Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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 landscape of popular pulp fiction. It had an unholy popularity and we STILL follow the same formula in modern literature, although it now often takes a number of twists.

The writing itself isn't bad. And if we ignore the actual ecology of Mars, it's cool to watch the strength of an Earthling pull off Superman heroics on the Barsoomians (Martians). Being honorable and being daring counts for a lot with the culture, and earning long-term friends makes this a feel-good tale.

Honestly, it just feels like a post-Civil War Western, and indeed, Eric Carter had come from exactly this tradition before being transported to the alien desert to start his interesting career. :)

I'm surprised how much I DID like it. I wanted to tear it to shreds, honestly, because I've never really enjoyed this kind of campy brawn BS. But here I am, enjoying it anyway. :)

Life is strange.

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