Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Princess of Mars

by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)


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!

John Carter is transported to Barsoom from Frontier America directly after a bloody conflict with the dread and savage Red Man (in this case, the Apache)... and on Barsoom, his adventures involve the alternately warlike and peaceful Red Men, who he views as the closest thing to human. coincidence?

Green Men do not believe in love or friendship or marriage or parenthood. they only laugh when another creature is in its death-agonies. they are a war-like people, to say the least. they also share everything. apparently their customs came from an ancient society based in communalism... dare i say, communism? coincidence?

The Princes of Mars in question is a two-dimensional creation: in love with John Carter except for those predictable moments when predictable misunderstandings occur, a Red Princess of the city-state Helium, beautiful, haughty, brave, a woman of her word, etc, etc. her name is Dejah Thoris.

Burroughs writes clean prose that is easy going down and surprisingly modern in its smooth, no-frills style. this is the opposite of a laborious read. the narrative is perfectly straightforward and the infodumps were relatively pain-free. the characters are enjoyably cartoonish. i read this on my droid over the course of maybe a half-dozen bus rides. a charming experience.

the novel features a cute Barsoomian dog-thing - my favorite character!



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

John Carter arrives there fully clothed! and then he changes into something more revealing! The Red Race also prefer revealing attire!

John Carter spends an inordinately long and tiresome period of time in Frontier America that is nonsensical and bored me to near-sleep. this inordinately lengthy sequence features conflicts with some Native American tribe, some jail time, and some character bits for a completely non-essential supporting character. on Mars, he comes across the "Red Men", who actually are not red at all but look like they spend too much time at some cheap tanning salon. they should be called the Orangey Men.

Green Men are monstrous humanoids. their children are adorable little widgets.

there is a Princess of Mars and she is perhaps the most three-dimensional character in the film: a scientist and a kick ass warrior. she is played by Lynn Collins, who was strangled by a serial killer in the first season of True Blood.

the film is co-written by Michael Chabon! what! the film is directed by Pixar house director Andrew Stanton. i watched a sneak peek of this at Pixar itself, after indulging in a few free drinks at one of the Pixar bars. i got drunk!

the film features a cute Martian dog-thing - my favorite character!

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