Barsoom

Barsoom

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Encyclopedia
Barsoom is a fictional representation of the planet Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 created by American pulp fiction
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

 author Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.-Biography:...

, who wrote close to 100 action adventure stories in various genres in the first half of the 20th century, and is now best known as the creator of the character Tarzan
Tarzan
Tarzan is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani "great apes"; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer...

. The first Barsoom tale was serialized as Under the Moons of Mars in 1912, and published as a novel as A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 in 1917. Ten sequels followed over the next three decades, further extending his vision of Barsoom and adding other characters.

The world of Barsoom is a romantic vision of a dying Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

, based on now-outdated scientific ideas made popular by Astronomer Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

 in the early 20th century. While depicting many outlandish inventions, and advanced technology, it is a savage world, of honor, noble sacrifice and constant struggle, where martial prowess is paramount, and where many races fight over dwindling resources. It is filled with lost cities, heroic adventures and forgotten ancient secrets.

The series has inspired a number of well known science fiction writers in the 20th century, and also key scientists involved in both space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life. It has informed and been adapted by many writers, in novels, short stories, television and film.

The Barsoom series


Burroughs began writing the Barsoom books in the second half of 1911, and produced one volume a year between 1911 and 1914. Seven more were produced between 1921 and 1941. The first Barsoom tale was serialised as Under the Moons of Mars in 1912, and published in book form as A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 in 1917. The final Barsoom tale was a novella, Skeleton Men of Jupiter, published in Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

 in February 1943.
Order Title Published as serial Published as novel Fictional narrator Year in novel
1 A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 
February–July 1912, All-Story October 1917, McClurg John Carter 1866–1876
2 The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

 
January–May 1913, All-Story September 1918, McClurg John Carter 1886
3 The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

 
December 1913-March 1914, All-Story September 1919, McClurg John Carter 1887–1888
4 Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

 
April 1916, All-Story Weekly October 1920, McClurg third person 1888~1898
5 The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

 
February–March 1922, Argosy All-Story Weekly  November 1922, McClurg third person 1898~1917
6 The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

 
July 15, 1927, Amazing Stories Annual March 1928, McClurg Ulysses Paxton 1917
7 A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

 
April–September, 1930, Blue Book
Blue Book (magazine)
Blue Book was a popular 20th-century American magazine with a lengthy 70-year run under various titles from 1905 to 1975.Launched as The Monthly Story Magazine, it was published under that title from May 1905 to August 1906 with a change to The Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine for issues from...

 
May 1931, Metropolitan Tan Hadron 1928
8 Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

 
November 1934-April 1935, Blue Book
Blue Book (magazine)
Blue Book was a popular 20th-century American magazine with a lengthy 70-year run under various titles from 1905 to 1975.Launched as The Monthly Story Magazine, it was published under that title from May 1905 to August 1906 with a change to The Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine for issues from...

 
February 1936, Burroughs John Carter 1928~1934
9 Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

 
January–February 1939, Argosy Weekly March 1940, Burroughs Vor Daj 1934~1938
10 Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

 
March–October 1941, Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

 
March 1948, Burroughs John Carter 1938~1940
11 John Carter of Mars
John Carter of Mars (collection)
John Carter of Mars is the eleventh and final book in the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is not actually a novel but rather a collection of two John Carter of Mars stories....

: John Carter and the Giant of Mars
(by John Coleman Burroughs
John Coleman Burroughs
John Coleman "Jack" Burroughs was an American illustrator known for his illustrations of the works of his father, Edgar Rice Burroughs.-Life:...

)
January 1941, Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

 
July 1964, Canaveral third person 1940
John Carter of Mars
John Carter of Mars (collection)
John Carter of Mars is the eleventh and final book in the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is not actually a novel but rather a collection of two John Carter of Mars stories....

: Skeleton Men of Jupiter
February 1943, Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories
Amazing Stories was an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction...

 
John Carter 1941–1942

Origin of the name "Barsoom"


Burroughs frequently made up words from the languages spoken by the peoples in his novels, and used these extensively in the narrative. In Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

 he included a glossary of Barsoomian words used in the first four novels. The word "Barsoom", the native Martian word for Mars, is composed of the Martian name for planet, "soom", and the Martian word for eight, "bar". This assumes that Mars is the eighth body in the inner solar system, though to reach this figure it is necessary to count the Sun and the satellites of both the Earth and Mars itself even though they are not planets.

Character focus


A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, the first novel in the Barsoom series, is a stand alone piece. However it connects with the following two novels, The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

 and The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

, to form a trilogy (although there is a ten-year gap between the first and second). The trilogy focuses on Earthman John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

 and Martian princess, Dejah Thoris
Dejah Thoris
Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

, with Green Martian Tars Tarkas
Tars Tarkas
Tars Tarkas is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. Though a great warrior and leader among his people he possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race...

 making frequent appearances. John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

 and Dejah Thoris
Dejah Thoris
Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

's son, Carthoris is also introduced as a minor character in The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

, as is Thuvia.

Three other books focus on their descendants: their son, Carthoris, in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

; their daughter, Tara of Helium, in The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

, and their granddaughter, Llana of Gathol, in Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

.

Ulysses Paxton
Ulysses Paxton
Ulysses Paxton is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his novel The Master Mind of Mars. Within the narrative framework of the novel, Paxton is a fan of Burroughs' Barsoom series, and after being wounded during a battle in World War I, he finds himself drawn across the gulfs...

, another earth man transported to Mars, is the focus of The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

, and the rest of the books focus on John Carter's later adventures, Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

 and John Carter of Mars, or native Martian characters, A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

 and Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

.

Form


The majority of the tales are novels, but two of the books in the series of eleven are collections of shorter works, Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

 has four linked novelettes, originally published in Amazing Stories during 1941, and John Carter of Mars has two novellas.

Most of the tales are first person narratives. John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

 narrates A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

, The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

, Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

, the four novellas in Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

 and "Skeleton Men of Jupiter" in John Carter of Mars. Ulysses Paxton narrates one, The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

. Martian guardsman Vor Daj narrates Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

 and Martian navy officer, Tan Hadron narrates A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

. Two other novels Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

 and The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

 are written in the third person, as is "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" in John Carter of Mars.

Introductions


Beginning with A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 Burroughs established a practice which continued in four sequels - introducing the novel as though it were a factual account passed on to him personally. He imagines John Carter to be an avuncular figure known to his family for years, who gave him the manuscript during an earlier visit, with instructions not to publish it for twenty-one years. The same device appears in sequels, The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

, The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

, Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

, and Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol
Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

.

Authorship


All of the Barsoom tales were published under the name of Edgar Rice Burroughs (except Under the Moons of Mars, the first publication of A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, which was published under the pseudonym, Norman Bean). However, the first novella in John Carter of Mars, "John Carter and the Giant of Mars", is thought to been penned by Burroughs' son John "Jack" Coleman Burroughs, though it is claimed to have been revised by his father. It was recognized as unlikely to be Burroughs' work immediately on publication by fans, as the writing is of a juvenile quality compared to that of Burroughs.

Genre


The stories are science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, belonging to the subgenre of planetary romance
Planetary romance
Planetary romance is a type of science fiction or science fantasy story in which the bulk of the action consists of adventures on one or more exotic alien planets, characterized by distinctive physical and cultural backgrounds...

, which has strong elements of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

. Planetary romance stories are similar to sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery
Sword and sorcery is a sub-genre of fantasy and historical fantasy, generally characterized by sword-wielding heroes engaged in exciting and violent conflicts. An element of romance is often present, as is an element of magic and the supernatural...

 tales, but include scientific aspects. They mostly take place on the surface of an alien world, frequently include sword fighting, monsters, supernatural elements such as telepathic abilities, and civilizations similar to Earth in pre-technological eras, particularly with the inclusion of dynastic or religious social structures. Spacecraft may appear, but are not central to the story.

The stories also share a number of elements with westerns in that they feature desert landscapes, women taken captive and a final confrontation with the antagonist.

Burroughs' Barsoom stories are considered seminal planetary romances. While examples existed prior to the publication of his works, they are the key influence on the many works of this type that followed. His style of planetary romance has ceased to be written and published in the mainstream, though his books remain in print.

Plot


Like most of Burroughs' fiction, the novels in the series are mostly travelogue
Travel literature
Travel literature is travel writing of literary value. Travel literature typically records the experiences of an author touring a place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary. Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or...

s, feature copious action of a violent nature, and often have plots involving civilized heroes being captured by uncivilized cultures and being forced to adapt to the cruel nature of their captors to survive.

While there is variation, most of the Barsoom novels follow a familiar plot structure. A hero is forced to journey to a far-off location in search of a woman he is either in love with, or believes himself to be. The woman has been kidnapped by an odious but powerful man, who both desires her and values her for his own political ends.
Female characters are frequently threatened with sexual assault; Dejah Thoris (on numerous occasions), Thuvia and Tara of Helium are all subjected to this threat. Tara notably is pursued by a headless body being remotely controlled by telepathy by a Kaldane
Kaldane
The Kaldanes are a fictitious sapient species existing in the region of Bantoom on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Introduced in the book Chessmen of Mars, the Kaldanes are almost all head, but for six arachnoid legs and a pair of chelae...

 in The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

.

The hero is awkward with women and will tend to misinterpret their lack of interest in him due to his low confidence or familiarity with the ways of women. Female characters are likely to be virtuous and fight off amorous advances and other dangers until able to connect with the hero. The hero is often forced to adopt a disguise and is not recognized by the heroine.

He will have to fight both strange races and hideous creatures to claim her love. Along the way the hero will encounter kings or other powerful figures who rule over a severely repressed population, ripe for rebellion. He will be instrumental in deposing the ruler, usually with the assistance of a fresh-faced member of the same population, whom the hero will have encountered when both are in some kind of slavery or imprisonment.

Motifs


The world of Barsoom is morally unambiguous; characters are either good or evil, there is no sense of moral relativity. A sense of honor transcends race or political affiliation and characters fight alongside one another, and against their adversaries because it is the right thing to do. Qualities of compassion, loyalty and bravery are celebrated, and callousness, deception, and cowardice are frowned upon.

Typically the novels include descriptions of aspects of the Martian world such as the architecture, and the presence of desolate landscapes punctuated by abandoned cities - whose histories are often elaborated upon, technological achievements, advanced medicine, cultural elements such as superstitious religious practices and eating habits, breeding practices and methods of population control.

Many lost cities and civilizations and journeys into forgotten underworlds appear across the series, and the environment beyond the cities is populated by a variety of ferocious beasts, many roughly equivalent with Earth creatures and most with multiple sets of limbs. There are numerous examples of striking coincidences and deus ex machina
Deus ex machina
A deus ex machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.-Linguistic considerations:...

 events that are usually to the benefit of the protagonists; perhaps the most striking example is an invisible flying ship in A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

 which is lost, only to be bumped into by accident some time later, just when needed to escape death.

Mad scientists also appear, Ras Thavas from The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

 and Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

 being the principal example, although another plays a prominent role in A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

. Incidences of the use of superstition by religious cults to control and manipulate others are also common.

A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 was possibly the first fiction of the 20th century to feature a constructed language
Constructed language
A planned or constructed language—known colloquially as a conlang—is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary has been consciously devised by an individual or group, instead of having evolved naturally...

; although Barsoomian was not particularly developed, it did add verisimilitude
Verisimilitude
Verisimilitude is the quality of realism in something .-Competing ideas:The problem of verisimilitude is the problem of articulating what it takes for one false theory to be closer to the truth than another false theory...

 to the narrative.

Villains


The majority of the villains in the Barsoom series are uncompromisingly evil, and often their appearance matches this. Typically they are rulers or despots of major empires, or little known hidden fiefdoms. They are usually hated by their subjects and possess a voracious sexual appetite, usually directed towards the heroine. The pattern is established by green martian Jeddak, Tal Hajus, in the first novel, A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, hated even by the bloodthirsty green martians. Further examples include the yellow martian Salensus Oll in The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

, Nutus of Dusar in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

 and Ul Vas, Jeddak of the Tarids in Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

.

Appeal


The popularity of the Barsoom novels may lie in their reflection of the classic 'rags to riches' tale in a fantastic setting, which may resonate with readers who feel undervalued, and whose abilities are unrecognized. The heroes are men of talent and ability whose circumstances have so far failed to give them the opportunity to reach their proper potential. The epic scale adventures of the novels allow their inner selves to manifest, and reward them with love, companionship, freedom and success. These are action heroes who are noble, fearless and never doubt themselves in the face of adversity. They are not skilled in their dealings with women, but are chivalrous and their noble qualities and fearlessness make them attractive to the heroines. The narratives also set a rapid pace, and offer a considerable sense of escapism. They are mostly read by men, but there are female fans as well.

Earthmen


  • John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

    : Captain John Carter is an Earthman, who originated in Virginia. He fought in the American Civil war on the Confederate side. After the war he moved to the southwest US to work as a prospector. In 1866 he and his prospector partner strike it rich, but the partner is killed by American Indians and Carter takes refuge in a cave where he is overcome by smoke produced by an American Indian woman and wakes up on Mars. He effectively disappeared for ten years [while on Mars], and was believed dead, but re-emerged in New York in 1876, settling on the Hudson. He appeared to die in 1886, leaving instructions for Burroughs, who refers to him as an 'uncle', to entomb him in a crypt, and leaving Burroughs with the manuscript of A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

     with instructions not to publish it for another 21 years. He has no memory before the age of 30 and seems never to age. He is adept with command, horsemanship, swords and all weapons. He is 6'2" tall, with black hair and gray steel eyes. He is honorable, courageous and eternally optimistic, even in the face of certain death. He is transported to the planet Mars
    Mars
    Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

     by a form of astral projection
    Astral projection
    Astral projection is an interpretation of out-of-body experience that assumes the existence of an "astral body" separate from the physical body and capable of traveling outside it...

    . There, he encounters both formidable alien creatures and various warring Martian races, wins the hand of martian princess Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

    , and rises to the position of Warlord of Mars. Protagonist of the first three novels. Carter also headlines the eighth, tenth and eleventh books, and is a major secondary character in the fourth and ninth novels.
  • Ulysses Paxton
    Ulysses Paxton
    Ulysses Paxton is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his novel The Master Mind of Mars. Within the narrative framework of the novel, Paxton is a fan of Burroughs' Barsoom series, and after being wounded during a battle in World War I, he finds himself drawn across the gulfs...

    : The central character in The Master Mind of Mars
    The Master Mind of Mars
    The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

    . Paxton is a soldier in the First World War who is transported to Barsoom after he is mortally wounded, and becomes the assistant of scientist Ras Thavas.

Martians

  • Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

    : A Martian Princess of Helium, who is courageous, tough and always holds her resolve, despite being frequently placed in both mortal danger and the threat of being dishonored by the lustful designs of villains. The daughter of Mors Kajak, jed of Lesser Helium and granddaughter of Tardos Mors, jeddak of Helium, she is highly aristocratic and fiercely proud of her heritage. She is introduced early in the first Barsoom novel, A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

    , and is the love interest of John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

    . She is a central character in the first three novels, and her capture by various enemies, and subsequent pursuit by John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

    , is a constant motivating force in these tales. She is a minor character in The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

     and John Carter of Mars.
  • Tars Tarkas
    Tars Tarkas
    Tars Tarkas is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. Though a great warrior and leader among his people he possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race...

    : A fierce Green Martian warrior, unusual among his savage race for his ability to love, who is much affected by the loss of his lover while he is away on a raid. He befriends John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

     and fights many battles at his side. Carter helps him become Jeddak of his tribe and negotiates an alliance between them and the city-state of Helium, which results in the destruction of their enemies, the city of Zodanga, at the end of A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

    . While John Carter is able to befriend him, and he shows some civilized noble qualities, Tars Tarkas
    Tars Tarkas
    Tars Tarkas is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. Though a great warrior and leader among his people he possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race...

     remains unable to understand art or much improve his grasp of technology and still takes pleasure in cruelty and violence.
  • Thuvia of Ptarth: A Princess of Ptarth, who first appears in The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

    , as a slave girl, rescued by John Carter from the nefarious Therns. She is later imprisoned with Carter's wife Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

    , in a prison which can only be opened once per year and remains by her side until the conclusion of The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

    . Like many of Burroughs' Martian heroines, she is tough, courageous, and proud, and strongly identifies with her aristocratic position in Martian society. Also typically, she is abducted by evildoers who wish to use her for political gain in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

    , her rescue providing primary motivation for the plot of that novel. She is a central character in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

     and love interest of John Carter and Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

    ' son Carthoris.
  • Ras Thavas: A mad scientist who develops both brain transplant techniques and a form of cloning, a principal character in both The Master Mind of Mars
    The Master Mind of Mars
    The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

     and Synthetic Men of Mars
    Synthetic Men of Mars
    Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

    .
  • Tan Hadron: A young Red Martian navy officer, who is the central character of A Fighting Man of Mars
    A Fighting Man of Mars
    A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

    .
  • Vor Daj: A soldier in John Carter's
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

     guard. Principal character in Synthetic Men of Mars
    Synthetic Men of Mars
    Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

    , who spends much of the novel with his brain transplanted into a hideous but powerful synthetic body.
  • Gahan of Gathol: A prince of Gathol; love interest for Tara of Helium and father of Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

    ; a principal character in The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

    .

Martian descendants of John Carter and Dejah Thoris


  • Carthoris: Son of John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

     and Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

     who inherits his father's superior strength and ability with a sword. A minor character in The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

    . A principal character in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars
    Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

     and love interest of Thuvia.
  • Tara of Helium: Impetuous daughter of John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

     and Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

    , who runs away and gets involved in various perilous situations as a principal character in The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

    . Love interest of Gahan of Gathol and Mother of Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

    .
  • Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

    : Granddaughter of John Carter
    John Carter (character)
    John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

     and Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris
    Dejah Thoris is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs's series of Martian novels. Princess of the Martian city state/empire of Helium, Dejah Thoris is the love interest and later the wife of John Carter, an Earthman mystically transported to Mars, and subsequently the mother of their son...

     and daughter of Tara of Helium and Gahan of Gathol; a principal character in the stories collected in Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol
    Llana of Gathol is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the tenth of his famous Barsoom series. It consists of four stories that were originally published in Amazing Stories in 1941 . The first collected edition of Llana of Gathol was published in 1948...

    .

Environment


While Burroughs' Barsoom tales never aspired to being anything other than exciting escapism, his vision of Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 was loosely inspired by astronomical
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

 speculation of the time, especially that of Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

, that saw the planet as a formerly Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

like world now becoming less hospitable to life due to its advanced age. Living on an aging planet, with dwindling resources, the inhabitants of Barsoom have become hardened and warlike, fighting one another to survive. Once a wet world with continents and oceans, Barsoom's seas gradually dried up, leaving it a dry planet of highlands interspersed with moss covered dead sea bottoms. Abandoned cities
Lost city
A "Lost City" is a term that is generally considered to refer to a well-populated area which fell into terminal decline, became extensively or completely uninhabited, and whose location has been forgotten. Some lost cities whose locations have been rediscovered have been studied extensively by...

 line the former coast lands. The last remnants of the former bodies of water are the Great Toonolian Marshes and the antarctic
Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

 Lost Sea of Korus.

Barsoomians distribute scarce water supplies via a worldwide system of canals
Martian canals
For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars. These were a network of long straight lines that appeared in drawings of the planet Mars in the equatorial regions from 60° N. to 60° S. Lat., first observed by the Italian astronomer...

, controlled by quarreling city-states which have grown up at the junctures of the canals. The idea of Martian "canals" stems from telescopic observations by 19th century astronomers who, beginning with Giovanni Schiaparelli
Giovanni Schiaparelli
Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli was an Italian astronomer and science historian. He studied at the University of Turin and Berlin Observatory. In 1859-1860 he worked in Pulkovo Observatory and then worked for over forty years at Brera Observatory...

 in 1877, believed they saw networks of lines on the planet. Schiaparelli called them canali ("grooves" in Italian) which was mistranslated in English as "canals". During the time Burroughs wrote his first Barsoom stories, the theory was put forward by a number of prominent scientists, notably Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

, that these were huge engineering works constructed by an intelligent race. This caught the imagination of the public, resulting in a fascination with Mars which inspired much science fiction. The thinning Martian atmosphere is artificially replenished from an "atmosphere plant" on whose smooth functioning all life on the planet is dependent.

The Martian year comprises 687 Martian days, a Martian day being 24 hours and 37 minutes (Burroughs probably derived this from Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

, but got the calculations wrong, as he appears to have based the number of Martian days in a Martian year (689) on the Earth Days in a Martian year (687)). The days are hot and the nights are cold, and there appears to be little variation in climate across the planet, except at the poles.

Burroughs explained his ideas about the Martian environment in an article "A Dispatch on Mars" published in the London Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

 in 1926. He assumed that Mars was formerly identical to the Earth; therefore a similar evolutionary development of fauna would have taken place. He referenced winds, snows and marshes which had supposedly been observed by astronomers, as evidence of an atmosphere, and that the wastes of the planet had been irrigated (probably referencing Lowell's canals), which suggested that an advanced civilization existed on the planet.

Peoples and culture


All Barsoomian races resemble Homo sapiens
Human
Humans are the only living species in the Homo genus...

 in most respects, except for being oviparous
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

 and having lifespans in excess of 1,000 years unless killed through violent means. The traditional Martian lifespan of 1,000 is based on the customary pilgrimage down the River Iss, which is taken by virtually all Martians by that age, or those who feel tired of their long lives and expect to find a paradise at the end of their journey. None return from this pilgrimage, because it leads to almost certain death at the hands of ferocious creatures.

While the Martian females are egg-laying, Martians have mammalian characteristics such as a navel and breasts. While they have skins of various colors, and their bodies differ in some cases from traditional humans, they are very similar to varieties of Earth humans, and there is little examination of how their extraterrestrial biology might make them unusual or particularly distinct from terrestrial humans. There is only one spoken language across the entire planet, but a variety of writing systems.

All Martians are telepathic, among one another, and also with domestic animals. Other telepathic abilities are demonstrated across the books. The Lotharians in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

, are able to project images of warfare, that can kill by suggestion.

Trade and cultural relations in Barsoom, as presented by Burroughs, are contradictory. In The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

 nations are described as being bellicose and self sufficient, but in The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

 inter-city state merchants are mentioned, and in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

, towering staging posts for inter-city liners are also described.

Most of the cultures are dynasties or theocracies.

Red Martians


The Red Martians are the dominant culture on Barsoom. They are organized into a system of imperial city-states including Helium, Ptarth and Zodanga, controlling the planetary canal system, as well as other, more isolated city-states in the hinterlands. The Red Martians are the interbred descendants of the ancient Yellow Martians, White Martians, and Black Martians, remnants of which exist in isolated areas of the planet, particularly the poles. The Red Martians are said in A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

 to have been bred when the seas of Barsoom began to dry up, in hopes of creating a hardy race to survive in the new environment.

The Red Martians are highly civilized, respect the idea of private property, adhere to a code of honor and have a strong sense of fairness. Their culture is governed by law and is advanced technologically. They are capable of love and have families.

Green Martians



The Green Martians are fifteen feet tall (males) and twelve feet tall (females), have four arms and eyes mounted at the side of their heads. They are nomadic, warlike and barbaric, do not form families, have little concept of friendship or love and enjoy inflicting torture upon their victims. Their social structure is highly communal - they have no concept of private property - and is rigidly hierarchical, consisting of various levels of chiefs, with the highest office occupied by an all powerful Jeddak. However, the title of Jeddak is obtained by mortal combat, rather than hereditary means. They form tribes, which war among one another constantly. They ride aggressive animals, thoats, and armed themselves with swords, lances and firearms which use 'radium' ammunition.

The Green Men are primitive, intellectually unadvanced, do not have any kind of art and are without a written language. While they craft weapons, any advanced technology they possess, such as 'radium pistols', is stolen from raids upon the Red Martians. They inhabit the ancient ruined cities left behind by civilizations which lived on Barsoom during a more advanced and hospitable era in the planet's history. They apparently arose from a biological experimental which went awry and as with all other Martians, they are an egg-laying species, concealing their eggs in incubators until hatching. Tars Tarkas
Tars Tarkas
Tars Tarkas is a fictional character in Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series. Though a great warrior and leader among his people he possesses a sense of compassion and empathy uncharacteristic of his race...

, who befriends John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

 when he first arrives on Barsoom, is an unusual exception from the typical ruthless Green Martian, due to having known the love of his own mate and daughter.

In the novels, the Green Martians are often referred to by the names of their hordes, which in turn take their names from the dead cities which they inhabit. Thus the followers of Tars Tarkas, based in the ruined ancient city of Thark, are known as "Tharks". Other hordes bear the names of Warhoon, Torquas and Thurd.

Yellow Martians (Okarians)


Yellow Martians are supposedly extinct, but in The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

 they are found hiding in secret domed cities at the North Pole of Mars. They are bearded, exceptionally cruel and keep slaves, acquiring these by using a giant magnetic device which pulls fliers off course, and allows the Yellow Martians to capture their crews.

Orovars


The White Martians, known as 'Orovars' were rulers of Mars for 500,000 years, with an empire of sophisticated cities with advanced technology. They were white skinned, with blond or Auburn hair. They were once a seafaring race but when the oceans began to dry up, they began to cooperate with the Yellow and Black Martians to breed the Red Martians, foreseeing the need for hardy stock to cope with the emerging harsher environment. They became decadent and 'overcivilized'. At the beginning of the series they are believed to be extinct, but three remaining populations, some original Orovars, Therns and Lotharians, are still living in secret and are discovered as the books progress.

Lotharians


The Lotharians are a remnant population of the original White Martians, which appear only in Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

. There are only 1000 of them remaining, all of them male. They are skilled in telepathy, able to project images that can kill, or provide sustenance. They live a reclusive existence in a remote area of Barsoom, debating philosophy among themselves.

Therns


Descendants of the original White Martians who live in a complex of caves and passages in the cliffs above the Valley Dor. This is the destination of the River Iss, on whose currents most Martians eventually travel, on a pilgrimage seeking final paradise, once tired of life or reaching 1000 years of age. The valley is actually populated by monsters, overlooked by the Therns, who control these creatures, and ransack, and eat the flesh of those who perish, enslaving those who survive. They consider themselves a unique creation, different from other Martians. They maintain the false Martian religion through a network of collaborators and spies across the planet. They are themselves raided by the Black Martians. They are white skinned and bald but wear blond wigs.

Black Martians (First Born)


Legend suggests that the Black Martians are inhabitants of one of the moons of Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

, when in fact they live in an underground stronghold near the south pole of the planet, around the subterranean Sea of Omean, below the Lost Sea of Korus, where they keep a large aerial navy. They call themselves the 'First Born', believing themselves to be a unique creation among Martian races, and worship Issus, a woman who styles herself as the God of the Martian religion, but is no such thing. They frequently raid the White Martian Therns, who maintain the false Martian religion, carrying off people as slaves. John Carter defeats their navy in The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

.

Kaldanes and Rykors


The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

 introduces the Kaldane
Kaldane
The Kaldanes are a fictitious sapient species existing in the region of Bantoom on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Introduced in the book Chessmen of Mars, the Kaldanes are almost all head, but for six arachnoid legs and a pair of chelae...

s of the region Bantoom, whose form is almost all head but for six vestigial legs and a pair of Chelae, and whose racial goal is to evolve even further towards pure intellect
Intellect
Intellect is a term used in studies of the human mind, and refers to the ability of the mind to come to correct conclusions about what is true or real, and about how to solve problems...

 and away from bodily existence. In order to function in the physical realm, they have bred the Rykors, a complementary species composed of a body similar to that of a perfect specimen of Red Martian but lacking a head; when the Kaldane
Kaldane
The Kaldanes are a fictitious sapient species existing in the region of Bantoom on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Introduced in the book Chessmen of Mars, the Kaldanes are almost all head, but for six arachnoid legs and a pair of chelae...

 places itself upon the shoulders of the Rykor, a bundle of tentacles connects with the Rykor's spinal cord
Spinal cord
The spinal cord is a long, thin, tubular bundle of nervous tissue and support cells that extends from the brain . The brain and spinal cord together make up the central nervous system...

, allowing the brain of the Kaldane
Kaldane
The Kaldanes are a fictitious sapient species existing in the region of Bantoom on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Introduced in the book Chessmen of Mars, the Kaldanes are almost all head, but for six arachnoid legs and a pair of chelae...

 to interface with the body of the Rykor. Should the Rykor become damaged or die, the Kaldane
Kaldane
The Kaldanes are a fictitious sapient species existing in the region of Bantoom on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Introduced in the book Chessmen of Mars, the Kaldanes are almost all head, but for six arachnoid legs and a pair of chelae...

 merely climbs upon another as an earthling might change a horse.

Kangaroo Men


A lesser people of Barsoom are the Kangaroo Men of Gooli, so called due to their large, kangaroo
Kangaroo
A kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae . In common use the term is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, Red Kangaroo, Antilopine Kangaroo, Eastern Grey Kangaroo and Western Grey Kangaroo. Kangaroos are endemic to the country...

-like tails, ability to hop large distances and the rearing of their eggs in pouches. They are presented as a race of boastful, cowardly individuals. Their moral character
Moral character
Moral character or character is an evaluation of a particular individual's durable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits...

 is not highly developed; they are devout cowards and petty thieves, who only value (aside from their lives) a "treasure" consisting of pretty stones, sea shells, etc.

Hormads


In addition to the naturally occurring races of Barsoom, Burroughs described the Hormads, artificial men created by the scientist Ras Thavas as slaves, workers, warriors, etc. in giant vats at his laboratory in the Toonolian Marsh in Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

 and "John Carter and the Giant of Mars". Although the Hormads were generally recognizable as humanoid, the process was far from perfect, and generated monstrosities ranging from the occasional misplaced nose or eyeball to "a great mass of living flesh with an eye somewhere and a single hand."

Technology


When Burroughs wrote the first volume of the Barsoom series, aviation and radio technology was in its infancy and radioactivity was a fledgling science. Despite this, the series includes a range of technological developments including radium munitions, battles between fleets of aircraft, devices similar to faxes and televisions, genetic manipulation, elements of terraforming
Terraforming
Terraforming of a planet, moon, or other body is the hypothetical process of deliberately modifying its atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology to be similar to those of Earth, in order to make it habitable by terrestrial organisms.The term is sometimes used more generally as a...

 and other ideas. One notable device mentioned is the "directional compass"; this may be believed to be the precursor to the now-common "global positioning system", or GPS for short.

Fliers


The Red Martians have flying machines, both civilian transports, and fleets of heavily armed war craft. These stay aloft through some form of anti-gravity
Anti-gravity
Anti-gravity is the idea of creating a place or object that is free from the force of gravity. It does not refer to the lack of weight under gravity experienced in free fall or orbit, or to balancing the force of gravity with some other force, such as electromagnetism or aerodynamic lift...

, which Burroughs explains as relating to the rays of the Sun. Fliers travel at approximately 166.1 earth miles per hour (450 Martian Haads per hour).

In Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

, John Carter's son, Cathoris, invents what appears to be a partial precursor of the autopilot (several decades before this became a reality). The device, built upon existing Martian compass technology, allows the pilot to reach any programmed destination, only having to keep the craft pointed in the set direction. Upon arrival, the device automatically lowers the craft to the surface. He also includes a kind of collision detector, which uses radium rays to detect any obstacle and automatically steer the craft elsewhere, until the obstacle is no longer detected. This works in principle almost identically to the backscatter radiation detector used to fire the braking rockets on the Souyuz space capsule. In Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars
Swords of Mars is an science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for November, 1934-April, 1935. The first book edition was published by Edgar Rice...

 a flier with some kind of mechanical brain is introduced. Controlled by thought, it can be remote controlled in flight, or instructed to travel to any destination.

Weapons


Firearms are common, and use 'Radium' bullets, which explode when exposed to sunlight. Some weapons are specific to races or inventors. The mysterious Yellow Martians, who live in secret glass domed cities at the poles, and appear in The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

 have a form of magnet which allows them to attract flying craft and cause them to crash. Scientist Phor Tak, who appears in A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the seventh of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it on February 28, 1929, and the finished story was first published in Blue Book Magazine as a six-part serial in the issues for April to September, 1930...

, has developed a disintegrator ray, and also a paste which renders vehicles such as fliers impervious to its effects. He also develops a missile which seeks out craft protected in this fashion, and a means of rendering fliers invisible which becomes a key plot device in the novel. However, while advanced weapons are available, most martians seem to prefer melee combat - mostly with swords - and their level of skill is highly impressive.

Atmosphere plant


They are many technological wonders in the novels, some colossal works of engineering. The failing air of the dying planet is maintained by an atmosphere plant, and the restoration of this is a plot component of A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

. It is described as being four miles across with walls 100 feet in depth, and telepathically operated entrance doors of 20 feet (6.1 m) steel.

Medicine and biology


Martian medicine is generally greatly in advance of that on Earth. In The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

 aging genius, Ras Thavas, has perfected the means of transplanting organs, limbs and brains, which during his experiments he swaps between animals and humanoids, men and women and young and old. Later, in Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939...

, he discovers the secret of life, and creates an army of artificial servants and warriors, which are grown in giant vats filled with organic tissue. They frequently emerge deformed, are volatile and are difficult to control, later threatening to take over the planet.

Measurements


Burroughs developed a system of Martian measurements for the novels, he also drew maps for his own reference while writing, which used the Martian Haad. Martian measurements include the following
Unit Martian Imperial Metric
1 Sofad 11.68+ inches 0.2967 m
10 sofads = 1 Ad 9.75- Feet 2.97 m
200 ads = 1 Haad 1,949.05 Feet 594.07 m
100 haads = 1 karad 36.92 English miles 59.407 km
c. 2.709 Haads 1 English mile 1609 m
c. 1.683 Haads 0.621 English miles 1000 m

Clothing


The Martians wear no clothing other than jewelry and leather harnesses, which are designed to hold everything from the weaponry of a warrior to pouches containing toiletries and other useful items; the only instances where Barsoomians habitually wear clothing is for need of warmth, such as for travel in the northern polar regions described in The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

.

This preference for near-nudity provides a stimulating subject for illustrators of the stories, though art for many mass-market editions of the books feature Carter and native Barsoomians wearing loincloths and other minimal coverings, or use strategically placed shadows and such to cover genitalia and female breasts.

Fauna


It appears that most of Burrough’s Martian creatures are roughly equivalent to those found on Earth. Though in general, most seem to have multiple legs and all are egg-laying.

“Insects”, "reptiles" and "birds"

  • Sith: A giant, venomous hornet-like insect endemic to the Kaolian Forest.
  • Reptiles: Are described as repulsive and usually poisonous, and include
  • Darseen, a chameleon-like reptile.
  • Silian, an Antarctic sea-monster found in the Lost Sea of Korus.
  • Birds: Burroughs tells us that Martian birds are brilliantly plumed, but the only species actually described is the enormous Malagor, native to the Great Toonolian Marshes.

“Mammals”



The mammal equivalents all have fur, and both domestic and wild varieties are described by Burroughs.

Domesticated

  • Sorak: A small six-legged creature, equivalent to a cat.
  • Calot: A large dog-like creature with a frog-like mouth and three rows of teeth. John Carter has his own calot, named Woola, who is his faithful companion during The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

    .
  • Thoat: A Martian horse. It has four legs on each side of its body and a wide, flat tail, which is larger at the base than at the apex and which is extended while running. The Greater Thoat is used as a mount by the Green Martians and stands about ten feet high at the shoulder; the Lesser Thoat bred by the Red Martians is closer to Earth horses in size. The Thoat is described as a slate-colored animal, with a white underside and yellow lower legs and feet.
  • Zitidar: A draft animal, described as being similar to mastodons.

Wild


  • Apt: A large white-furred arctic
    Arctic
    The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

     creature with six limbs, four being legs, which give it rapid speed, and two being arms with hairless hands, with which it grasps prey. It has tusks growing from its lower jawbone, and large faceted, insect-like eyes. Appears in The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars
    The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

    .
  • Banth: A Barsoomian "lion
    Lion
    The lion is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger...

    ". It hunts the hills surrounding the dead seas of Barsoom. It has a long, sleek body, with ten legs, large jaws equipped with several rows of sharp fangs in a mouth which extends back almost to small ears. It is mostly hairless, except for a thick mane around the neck. It has large, protruding green eyes.
  • Ulsio: A kind of Barsoomian "rat
    Rat
    Rats are various medium-sized, long-tailed rodents of the superfamily Muroidea. "True rats" are members of the genus Rattus, the most important of which to humans are the black rat, Rattus rattus, and the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus...

    ", described as a dog-sized burrower.
  • White Ape: Huge and ferocious, semi-intelligent gorilla
    Gorilla
    Gorillas are the largest extant species of primates. They are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous apes that inhabit the forests of central Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and either four or five subspecies...

    -like creatures with an extra set of arms which first appear in A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

    .

Other

  • Rykors are headless but otherwise human-like creatures bred by the Kaldanes, appearing only in The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars
    The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

    .
  • Plant Men
    Plant Men of Barsoom
    The Plant Men are a fictitious species existing in the Valley Dor region on the planet Barsoom in the John Carter series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs...

    : Monsters found in the Valley Dor. They are between 10 and 12 feet in height when upright, with blue hairless bodies similar in form to humans, excepting broad flat feet which are three feet in length and a six foot tail, which tapers from a round profile to a flat blade shape at the tip. They also have short, sinuous arms similar to elephant trunks, ending with taloned hands, with mouths set in the palms. The creature uses these to feed on foliage. It also attacks and feeds upon Martian Pilgrims, who travel to the Valley Dor expecting to find final paradise. Their faces are without mouths, a nose like an open wound, have a single white eye, surrounded by a white band, and black hair 10 to 12 inches long, each strand similar in thickness to an earthworm. They appear in The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars
    The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

    .
  • Orluk: An Arctic predator with a black and yellow striped coat, whose legs are not described.

The American frontier


Barsoom might be seen as a kind of Martian American Wild West. John Carter
John Carter (character)
John Carter is a fictional character, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, who appears in the Barsoom series of novels. Though actually a Virginian from Earth and a visitor to Mars, he is often referred to as "John Carter of Mars" in reference to the general setting in which his deeds are recorded, in...

 is himself an adventuring frontiersman. When he arrives on Barsoom he first mistakes the landscape for the Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 he has left behind. He discovers a savage, frontier world where the civilized Red Martians are kept invigorated as a race by repelling the constant attacks of the Green Martians, a possible equivalent of wild west ideals. Indeed, the Green Martians are a barbaric, nomadic, tribal culture with many parallels to stereotypes of American Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

. The desire to return to the frontier became a common nostalgia in the early twentieth century. As the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 become more urbanized, the world of the 19th century frontier America became romanticized as a lost world of freedom and noble qualities.

Race


Race is a constant theme in the Barsoom novels and the world is clearly divided along racial lines. White, Yellow, Black, Red and Green races all appear across the novels, each with particular traits and qualities which seem to define the characters of almost every individual within them. In this respect, Burroughs' concept of race, as depicted in the novels, is more like a division between species. The Red and Green Martians are almost complete opposites of one another, with the Red Martians being civilized, lawful, capable of love and forming families, and the Green Martians being savage, cruel, tribal and without families or the ability to form romantic relationships.

Religious deception


The Barsoom series features a number of incidences of religious deception, or the use of superstition by those in power to control and manipulate others. Burroughs is particularly concerned about the hypocrisy of religious leaders. This is first established in A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, but becomes particularly apparent in the sequel, The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

. Upon reaching 1,000 years of age almost all Martians undertake a pilgrimage on the River Iss, expecting to find a valley of mystical paradise; what they find is, in fact, a deathtrap, populated by ferocious creatures and overseen by a race of cruel, cannibal priests known as Therns, who perpetuate the Martian religion through a network of spies across the planet.

John Carter's battle to track down the remnants of the Therns and their masters continues in the sequel, The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars
The Warlord of Mars is a science fiction novel written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in June, 1913, going through five working titles; Yellow Men of Barsoom, The Fighting Prince of Mars, Across Savage Mars, The Prince of Helium, and The...

. More deceitful priests in a nation controlled by such appear in The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars
The Master Mind of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the sixth of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual vol. 1, July 15, 1927. The first book edition was published by A. C...

, on this occasion manipulating a temple idol to control followers.

Burroughs continued this theme in his many Tarzan novels. Burroughs was not anti-religious; however, he was concerned about followers placing their trust in religions and being abused and exploited, and saw this as a common feature of organized religion.

Excessive intellectualism


While Burroughs is generally seen as a writer who produced work of limited philosophical sophistication, he wrote two Barsoom novels which appear to explore or parody the limits of excessive intellectual development at the expense of bodily or physical existence. The first was Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth of the Barsoom series. The principal characters are the Son of John Carter of Mars, Carthoris, and Thuvia of Ptarth, each of whom appeared in the previous two novels....

, in which Thuvia and Carthoris discover a remnant of ancient White Martian civilization, the Lotharians. The Lotharians have mostly died out, but maintain the illusion of a functioning society through powerful telepathic projections. They have formed two factions which appear to portray the excesses of pointless intellectual debate. One faction, the realists, believes in imagining meals to provide sustenance; another, the etherealists, believes in surviving without eating.

The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars
The Chessmen of Mars is an Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the fifth of his famous Barsoom series. Burroughs began writing it in January, 1921, and the finished story was first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial in the issues for February 18 and 25 and March 4,...

 is the second example of this trend. The Kaldanes have sacrificed their bodies to become pure brain, but although they can interface with Rykor bodies, their ability to function, compared to normal people of integrated mind and body, is ineffectual and clumsy. The Kaldanes, though highly intelligent, are ugly, ineffectual creatures when not interfaced with a Rykor body. Tara of Helium compares them to effete intellectuals from her home city, with a self-important sense of superiority; and Gahan of Gathol muses that it might be better to find a balance between the intellect and bodily passions.

Scientific inspiration



Burroughs concept of a dying Mars and the Martian canals
Martian canals
For a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was erroneously believed that there were canals on Mars. These were a network of long straight lines that appeared in drawings of the planet Mars in the equatorial regions from 60° N. to 60° S. Lat., first observed by the Italian astronomer...

 follows the theories of Lowell and his predecessor Giovanni Schiaparelli
Giovanni Schiaparelli
Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli was an Italian astronomer and science historian. He studied at the University of Turin and Berlin Observatory. In 1859-1860 he worked in Pulkovo Observatory and then worked for over forty years at Brera Observatory...

. In 1878, Italian astronomer, Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli observed geological features on Mars which he called canali (Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

: "channels"). This was mistranslated into the English as "canals" which, being artificial watercourses, fueled the belief that there was some sort of intelligent extraterrestrial life on the planet. This further influenced American astronomer Percival Lowell
Percival Lowell
Percival Lawrence Lowell was a businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars, founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death...

.

In 1895 Lowell published a book titled Mars which speculated about an arid, dying landscape, whose inhabitants had been forced to build canals thousands of miles long to bring water from the polar caps to irrigate the remaining arable land. Lowell followed with Mars and Its Canals (1906) and Mars as an Abode of Life (1908). This formed prominent scientific ideas about the conditions on the red planet in the early years of the 20th century. Although Burroughs does not seem to have based his vision of Mars on precise reading of Lowell's theories, as there are a number of errors in his ideas which may suggest he got most of his information from reading newspaper articles and other popular accounts of Lowell's Mars.

The concept of canals with flowing water and a world where life was possible were later proved erroneous by more accurate observation of the planet, and later landings by Russian and American probes such as the two Viking missions
Viking program
The Viking program consisted of a pair of American space probes sent to Mars, Viking 1 and Viking 2. Each spacecraft was composed of two main parts, an orbiter designed to photograph the surface of Mars from orbit, and a lander designed to study the planet from the surface...

 which found a dead world too cold for water to exist in its fluid state.

Previous Mars fiction



The first science fiction to be set on Mars may be Across the Zodiac
Across The Zodiac
Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record is a science fiction novel by Percy Greg, who has been credited as an originator of the Sword and planet sub-genre of science fiction.- Plot :...

, by Percy Greg, published in 1880. It was a long-winded book concerned with a civil war on Mars. Another Mars novel, dealing with benevolent Martians coming to Earth was published in 1897 by Kurd Lasswitz, Auf Zwei Planeten. It was not translated until 1971, and was thus unlikely to have influenced Burroughs, although it did depict a Mars influenced by the ideas of Percival Lowell. Other examples are Mr. Stranger's Sealed Packet (1889), which took place on Mars; Gustavus W. Popes's Journey to Mars
Journey to Mars
Journey to Mars the Wonderful World: Its Beauty and Splendor; Its Mighty Races and Kingdoms; Its Final Doom is an 1894 science fiction novel written by Gustavus W. Pope. The book has attracted increased contemporary attention as a precedent and possible source for the famous Barsoom novels of...

 (1894); and Ellsworth Douglas's Pharaoh's Broker, in which the protagonist encounters an Egyptian civilization on Mars which, while parallel to that of the Earth, has evolved somehow independently.

H.G. Wells' novel, The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...

, most definitely influenced by Lowell and published in 1898, did however create the precedent for a number of enduring Martian tropes in science fiction writing. These include Mars being an ancient world, nearing the end of its life; being the home of a superior civilization, capable of advanced feats of science and engineering; and a source of invasion forces, keen to conquer the Earth. The first two tropes were prominent in Burroughs' Barsoom series. Burroughs, however, claimed never to have read any of H.G. Wells' books. Lowell was probably the greater direct influence on Burroughs.

Richard A. Lupoff
Richard A. Lupoff
Richard Allen Lupoff is an American science fiction and mystery author, who has also written humor, satire, non-fiction and reviews. In addition to his two dozen novels and more than 40 short stories, he has also edited science-fantasy anthologies. He is an expert on the writing of Edgar Rice...

 claimed that Burroughs was influenced in writing his Martian stories by Edwin Lester Arnold
Edwin Lester Linden Arnold
Edwin Lester Linden Arnold was an English author. Most of his works were issued under his working name of Edwin Lester Arnold....

's earlier novel Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation
Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation
Lieutenant 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...

 (1905) ( later retitled Gulliver of Mars). Gullivar Jones, who travels to Mars by flying carpet rather than via astral projection, encounters a civilization with similarities to those found on Barsoom, rescues a Martian Princess, and even undertakes a voyage down a river similar to the Iss in The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars
The Gods of Mars is a 1918 Edgar Rice Burroughs science fiction novel, the second of his famous Barsoom series. It was first published in All-Story as a five-part serial in the issues for January-May 1913. It was later published as a complete novel by A. C...

. Lupoff also suggested that Burroughs derived characteristics of his main protagonist John Carter from Phra, hero of Arnold's The Wonderful Adventures of Phra the Phoenician (1890), who is also a swashbuckling adventurer and master swordsman, for whom death is no obstacle. Lupoff's theories were disputed by numerous scholars of Burroughs' work. Lupoff countered, claiming that many of Burroughs' stories had antecedents in previous works, and that this was not unusual for writers.

On scientists


Burroughs' Barsoom series was extremely popular with American readers and many scientists who grew up reading the novels, and helped inspire public support for the US space program. Readers included some of the first space pioneers and those involved in the search for life on other planets. Scientist Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

 read the books as a young boy, and they continued to affect his imagination into his adult years. He remembered Barsoom as a "world of ruined cities, planet girdling canals, immense pumping stations — a feudal technological society". For two decades, a map of the planet, as imagined by Burroughs, hung in the hallway outside of Sagan's office in Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

.

On science fiction



Well-known early science fiction writers Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

 and Arthur C. Clarke
Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, famous for his short stories and novels, among them 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein,...

 both read, and were inspired by Burroughs' series of Barsoom books in their youth. Bradbury admired Burroughs' stimulating romantic tales, and they were an inspiration for The Martian Chronicles
The Martian Chronicles
The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story collection by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists...

 (1950), in which he used some similar concepts of a dying Mars. Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

 also wrote fiction inspired by Burroughs' Barsoom series, and for many others, the Barsoom series helped to establish Mars
Mars in fiction
Fictional representations of Mars have been popular for over a century. Interest in Mars has been stimulated by the planet's dramatic red color, by early scientific speculations that its surface conditions might be capable of supporting life, and by the possibility that Mars could be colonized by...

 as an adventurous, enticing destination for the imagination.

The John Carter books enjoyed another wave of popularity in the 1970s, with Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 veterans who said they could identify with Carter, fighting in a war on another planet.

Novels and short stories


Numerous novels and series
Sword and planet
Sword and Planet is a subgenre of science fantasy that features rousing adventure stories set on other planets, and usually featuring Earthmen as protagonists. The name derives from the heroes of the genre engaging their adversaries in hand to hand combat primarily with simple melee weapons such as...

 by others were inspired by Burroughs' Mars books: the Radio Planet trilogy of Ralph Milne Farley; the Mars and Venus novels of Otis Adelbert Kline
Otis Adelbert Kline
Otis Adelbert Kline born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, was an adventure novelist and literary agent during the pulp era. Much of his work first appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. Kline was an amateur orientalist and a student of Arabic, like his friend and sometime collaborator, E...

; Almuric
Almuric
Almuric is a science fiction novel by Robert E. Howard. It was originally serialized in three parts in the magazine Weird Tales beginning in May 1939...

 by Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard
Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. Best known for his character Conan the Barbarian, he is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre....

; Warrior of Llarn and Thief of Llarn by Gardner Fox
Gardner Fox
Gardner Francis Cooper Fox was an American writer best known for creating numerous comic book characters for DC Comics. Comic-book historians estimate that he wrote over 4,000 comics stories....

; Tarzan on Mars, Go-Man and Thundar, Man of Two Worlds by John Bloodstone; the Michael Kane trilogy of Michael Moorcock
Michael Moorcock
Michael John Moorcock is an English writer, primarily of science fiction and fantasy, who has also published a number of literary novels....

; The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. It was completed in 1927 and was unpublished in his lifetime. It is both the longest of the stories that comprise his Dream Cycle and the longest to feature protagonist Randolph Carter, and can thus be considered a culminating...

, Through the Gates of the Silver Key by H.P. Lovecraft, the Gor
Gor
Gor , the Counter-Earth, is the alternate-world setting for a series of 30 novels by John Norman that combine philosophy, erotica and science fiction...

 series of John Norman
John Norman
John Frederick Lange, Jr. , better known under his pen name John Norman, is a professor of philosophy and an author. He is best known for his Gor novel series.-Biography:...

; the Callisto series
Callisto series
The Callisto series is a sequence of eight science fiction novels by Lin Carter, of the sword and planet subgenre, first published by Dell Books from 1972-1978...

 and Green Star series of Lin Carter
Lin Carter
Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin.-Life:Carter was born in St. Petersburg, Florida...

; The Goddess of Ganymede and Pursuit on Ganymede by Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick
Michael Diamond Resnick , better known by his published name Mike Resnick, is an American science fiction author. He was executive editor of Jim Baen's Universe.-Biography:...

; and the Dray Prescot series
Dray Prescot series
The Dray Prescot series is a sequence of fifty-three science fiction novels and a number of associated short stories of the subgenre generally classified as sword and planet, written by Kenneth Bulmer under the pseudonym of Alan Burt Akers....

 of Alan Burt Akers (Kenneth Bulmer)
Kenneth Bulmer
Henry Kenneth Bulmer was a British author, primarily of science fiction.-Life:Born in London, he married Pamela Buckmaster on 7 March 1953. They had one son and two daughters, and were divorced in 1981...

. In addition, Leigh Brackett
Leigh Brackett
Leigh Douglass Brackett was an American author, particularly of science fiction. She was also a screenwriter, known for her work on famous films such as The Big Sleep , Rio Bravo , The Long Goodbye and The Empire Strikes Back .-Life:Leigh Brackett was born and grew up in Los Angeles, California...

, Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

, Andre Norton
Andre Norton
Andre Alice Norton, née Alice Mary Norton was an American science fiction and fantasy author under the noms de plume Andre Norton, Andrew North and Allen Weston...

, Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Marion Eleanor Zimmer Bradley was an American author of fantasy novels such as The Mists of Avalon and the Darkover series. Many critics have noted a feminist perspective in her writing. Her first child, David R...

, and Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster is an American author of fantasy and science fiction. He currently resides in Prescott, Arizona, with his wife, and is also known for his novelizations of film scripts...

 show Burroughs' influence in their development of alien cultures and worlds.

A. Bertram Chandler
A. Bertram Chandler
Arthur Bertram Chandler was a British-Australian science fiction author. He also wrote under the pseudonyms George Whitley, George Whitely, Andrew Dunstan, and S.H.M....

's pulp novels The Alternate Martians and The Empress of Outer Space overtly borrow a number of characters and situations from Burroughs' Barsoom series.

Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein
Robert Anson Heinlein was an American science fiction writer. Often called the "dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most influential and controversial authors of the genre. He set a standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of...

's novels Glory Road
Glory Road
Glory Road is a fantasy novel by Robert A. Heinlein, originally serialized in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and published in hardcover later the same year...

 and The Number of the Beast
The Number of the Beast (novel)
The Number of the Beast is a science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein published in 1980. The first edition featured a cover and interior illustrations by Richard M. Powers...

, and Alan Moore's graphic novels of Allan and the Sundered Veil
Allan and the Sundered Veil
Allan and the Sundered Veil was a six-part story written in the style of a boy's periodical by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, included at the back of each issue of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume I and collected at the back of that volume...

 and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II is a comic book limited series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, published under the America's Best Comics imprint of DC Comics...

 directly reference Barsoom.

In Philip José Farmer
Philip José Farmer
Philip José Farmer was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories....

's World of Tiers
World of Tiers
The World of Tiers is a series of science fiction novels by American writer Philip José Farmer. They are set within a series of artificially-constructed universes, created and ruled by decadent beings who are genetically identical to humans, but who regard themselves as superior, the inheritors of...

 series (1965–1993) Kickaha, the series' adventurer protagonist, asks his friend The Creator of Universes to create for him a Barsoom. The latter agrees only to make an empty world, since "It would go too far for me to create all these fabulous creatures only for you to amuse yourself by running your sword through them." Kickaha visits from time to time the empty Barsoom, complete with beautiful palaces in which nobody ever lived, but goes away frustrated.

L. Sprague de Camp's
L. Sprague de Camp
Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...

 story "Sir Harold of Zodanga
Sir Harold of Zodanga
Sir Harold of Zodanga is a fantasy novella written by science fiction and fantasy author L. Sprague de Camp as part of the Harold Shea series he originated in collaboration with Fletcher Pratt and later continued with Christopher Stasheff. It was first published in paperback by Baen Books in de...

" recasts and rationalizes Barsoom as a parallel world
Parallel universe (fiction)
A parallel universe or alternative reality is a hypothetical self-contained separate reality coexisting with one's own. A specific group of parallel universes is called a "multiverse", although this term can also be used to describe the possible parallel universes that constitute reality...

 visited by his dimension-hopping hero Harold Shea. De Camp accounts for Burroughs' departures from physics or logic by portraying both Burroughs and Carter as having a tendency to exaggerate in their storytelling, and Barsoomian technology as less advanced than usually presented.

Furthermore, his Viagens Interplanetarias
Viagens Interplanetarias
The Viagens Interplanetarias series is a sequence of science fiction stories by L. Sprague de Camp, begun in the late 1940s and written under the influence of contemporary space opera and sword and planet stories, particularly Edgar Rice Burroughs's Martian novels...

 series of novels and short stories, especially those set on Krishna, one of Tau Ceti
Tau Ceti
Tau Ceti is a star in the constellation Cetus that is spectrally similar to the Sun, although it has only about 78% of the Sun's mass. At a distance of just under 12 light-years from the Solar System, it is a relatively close star. Tau Ceti is metal-deficient and so is thought to be less likely to...

's inhabited planets, owe much to the premise of feudal co-existence alongside advanced technology pioneered within the Barsoom series.

In 1989 Larry Niven
Larry Niven
Laurence van Cott Niven / ˈlæri ˈnɪvən/ is an American science fiction author. His best-known work is Ringworld , which received Hugo, Locus, Ditmar, and Nebula awards. His work is primarily hard science fiction, using big science concepts and theoretical physics...

 and Steven Barnes
Steven Barnes
Steven Barnes is an African American science fiction writer, lecturer, creative consultant, and human performance technician....

 published "The Barsoom Project", where a futuristic form of live action role-playing game
Live action role-playing game
A live action role-playing game is a form of role-playing game where the participants physically act out their characters' actions. The players pursue goals within a fictional setting represented by the real world, while interacting with each other in character. The outcome of player actions may...

s (LARPs) is based on the Barsoom books.

The Mars-based novels
Mars trilogy
The Mars trilogy is a series of award-winning science fiction novels by Kim Stanley Robinson that chronicles the settlement and terraforming of the planet Mars through the intensely personal and detailed viewpoints of a wide variety of characters spanning almost two centuries...

 of Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the fifteen years of research...

 (published from 1992 to 1999) also offer several nods in Burroughs' direction.

The 2008 novel In the Courts of the Crimson Kings
In the Courts of the Crimson Kings
In the Courts of the Crimson Kings is a 2008 alternate history, science fiction novel by American writer S. M. Stirling.-Plot introduction:...

 by S.F. writer S. M. Stirling
S. M. Stirling
Stephen Michael Stirling is a French-born Canadian-American science fiction and fantasy author. Stirling is probably best known for his Draka series of alternate history novels and the more recent time travel/alternate history Nantucket series and Emberverse series.-Personal:Stirling was born on...

 is an alternate telling of the Princess of Mars story but this time the princess is a very powerful character indeed.

DC Comics character Adam Strange
Adam Strange
Adam Strange is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky, he first appeared in Showcase #17 .In May 2011, Adam Strange placed 97th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time....

's method of transportation, the Zeta Beam, recalls the way Carter is transported to Mars.

In the Commonwealth Saga
Commonwealth Saga
The Commonwealth Saga is a series of science fiction novels by British science fiction writer Peter F. Hamilton. This saga consists of the novels Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained , as well as Misspent Youth . The events of Pandora's Star and Judas Unchained take place 340 years after his...

 novels by Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F. Hamilton
Peter F. Hamilton is a British author. He is best known for writing space opera. As of the publication of his tenth novel in 2004, his works had sold over two million copies worldwide.- Biography :...

 a group of humans who undertake unprecedented and often illegal genetic modifications of their own bodies are known as the Barsoomians, in apparent reference to Burroughs' creation.

Richard Corben
Richard Corben
Richard Corben is an American illustrator and comic book artist best known for his comics featured in Heavy Metal magazine...

's Den
Den (comics)
Den is the name of two identical planetary romance fictional characters created by Richard Corben. The first appeared in the 1968 animated short film Neverwhere. The second has been appearing in the medium of comics since 1973, and in short stories that have been collected for the most part in...

 series also appears to be inspired by the Barsoom series. It features a hero, Den, who mysteriously arrives naked on a (largely) desert planet where he becomes a great warrior and where the humanoids wear no clothes. Many of the creatures resemble the description of the white apes of the Gods of Mars. Like John Carter, he also receives great physical prowess from arriving in Neverwhere
Den (comics)
Den is the name of two identical planetary romance fictional characters created by Richard Corben. The first appeared in the 1968 animated short film Neverwhere. The second has been appearing in the medium of comics since 1973, and in short stories that have been collected for the most part in...

, although Carter's prowess stems from gravity, whereas Den undergoes a complete physical transformation.

In Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

's novel The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, Eddie Dean compares the All-World
All-World
All-World is a fictional location in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series of novels. All-World is the world known to contain the "Keystone Tower" in the Dark Tower series. It is the only world that contains the Dark Tower in its physical form; all others contain a representative of the Tower, such...

 and the quest for the Dark Tower to a Barsoom novel.

The John Carter of Mars series was also felt to be one of the inspirations for the Dark Sun Dungeons & Dragons game world setting.

In A Wizard of Mars
A Wizard of Mars
A Wizard of Mars is the ninth novel in the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane. After being pushed back several times due to internal turmoil at Harcourt Trade Publishers, it was scheduled to be released April 14, 2010, but the distributor shipped it in late March.-Plot:Young Wizards Kit Rodriguez...

 by Diane Duane
Diane Duane
Diane Duane is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Her works include the Young Wizards young adult fantasy series and the Rihannsu Star Trek novels.-Biography :...

, the main character Kit is a major fan of the Barsoom series and a long dormant wizard artifact recreates Barsoom as Kit imagines it to communicate with him.

Poetry


The science fiction poems
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

 in Oscar Hurtado's book La Ciudad Muerta de Korad (The Dead City of Korad, in Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

) are full of intertextualities
Intertextuality
Intertextuality is the shaping of texts' meanings by other texts. It can include an author’s borrowing and transformation of a prior text or to a reader’s referencing of one text in reading another. The term “intertextuality” has, itself, been borrowed and transformed many times since it was coined...

 with the Barsoom series, as well as with the Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...

 novels by Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

, the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

, children folk tales, and other references.

The Dead City of Korad was published in 1964 and marks the beginning of the Science Fiction genre in Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

Film and television

  • Avatar: In interviews, James Cameron
    James Cameron
    James Francis Cameron is a Canadian-American film director, film producer, screenwriter, editor, environmentalist and inventor...

     has invoked Burroughs as one of the primary inspirations behind his 2009 space adventure.
  • Babylon 5
    Babylon 5
    Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on a space station named Babylon 5: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262...

    : In this science fiction television series, Amanda Carter — a Martian citizen and advocate of Mars' independence from Earth — is revealed to have had a grandfather named John who was a pioneer colonist on Mars. This has been confirmed by the series creator J. Michael Straczynski
    J. Michael Straczynski
    Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

     as a reference made by the episode writer Larry DiTillio to John Carter of Mars.
  • Flash Gordon
    Flash Gordon
    Flash Gordon is the hero of a science fiction adventure comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond. First published January 7, 1934, the strip was inspired by and created to compete with the already established Buck Rogers adventure strip. Also inspired by these series were comics such as Dash...

    , Buck Rogers
    Buck Rogers
    Anthony Rogers is a fictional character that first appeared in Armageddon 2419 A.D. by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue....

     film serials
    Serial (film)
    Serials, more specifically known as Movie serials, Film serials or Chapter plays, were short subjects originally shown in theaters in conjunction with a feature film. They were related to pulp magazine serialized fiction...

     of the 1930s, and the Star Wars
    Star Wars
    Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

     films owe debts and offer nods to Burroughs' Barsoom novels

Comic strips


With the Tarzan comic strip
Comic strip
A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

 a popular success, newspapers began a comic strip adaptation of A Princess of Mars drawn by Edgar Rice Burroughs' son, John Coleman Burroughs
John Coleman Burroughs
John Coleman "Jack" Burroughs was an American illustrator known for his illustrations of the works of his father, Edgar Rice Burroughs.-Life:...

. Never as popular as Tarzan, it ran in only four Sunday newspapers, from December 7, 1941 to March 28, 1943.

John Carter appeared in one of the last Sunday Tarzan comic strip stories, drawn by Gray Morrow
Gray Morrow
Dwight Graydon "Gray" Morrow was an American illustrator of paperback books and comics.-Biography:Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Morrow is best known as art director of Spider-Man between 1967 and 1970 and as illustrator of the syndicated Tarzan, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and Prince Valiant comic...

.

Comic books

  • The Funnies
    The Funnies
    The Funnies was the name of two American publications from Dell Publishing, the first of these a seminal, 1920s precursor of comic books, and the second a standard 1930s comic book.-The Funnies :In 1929, George T...

    : This comic book
    Comic book
    A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

     included a John Carter serial drawn by John Coleman Burroughs, which ran for 23 issues.
  • John Carter (Dell Comics
    Dell Comics
    Dell Comics was the comic book publishing arm of Dell Publishing, which got its start in pulp magazines. It published comics from 1929 to 1973. At its peak, it was the most prominent and successful American company in the medium...

    ): Dell published published three comic books in 1952, adapting the first three Barsoom books, drawn by Jesse Marsh
    Jesse Marsh
    Jesse Marsh was a comic book and animation artist. His main claim to fame is his work on the early Tarzan and related books for Western Publishing that saw print through Dell Comics and later Gold Key Comics. He was the first artist to produce original Tarzan comic books. Up to that time, all...

    , who was the Dell Tarzan artist at the time. They were Four Color Comics #375, 437, and 488. They were later reprinted by the successor of Dell, Gold Key Comics
    Gold Key Comics
    Gold Key Comics was an imprint of Western Publishing created for comic books distributed to newsstands. Also known as Whitman Comics, Gold Key operated from 1962 to 1984.-History:...

     as John Carter of Mars #1-3.
  • A Princess of Mars (The Sun): This UK comic ran as a weekly serial in 1958 adapted by Robert Forrest.
  • John Carter in Tarzan
    Tarzan (comics)
    Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.-Comic strips:...

     (DC Comics
    DC Comics
    DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

    ): John Carter was published as a backup feature in the Tarzan
    Tarzan (comics)
    Tarzan, a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, first appeared in the 1912 novel Tarzan of the Apes, and then in 23 sequels. The character proved immensely popular and quickly made the jump to other media, including comics.-Comic strips:...

     series, issues 207–209, after which it was moved to Weird Worlds
    Weird Worlds (comics)
    Weird Worlds was a short-lived science fiction anthology title from DC Comics that was published between 1972 and 1974. It lasted 10 issues.At first, Weird Worlds published series from Edgar Rice Burroughs that DC had the rights to...

    , sharing main feature status alongside an adaptation of Burroughs' "Pellucidar
    Pellucidar
    Pellucidar is a fictional Hollow Earth milieu invented by Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs for a series of action adventure stories. In a notable crossover event between Burroughs' series, there is a Tarzan story in which the Ape Man travels into Pellucidar.The stories initially involve the...

    " stories in issues #1-7; it again became a backup feature in Tarzan Family #62-64. (A non-John Carter Barsoom story also appeared in Tarzan Family issue #60.)
  • John Carter, Warlord of Mars
    John Carter, Warlord of Mars
    John Carter, Warlord of Mars is a Marvel Comics series created in 1977 by Marv Wolfman and Gil Kane , based on the Barsoom series of Edgar Rice Burroughs and featuring the eponymous character....

     (Marvel Comics
    Marvel Comics
    Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

    ): This series began in 1977 and lasted for 28 issues (and saw three annuals published).
  • Tarzan comic strip
    Comic strip
    A comic strip is a sequence of drawings arranged in interrelated panels to display brief humor or form a narrative, often serialized, with text in balloons and captions....

    : In 1995, writer Don Kraar set a story on Barsoom featuring Tarzan, David Innes
    David Innes
    David Innes is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs as the main protagonist of his Pellucidar novels.-The early novels:David Innes is introduced in the first Pellucidar novel, At the Earth's Core, as a mining heir who finances the experimental "iron mole," an excavating vehicle...

    , and John Carter.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a comic book series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, publication of which began in 1999. The series spans two six-issue limited series and a graphic novel from the America's Best Comics imprint of Wildstorm/DC, and a third miniseries...

     (DC Comics
    DC Comics
    DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

    ): John Carter also made a notable cameo in the second volume
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II
    The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II is a comic book limited series written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Kevin O'Neill, published under the America's Best Comics imprint of DC Comics...

     of the series written by Alan Moore
    Alan Moore
    Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

    . Along with other literary Martian characters, he leads a campaign against the Martians
    Martian (War of the Worlds)
    The Martians, also known as the Invaders, are the fictional race of extraterrestrials from the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds. They are the antagonists of the novel, and their efforts to exterminate the populace of Earth and claim the planet for themselves drive the plot and present...

     from The War of the Worlds
    The War of the Worlds
    The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...

    .
  • ABC Magazine, Czechoslovakia: The first four Barsoom novels were printed as two comic-book series (51 pages altogether) from 1970-1972 (Written by Vlastislav Toman, with painters Jiří Veškrna and Milan Ressel.) They were reprinted in 2001 in the comic book Velká Kniha Komiksů I. (ISBN 80-7257-658-5)
  • Warlord of Mars (Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment is an American comic book company that primarily publishes licensed franchises of adaptations of other media. These include adaptations of film properties such as Army of Darkness, Terminator and RoboCop, literary properties such as Zorro, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in...

    ): Starting in October 2010, Dynamite has begun publishing a twelve-issue series entitled Warlord of Mars. The first two issues served as a prelude story, issues 3-9 will adapt A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars
    A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

    , and issues 10-12 will be an original story.
  • Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris (Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment is an American comic book company that primarily publishes licensed franchises of adaptations of other media. These include adaptations of film properties such as Army of Darkness, Terminator and RoboCop, literary properties such as Zorro, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in...

    ): Starting in March 2011, it is set 400 years before A Princess of Mars and focus on Dejah Thoris, her first suitor, and her role in the rise to power of the Kingdom of Helium.
  • Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom (Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment
    Dynamite Entertainment is an American comic book company that primarily publishes licensed franchises of adaptations of other media. These include adaptations of film properties such as Army of Darkness, Terminator and RoboCop, literary properties such as Zorro, Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, Alice in...

    ): Starting in July 2011, it is be set 100,000 years before A Princess of Mars and focus on the attempt of two Orovars to save their civilization from the rise of the Green and Red Martians.

Film


The Asylum
The Asylum
The Asylum is an American film studio and distributor which focuses on producing low-budget, usually direct-to-video productions. The studio has produced titles that capitalize on productions by major studios; these titles have been dubbed "mockbusters" by the press.-History:The Asylum was founded...

 produced a direct-to-video
Direct-to-video
Direct-to-video is a term used to describe a film that has been released to the public on home video formats without being released in film theaters or broadcast on television...

 film, Princess of Mars
Princess of Mars
Princess of Mars is a 2009 direct-to-DVD science fiction film made by American independent studio The Asylum, based on the 1917 novel A Princess of Mars by author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The novel shares some elements with James Cameron's Avatar, as mentioned on the film's promotional art...

, in 2009.

Director Andrew Stanton
Andrew Stanton
Andrew Stanton is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and occasional voice actor based at Pixar Animation Studios. His film work includes writing and directing Finding Nemo and WALL-E; both films earned him the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.-Life and career:Stanton was...

 is working with The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 to film the first novel, A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars
A Princess of Mars is a science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first of his Barsoom series. It is also Burroughs' first novel, predating his famous Tarzan series. Full of swordplay and daring feats, the novel is considered a classic example of 20th century pulp fiction...

, under the title John Carter, with a 2012 release date.

Copyright


The American copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 of the five earliest novels has expired in the United States, and they appear on a number of free e-text sites. However, because they were separately copyrighted in Great Britain, these works remain protected under the Berne Copyright Convention in the UK and throughout much of the world.
The Australian copyright of the remainder, not including John Carter of Mars (1964), has also expired and they too appear online.

External links


There is a board for the Paramount endeavor at the Internet Movie Database as well as an unofficial fan site.