For the hundredth anniversary of the original release of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the pages of The All-Story magazine, the Library of America has released a beautiful centennial small hardcover edition of the book. It features a strong and powerful introduction from bestselling author Junot Diaz, as he discusses the merits as well as the failings and strong racist overtones of the book.
John Carter is a man who has served his time and is looking for gold in the Arizona hills. In a specific cave he is miraculously transported to the distant planet of Mars where he doesn’t find a barren world, but one that is alive and diverse and complex. He soon discovers that with the lesser gravity on the planet he possess a sort of super-power in being able to make great leaps and strides in a single bound. He becomes involved in the political machinations of the planet, and finds himself fighting in a war he is all too familiar with. Then there is the beautiful Dejah Thoris, the red-skinned Princess of Helium, who he helps in any way he can for he is quite taken with her.
The story very much feels one that was written a hundred years ago with skin color being so important and how women serve simple roles in these societies, but if one is able to ignore this and get past it, there is a great adventure story at the heart in the style of Indiana Jones and Errol Flynn.
Originally written on July 17, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.
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