Saturday, September 6, 2014

Free Science Fantasy Resource For The OSR Warriors Of The Red Planet Beta Retro Clone -Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation


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 My recent brush with Warriors Of The Red Planet system is going to be winding down and my players would like me to continue the campaign with the Beta system.
I'm looking into a slightly different take then the usual Barsoomian hi jinks. So I began to look back to Edwin L. Arnold's creation Leut. Gulliver Jones : His Vacation.
The book has lots to recommend it, Gullivar Jones isn't John Carter and preceded the Virginian to the shores of  the dying world by quite a while.
According to Wiki : 
Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation is a novel by Edwin Lester Arnold combining elements of both fantasy and science fiction, first published in 1905. The last of Arnold's novels, its lukewarm reception led him to stop writing fiction. It has since become his best known work, and is considered important in the development of 20th century science fiction in that it is a precursor and likely inspiration to Edgar Rice Burroughs's classic A Princess of Mars (1917), which spawned the sword and planet genre.

The concept of a military man going to Mars, exploring strange civilizations and falling in love with a princess had been explored as far back as Across the Zodiac (1880), but the connections between Gullivar and John Carter, the protagonist of Burroughs' Barsoom novels, are more numerous and stronger. Burroughs' novels bears a number of striking similarities to Arnolds'. Both Carter and Gullivar are military men – Carter serving in the Confederate Army; Jones in the US Navy – who arrive on Mars by apparently magical means (astral projection in the case of the former, magic carpet in the case of the latter) and have numerous adventures there, including falling in love with Martian princesses. Gullivar is a more hapless character, however, paling beside the heroic and accomplished Carter; he stumbles in and out of trouble and never quite succeeds in mastering it. The fact that Gullivar does not quite defeat his enemies or get the girl in the end helps explain why Arnold's Martian saga was not as popular as Burroughs', which eventually extended to eleven volumes.
Richard A. Lupoff, the first critic to argue for the connection of the two works, has suggested that while Burroughs' Mars was inspired by Arnold's, his hero may harken back to an earlier Arnold creation, the ancient warrior Phra from his first novel,The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician (1890).
 I've been recently rereading Across the Zodiac for references for an upcoming Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure and found it, while very interesting and entertaining a bit wanting in spots. 

Using Leut. Gulliver's Vacation 
 For Your Old School Campaigns 

Because of the nature of the hero of the book I have been far more sympathetic in my old age to Jones then Mr. Carter. There some very interesting monsters, tribes, ideas, and trappings from the book that can be transported to a campaign Mars quite easily. 
In fact the Warriors of the Red Planet system has most of them already weaved into the background of the game itself. 
There are several hooks throughout the book that can be exploited for further adventuring upon Jone's Mars. The entire book could easily be connected to a Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom with easy. 
 Gulliver Jones on Barsoom by Den Valdron adapts quite a bit of the two novels together. And its available right over HERE 
Dynamite Entertainment which seems to do everything Barsoomian created a comic pitting the two heroes together back in February of 2012. Hmmmm 

From HERE  originally
When Lt. Guillivar Jones happens upon a mysterious old man with a beautiful carpet he soon finds himself transported through space and time to the planet Mars where he meets the beautiful Princess Hera and a ferocious tribe of Red Martians bent on capturing her!  Warriors of Mars is written by Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom writer Robert Napton, drawn by Jack Jadson, with covers by the legendary Joe Jusko. Even though I love Joe Jusko's art. 
I can't speak for this comic mini series though but I personally prefer the 1977 classic adaptation of Gullivar Jones. The Marvel adaptation has many elements that are indicative of the Warriors of the Red Planet system. From great depictions of Mentalists to Fighting Men there are all right there with some fantastic classic Creatures On The Loose artwork.

According to Wiki : 

Marvel Comics adapted the character for the comic book feature "Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars" in Creatures on the Loose #16–21 (March 1972 – Jan. 1973), initially by writer Roy Thomas and the art team of Gil Kane and Bill Everett, and later written by Gerry Conway, followed by science fiction novelist George Alec Effinger. The series moved to Marvel's black and white magazine, Monsters Unleashed No. 4 and No. 8 (1974), written by Tony Isabella with art by David Cockrum andGeorge Pérez. Marvel's version modernized the setting, recasting Gullivar as a Vietnam War veteran. Though this official adaptation used many of Arnold's characters and concepts, it was not a strict adaptation of the original book.
 The original appearance of both John Carter and Gullivar Jones happens in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen according to Wiki: 
Both Gullivar and John Carter make an appearance at the beginning of Volume II in Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comic book series.

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