entirely too reliant on coincidence, and (remembering that it was first published in 1912) has a couple of, shall we say, uncomfortable ethnic depictions (relatively mild, but they're there). But.




Barsoom is my absolute favorite imaginary world -- a world of giant, four-armed savage green hordes, noble warriors and beautiful m
Charles  van Buren
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of Burroughs' best novels, July 31, 2016

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This review is from: A Princess of Mars (Kindle Edition)

In this first volume in the John Carter of Mars series, one of America's (and the world's) best adventure writers turned to science fiction and produced one of his most enduring and copied works. Ok, it postulates intelligent life on Mars. Remember that Burroughs began his Martian adventures before WW1, when the possibility of such life on Mars was still taken seriously. If it bot
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Maybe even 4.5 - I really enjoyed this and I plan to read the rest of the series. This must have been very creative for the time it was written.
Richard Derus
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Rating: 3* of five

The Book Review: No one ever nominated Burroughs for the Nobel Prize.

The Movie Review: Seriously, what was all the butt-hurt over this movie about? Yeah, the title stank. Shoulda called it Barsoom and had done with it. The hunky young actor who played John Carter wasn't likely to get an Academy nod. Dejah-Thoris was mildly pretty. The f/x were just fine, and that leaves the script, which was every bit as finely crafted as the book.

It was perfectly acceptable summer-afternoon wa
May 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
Let's not try and pretend that Princess of Mars is some kind of unique trailblazing original that Science fiction and fantasy writing owes some huge debt to. Authors had been writing about Sci-fi concepts involving other worlds and other cultures for a long time, and as early as the 17th Century we have an example (The Blazing World) of a writer imagining another world full of beasts and bird-men, whose entrance is located at the North Pole. Popular Victorian author Edgar Bulwer Lytton wrote abo ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, classics
It's hard to classify this book, both in terms of genre and quality. There is no doubt that Burroughs is an important, influential and remarkably talented writer (the writing itself is extraordinarily good sometimes), and overall, this is a book that I am very glad that I read.

On the other hand, it has not aged well. While it contains many fun and interesting elements, it has been so widely surpassed in almost every single area by all the brilliant masterpieces of fantasy and science fiction tha
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'A Princess of Mars' is the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs 'Barsoom' books, set on a mythical Mars, and the first introduction of the character of John Carter, 'Warlord of Mars', 'the greatest Swordsman of two worlds', and something a demigod of war himself. It is a giant in the history of science fiction, fantasy, and modern superhero stories, and a rollicking good adventure story filled with wonder and imagination. Modern 'Swords and Sorcery' and 'Space Opera' are both deeply indebted to this w ...more
Megan Baxter
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
I came to this having enjoyed the terribly-named movie version much more than I had expected. Not deep, but pulpy fun. (Seriously, John Carter? "A Princess of Mars" was too girly? "John Carter of Mars" might have, what, given the impression it takes place on Mars?!?) I didn't know how much of the book had made it into the movie, but I was hoping for some of the same kind of pulpy fun from this.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement
RJ - Slayer of Trolls
The plot sounds like that of a portal fantasy: man falls asleep in a desert cave and wakes up in a different world with strange customs and creatures (but, nevertheless, a cooperative ecosystem), quickly masters the local language and weapons, successfully woos a beautiful humanoid princess, and finally unites some warlike tribes to win a huge swashbuckling victory over the bad guys to the great joy and celebration of the masses. Except this story takes place on Mars (or "Barsoom" in the local p ...more
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Some thoughts on A PRINCESS OF MARS:

I really want a Woola.

Tars Tarkas is a total badass.

Saddest ending to a sci fi book? Quite possibly!

The JOHN CARTER movie was a remarkably faithful adaptation.

John Carter, the character, is less of a Mary Sue than I thought he would be.

This book is an amazing combination of really awesome science fiction and Victorian novel.

No, really.

John Carter is very much a 19th century gentlemen, and yet he deals with the four-armed, green-skinned Martians with great aplo
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars marks a milestone in my career as a reader. Like Scout Finch, I cannot remember not being able to read, so I’ve got a lifetime of reading under my belt, but for the first time now, with A Princess of Mars, I have read a book in an electronic format.

It seems rather late for me, doesn’t it? What with Nooks and Kindles and iPads and the Internet being around for so long already, but I just haven’t warmed up to the idea of reading books electronically. I read
Leonard Mokos
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The first three books of the series are in fact a complete trilogy. One that has endured for a century, and rightfully so, but if action and adventure novels are common enough, what is the lasting appeal of these books? Simple: Honour & loyalty. Essential qualities of character. I am finding in the home brood that the internet generation are missing, and lacking, these seeds. Books like these, themes like these, have shaped me. Read them. Put them into your kid's hands and no, they won't die if ...more
Edgar Rice Burroughs' 1912 novel "A Princess of Mars" is a brilliant, wonderful piece of literature. That it is still just as good one hundred years after it was written is testament to just how good a writer Burroughs was. What would it be like to be transported to another planet without a spaceship, guns, or even clothes? What would it be like to be plopped all alone in an alien culture with nothing to rely on but one's wits, strength, agility, courage, and ethics? What would that world be lik ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Though indisputably an early seminal work in the genre I don't think most modern readers would find much compelling here. Given its generally juvenile nature it's unsurprising this was made into a movie by Disney. If you're familiar with Tarzan, you could think of this as Tarzan goes to Mars. On the plus side, it was maybe slightly less cornball than expected, though not by much. ...more
Lynne King
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
There were very good reviews of this book by Edgar Rice Burroughs and, as it looked to be such an interesting subject, I couldn’t wait to read the book. My expectations were high.

I’ve always been interested in space, planets and the stars, and purchased a rather splendid telescope about six months ago so that I could enjoy this “hobby” of mine even more. Nothing just gives me greater pleasure than looking out over the foothills and distant mountains, and at the stars. It’s magical. I then though
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a good pulp novel from the Golden Era. For the first half of the book, I was totally hooked. John Carter, a former Confederate soldier and prospector, falls into weird dream that has him waking up on Mars -- without a stitch on. Burroughs loves his primitives. Carter soon discovers he can jump extreme distances, and knock out 12 foot giant insects and apes with a one punch. It's an atmosphere thing, but one that he me wondering if Carter was some sort of early Earth version of Superman. ...more
Elijah Meeks
Feb 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Mars series of Burroughs are classic adventure novels and their setting on the dying Red Planet allows Burroughs to move away from the racialist dogma found in the Tarzan series. While falling into a classic paradigm of the great hero who overawes and out-competes the "natives", it contains such moments of great humanity, even for people who have four arms and tusks, that I always find it uplifting. The style of Burroughs' adventure writing has always appealed to me and his stories create a ...more
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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 13 books)
  • 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)
  • Synthetic Men of Mars (Barsoom, #9)
  • Llana of Gathol (Barsoom, #10)
  • John Carter of Mars (Barsoom, #11)

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