Tuesday, January 17, 2023

OSR Thoughts on ' A Princess of Mars' By Edgar Rice Burroughs

 Edgar Rice Burroughs is a writer whose been with me as a kid since the day I was born. There wasn't a day that went by when his books weren't in my room. So I have no real idea when I read  'A Princess of Mars'. To say that Barsoom is an important fictional place within my younger years goes without saying. What is it that draws me back into Burroughs Mars?! The love story of John Carter, the alien vistas, the violence or the sword play, ERB's writing style or is something more?! 

What is it that draws me back across the dead sea bottoms or the mist haunted ruined palaces of the former rulers & kings. The fierce multi limbed Green Martains capableof violence that rivals their Red men counterparts. The Green Martians remain a favorite alien race; "The Green Martians are 15 feet tall, Burroughs wrote, adding from John Carter's observation of newly hatched children,

They seemed mostly head, with little scrawny bodies, long necks and six legs, or, as I afterward learned, two legs and two arms, with an intermediary pair of limbs which could be used at will either as arms or legs. Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also independently of each other, thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction, or in two directions at once, without the necessity of turning the head.

The ears, which were slightly above the eyes and closer together, were small, cup-shaped antennae, protruding not more than an inch on these young specimens. Their noses were but longitudinal slits in the center of their faces, midway between their mouths and ears.

There was no hair on their bodies, which were of a very light yellowish-green color....

They are nomadic, warlike, and barbaric; do not form families; have discarded concepts of friendship and affection (presumably in the name of survival); and enjoy torture. Their social structure is communal and rigidly hierarchical, with various levels of chiefs. The highest rank is the all-powerful Jeddak, who reaches this position through combat. They are tribal, and war among one another."

So what is it that makes me once again fall back to the works of ERB?! The fact that even though I know each & every chapter of 'A Princess of Mars', the ancient world of Barsoom is like coming home to a corner of my imagination that I know so well. ERB wrote for the common man & his works are entertainment for the common folks. And it's this point where I think that like Gary Gygax & David Lance Arneson's rpg creation that there's originality within Edgar Rice Burroughs's works &   creations. Originality that draws me back again to Burroughs Mars again & again. 

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