Transwarp Tuesday! A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

a princess of marsDarcy and Lizzie in space!


A dying planet criss-crossed by canals – what an inspiration Mars has been for generations of sci-fi writers to imagine the alien species that must once have lived there…or may still. It’s almost sad that advancements in science have destroyed all hope of finding intelligent life on Mars. However this story dates back to 1911, so Burroughs could allow his imagination to run free, making it an ideal choice for…


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A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs


a princess art

He was a splendid specimen of manhood, standing a good two inches over six feet, broad of shoulder and narrow of hip, with the carriage of the trained fighting man. His features were regular and clear cut, his hair black and closely cropped, while his eyes were of steel gray, reflecting a strong and loyal character, filled with fire and initiative. His manners were perfect, and his courtliness was that of a typical southern gentleman of the highest type.

Swoon! It could so easily be a description of my beloved Darcy, couldn’t it, girls? But no…this is John Carter, heroic here on Earth but superheroic once he is mysteriously transported to Mars, in a way that Burroughs leaves entirely unexplained. Which is a good thing, in one way, but sad in another, because the true comic heights of this book are reached when Burroughs tries to explain scientifically what’s going on.

This ray is separated from the other rays of the sun by means of finely adjusted instruments placed upon the roof of the huge building, three-quarters of which is used for reservoirs in which the ninth ray is stored.

Arriving naked on Mars, Carter finds himself captured by huge six-limbed green Martians, also naked, repulsive to look at and vicious by nature. However, endowed with superior strength and agility by the low gravity on Mars, the brave Carter has soon killed enough of these creatures to win their admiration and to be made a chieftain among them. This comes in handy when his Lizzie turns up (naked), in the guise of a red human-like (hence thankfully only four-limbed) Martian, Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. She has been captured by the green Tharks and is soon to be tortured to death for their amusement. But Carter is entranced by the beauty and spirit of Dejah Thoris and, pausing only to sigh over her little hands, fine eyes and precious dimples, sets out to save her and return her to her own (naked) people, the Heliumites. But, just like Darcy, Carter says something really incredibly stupid that offends Dejah Thoris, meaning that he has to do amazing deeds of derring-do to prove his love and win her heart and little hand in marriage, so that one day they can hopefully make an egg together…

a princess art2

I’m forced to admit it – I loved this book! It’s silly beyond belief and, even making allowances for the fact that it was written in 1911, the ‘science’ aspects are…unique! But it’s hugely imaginative and a great old-fashioned heroic adventure yarn, from the days when men were men and damsels were perpetually in distress. As each new creature is introduced the burning question becomes – how many limbs will this one have? Why stop at six – lets have eight! And what an old romantic Burroughs turns out to be! It’s up to our Carter to teach the Tharks the meaning of love and so show them how they can be tender and caring while ripping their enemies limb from limb…from limb. The passage where Carter wins the undying loyalty of his (ten-limbed) frog-headed ‘hound’ Woola by showing him kindness and affection is genuinely touching, and the romance between Carter and Dejah Thoris could have come straight from the pages of a Mills and Boon novel (Harlequin, for my American friends).

“Dejah Thoris, I do not know how I have angered you. It was furtherest from my desire to hurt or offend you, whom I had hoped to protect and comfort. Have none of me if it is your will, but that you must aid me in effecting your escape, if such a thing be possible, is not my request but my command. When you are safe once more at your father’s court you may do with me as you please, but from now on until that day I am your master, and you must obey and aid me.”

The action never lets up from beginning to end, from one-to-one fights to the death, attacks by killer white apes, all the way up to full-scale wars complete with flying ships and half-crazed (eight-limbed) thoats. And then, just when it looks like Carter and Dejah Thoris might finally be able to hatch their very own chicky-child…disaster strikes…dramatic cliff-hanger ending!! Oh no!! Does this mean…will I have to read the next one…???

I really think I must…

Little Green Men Rating: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

Oops! Nearly forgot…

Darcy - naked! (Gosh! I bet that increases my page views!)
Darcy – naked!
(Gosh! I bet that increases my page views!)

48 thoughts on “Transwarp Tuesday! A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  1. FictionFan – Who cares about the Martians with that ‘photo of Darcy at the bottom! 😉 – In all seriousness, I think Edgar Rice Burroughs was an exceptionally creative writer. I think I”m going to really learn a lot from this feature of yours. I’ll be interested in what you make of Ray Bradbury’s work if/when you get to it.


    • I felt it had been too long since we last had a picture of Darcy, didn’t you? 😉

      Yes, I enjoyed his writing – it was a bit overblown, but that’s just right for this kind of macho adventure tale. Should be reading something of Bradbury’s in a couple of weeks, if all goes according to plan… 🙂


    • Yes, it reminded me a lot of Rider Haggard while I was reading. I’d say HRH is the better writer, but they’re about equal in terms of excitement and adventure. It was fun!


  2. So glad you enjoyed this – this is what started me reading SF, and I’ve never looked back. The Prof will love this review too. 🙂


    • I can’t really remember who I read first – Wyndham or HG Wells, I’d think. And I read quite a lot of SF in my teens and twenties and then just stopped. I enjoyed this a lot more than I was expecting to though. And yes, he seems to! 🙂


  3. I think Disney based their movie about Carter on this? Not sure, but my husband and I discussed the book I know. He’s read it, I haven’t… the rating!


    • I haven’t seen the movie but I think it must be, ‘cos when I was searching for pictures to put on the post, images from the film kept coming up. Good to see that Disney gave her clothes though… 😉


  4. *shock face* *laughing lots* Well! It is a wonder, I admit. Stellar review! I’m not sure how Darby figures in, though. John Carter was a warrior! A veteran, too, I think. And look at Darby down below… *a couple of fine gags*

    I love how you put little ripios throughout, like: “…hopefully make an egg together…and…chicky-child.” *laughs*

    Did it really talk about Thoris’s eyes and…dimples? I don’t recall that. You’ll have to read the second, I think. I’m still about getting it. I’ve been about it for some time now. Oh, and that pic when he’s fighting the huge green alien, that’s me. And I want that sword, I think.


    • Hurray! I got a stellar! *huge smile* Haha! I thought the story was very similar to P&P only soppier and more romantic. Plus I felt it was long past time we had another pic of Darby on the blog…

      I so hope they call their chicky-child Woot-Woot, don’t you? *cheeky grin*

      Oh yes, there was so much lovey-dovey stuff that I was surprised the Professor hadn’t fainted…

      “Look down at your feet, Dejah Thoris: [my heart] lies there now where it has lain since that other night at Korad, and where it will ever lie beating alone for you until death stills it forever.”

      And re dimples… ‘Dejah Thoris caught her breath at my last words, and gazed upon me with dilated eyes and quickening breath, and then, with an odd little laugh, which brought roguish dimples to the corners of her mouth…’

      I’m gobsmacked to discover that my C-W-W is such a big softie – aw, so sweet!

      Yes, John Carter reminded me very much of the Professor… and I feel there’s a certain resemblance between FF and Dejah Thoris too…


      • But there was fighting and action, and me…

        *laughing* That would be really neatio.

        Oh, I see. I shouldn’t say this, but…they were some of my favorite parts, actually… Thoris was a bit mean, though, seeing that John didn’t know anything about the culture. I would have ended up saying something far worse than “My Princess.”

        My warrior career is really over now, huh? Now that you say it, FEF is like Thoris. What a wonder.


        • There was indeed! But only one fight with white apes, surprisingly. I suppose Carter was a bit busy defeating the army of a million red Martians…

          I’m thinking of changing Tuppence’s name to Woola.

          *shocked face* Good noodles! *faints* Though admittedly, I’ve always assumed that there’s a true knightly soul under that rough, tough exterior, but I’m so proud that you’ve actually admitted to it! And no, it enhances your warrior career! Look at Carter – he can actually say these things out loud and still be adored by everyone who knows him! Yes, take Carter as your role model – and you’ll be just like Darby in no time…


          • Did he fight the red martians, or are you being wicked?

            *laughing* Now, that’s what it’ll be for me! Give Woola a pat, please, FEF.

            *plays with his ka-bar* Oh dear. And hear I thought you just said all that sort of thing would make me an un-hero. Well, it seems you’ve got it all sorted. Do you suppose Thoris liked Carter?


            • Yes! The huge war at the end between Dejah Thoris’ tribe and the lot who were trying to force her to marry their Prince! A million soldiers they had apparently, but Carter killed most of them…

              Can you imagine her with ten sets of claws? *shudders*

              Ah, no, no! There’s a huge, HUGE difference between the type of hero who wins the heart of the woman he loves by risking life and limb(s) and being masterful, and the kind of romance where people get together over coffee to discuss feeeeeeelings…especially with an adoring friend in tow to do the talking for them. No, I’m thrilled to see the Professor admiring Carter’s heroic approach to matters of the heart… And yes, I suspect she did…you’d have to like someone quite a lot to be willing to watch an egg with them for five years…


            • I remember something like that now. Wow…a million soldiers. I’m…behind!

              It would be a chill, for sure.

              Well, I think she could have been nicer. And…I shouldn’t have said any of that! Woe is me.


            • Ah, but that’s just because you haven’t had the same opportunities. I bet you could beat Carter AND a Thark – at the same time!

              *hastily knits ten little pairs of socks*

              Why? Why? Why?


            • *smiles proudly and hopes it’s true*

              That’s so cool.

              Because she was dadblame mean! Well, the professor is supposed to be heartless. Now, well, now I’m in trouble. You see, I’ve always maintained that I lost my heart in a brutal fight.


            • ‘Tis! That’s why they’ve never attacked you – they’re too scared.

              Of course, after I’d typed it, I realised it implies she has twenty legs…

              She just had to be sure that his love was pure and constant! Tchah! Heartless? My C-W-W? I think not! A skilled warrior of unparalleled bravery, of course – but the hearts of all great heroes are better developed than their biceps…


            • *laughing lots* Which would make a neatio Tuppence, for sure!

              Yes. I think men should do the same sort of tests on girls, to show them how it feels. Ooo, that could be true. Hearts over biceps… I have to think on that one.


            • I’d love to see the vet’s face…

              Oh, but men are so fickle! Women have to keep them on their toes. ‘Tis true – and also requires fewer pushups.


    • Haha! See how supple Darcy is?

      Oh, no, Bubbles! You missed all the good stuff then! That was even before the apes, and long, long before the underdressed princess! You must go back and try again…


        • *laughing* I’m not sure – I think there’s quite a few men out there who’d try to strangle him too…

          Well, Anna Karenina is undoubtedly good – may even have the slight edge as far as literary merit goes, but… *SPOILER ALERT* …you can serach the pages all you like, you still won’t find a Human v Thark swordfight!


          • No, I menat (if it’s ok, I’ll leave that there, if you can serach I can menat :D) the unique way he is attempting to strangle himself.

            Then I believe we can carry on our discourse on that former post now so long forgotten at this present location.


            • Haha! What are you – my spell-checker?? If you’re not careful, I might develop another unfortunate typo, Bobbles!

              Indeed! Just remind me, what were talking about again? 😉


    • I have to tell you it was fairly difficult to find postable pictures for this one! It seems to have inspired fan artists around the world to go OTT – cor! Thank goodness some of the older ones felt loin-cloths were an essential addition…


  5. I must admit I was very taken with the description of John Carter who sounds manly enough to make me swoon… You didn’t really explain, or maybe Burroughs didn’t, why he ended up on Mars naked? Love the many limbed creatures and I can’t believe how you sneaked Darcy into this review!! So in conclusion I’m tempted by John Carter but I’m not sure I’d be able to get past the silliness… I’ll be back next week to see what the next offering is.


    • Gorgeous isn’t he? Even naked – which so many men can’t really carry off as a look…

      Well, it’s all quite scientific really – some mysterious old woman does something in a cave that causes Carter to get split into two – one sleeping, clothed body and one naked one. Then whoosh! The naked one gets sucked up to Mars, where fortunately the atmosphere is the same as Earth’s and it never gets too chilly…

      Still not persuaded? 😉


  6. I love it! I love it so much! Isn’t Woola just the best? I want him! And it’s so funny that of course the princess is super sexy and human-like. She just happens to be a little redder than humans, but we can live with that, right? My husband and I read the first three books together (there are a LOT of them), and we would just smile and pretend to sword fight lazily, and then go back to reading 😀 😀 😀


    • Hahaha! Isn’t he great? I regularly complain to the cats that they only have four legs – even between them they’ve got fewer than Woola! I also liked in later books that the black and yellow martians were the baddies – not racist in any way, of course! 😉 The Prof (who comments here) and I read the next two more or less together, which was great fun, then we kinda abandoned them. They do get a bit samey after a bit, but they’re still fun! So’s the film… though I was relieved they were clothed in that…!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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