Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Princess of Mars

I just finished reading Edgar Rice Burrough's novel "A Princess of Mars". It's based on the adventures of John Carter, an American Civil War veteran and his otherworldly exploits

It was written in 1911 and published in 1912, and despite the age I found it to be a cracking good read. Burroughs wrote this as a pulp novel so don't expect Shakespeare.

I can see how John Carter along with Flash Gordon and Dune were obvious influences on Star Wars - from the fanciful names such as Jeds, Padwars and Jeddaks - to the desert setting, different alien races, giant arena battles with hero pitted against an array of alien beasts, etc.

It's fascinating to think that this was first published almost one hundred years ago. In fact Andrew Stanton of Pixar fame is prepping a movie version for release in 2o12 in time for the centenary of the book series.

The book's copyright has lapsed so you can read it for free. I read it using Stanza on my iPhone - a great ebook reader that lets you download the books directly to your personal library. Yes, reading books on the iPhone is actually a pleasure - something I was initially skeptical of. No wonder the Kindle is doing great business.... but that's another story.

You can also grab "A Princess of Mars" online from Project Gutenberg here.

If you're a sci-fi fan with an interest in where the genre began then I recommend having a read.



Pete Mullins said...

Welcome to Barsoom! I've been a fan of Carter since I was a kid.

It's interesting to read how many people have tried to bring his story to the screen. Melies, George Pal and Harryhausen have all taken the story to various stages of pre-production. I think for a long time it was, much like the Lord of the Rings, considered to be un-filmable.

When I initially heard of Pixar's involvement with the project I must admit I felt a little worried. When I discovered that they were going to approach it as a realistic live action venture, I took heart.
Anyway...fingers crossed...

Now I'm going to have to motivate you to give Mr. Robert E. Howard a go next....

Passfield Games said...

Now I know what you were talking about. I will check out Howard next.

By the way, Stanton is on loan to Disney from Pixar - so it will be a more mature non-Pixar film according to the internet (so you know it has to be true!)