Paperback Perils: A Princess of Mars


Title: A Princess of Mars

Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs

Publication Date: 2011

Publishing House: Fall River Press

Despite the publication date above this is not a new book, this is just a more recent publication of an old one and the original publication date wasn’t listed. A Princess of Mars is book one of the Barsoom Series or what is more commonly known as the  John Carter of Mars Series. I looked in my copy of the third book of the series and the publication date is 1913. These books have been around for a while. In some ways Burroughs is the father of the modern science fiction novel. Now, onto the story.

If you have seen the Disney interpretation of the series you might have some idea as to the plot but as always with book to movie adaptations – there is always more that goes untold. John Carter’s story is told in a interesting way, the speaker is reading to us a manuscript given to him by Captain Carter. This manuscript tells about how he first ended up on Mars and his adventures from there. It also tells of his return to Earth and his desire to return to the Red Planet and his princess.

The natives of Mars live on a dry planet and greatly appreciate process in battle. The green Martians do not look anything like a human: two sets of arms, tusks, antenna along with a myriad of other physical differences. The Red Martians look human but with red skin. They share many physical traits with humanity but Carter points out early in the book that there is only one mammal on mars. There are other creatures and beings: some look like great white apes and Carter ends up with what might be considered a dog (personality wise) but it has the resemblance to a giant fierce toad. Burroughs had a good time it seems, creating the people and creatures of Mars.

He depicts Mars as being a planet  where great abandoned cities sit on what was once the shore of now dried seas. The planet is covered in moss. The atmosphere is maintained by the atmosphere plant. Mars is a war torn planet that sits in a delicate balance but despite all of this it is a place of life and joy is to be found there.

I really love this book and writing about it now makes me want to finish the rest of the series that is sitting on my to read bookshelf. Burroughs also wrote the Tarzan series, which I have also read a couple of books from. If you haven’t already I would highly recommend picking up one of his books. They can be difficult to find, most of mine I purchased at used book stores after some searching. Happy reading!

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