Water Cooler – Saturday Art, John Carter Of Mars!
Usually on Saturday’s I leave the Art posts to others but I have just finished reading three of my all time favorite books and I have decided that I would like to share them with you.
The are the first three Martian books by Edgar Rice Burroughs; A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars and The Warlord of Mars. Written in 1912, 1913 and 1914 respectively they are some of the classics of Science Fiction.
The short novels follow John Carter of Virginia, a man who does not age and can not remember his childhood. In the first book he is translated to Mars by unknown forces and finds himself naked next to a hatchery of Green Martian eggs.
Thus begin his adventures on the Red planet. The tale of the books are all told from Carters perspective and take him from the dead sea bottoms to the Towers of Helium to the South and North Poles.
In his adventures he runs into the various races of Mars, the bestial Green Men, the decdent Red Men, the Yellow haired White Men, the Black Men (who are the ultimate religious rulers of mars) and finally the Yellow Men of the North Pole.
Being written nearly 100 years ago the books not only provide a wonderful adventure romp but a little insight into the thinking of people of that time. While Carter is willing to be allies with anyone that will help him, he is totally judgmental about all of the races that he meets.
None seem to live up to his standards, which says more than a little about Burroughs thinking. I don’t think that Burroughs would have classed himself as a bigot, but just as fish probably aren’t aware of water, I think that Burroughs was not aware of his own prejudices, even though he took a huge chance by writing about characters that were not White.
The stories themselves show a huge amount of imagination. The world of Mars that he constructs is vivid and violent. It has many flying machines and even air navies. Each of the peoples of Mars has its own set of traits that make them unique beyond the color of their skin. The Green men have four arms and so do many of the creatures of the planet, Yellow Men are hiding from the rest of Mars and live domes.
Not to spoil things if you have never read them, but Cater has some advantages that help him in his quests. Martians tend to be telepathic and Carter is as well, but he has the special ability to read all minds, without them knowing and his mind is completely shielded to such arts.
He also is stronger in all ways because of the grater gravity of the Earth. This lets him get out of situations that those born on Mars can not even hope to beat. Which is not to say that everything goes his way, not by a long shot. He is beaten, stabbed, thrown to the ground and generally mangled several times. It is only the superior Martian medicine that allows him to keep going from one scrape to the next.
If you have ever enjoyed cliff hangers and want to read some truly great books from the dawn of science fiction, these are the books for you!
What is on your minds tonight Firedogs? The floor is yours!