adventures in dysthymia

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Princess of Mars ~ book review

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

With the recent release of the ‘John Carter’ movie, I decided to revisit ‘A Princess of Mars.’ Not for the first time – I’m sure I’ve given this book a half-dozen or more readings since I first discovered it as a preteen, but not in almost twenty years.

I feared that I would be disappointed rereading ‘Princess,’ that the reality would not live up to my memory. I needn’t have — it’s every bit as good as it was when I first read it fifty years ago. Maybe even better. Though I missed the anti-socialist subtext then, at least consciously! Burroughs could certainly spin an imaginative tale and his world creating set the standard for would-be SF writers. Even if it is not scientifically sound at times, it has the detail and consistency necessary for it to seem real.

The central love story, itself, is a bit simplistic and one that ERB revisited frequently in his novels. And, truly, his characters are not exactly complex. That’s okay; the world and its creatures that surrounds Dejah Thoris and John Carter more than makes up for it. Burroughs was a masterful teller of tales, of interweaving plots and daring adventure.

This was where it all started. Without ‘A Princess of Mars’ there would have been no ‘Avatar’ nor hundreds (okay, probably thousands) of other books, movies, and television shows in the century since its first publication. There wouldn’t even have been a ‘Stranger in a Strange Land,’ most likely. Even if you are no fan of this sort of action novel, it’s a worthwhile read as a milepost on the road to modern fantasy and science-fiction.

reposted from my Ranger Reviews blog

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