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The Martian Tales Trilogy: A Princess of Mars / The Gods of Mars / The…

de Edgar Rice Burroughs

Sèrie: Barsoom (Omnibus 1-3)

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Brings together the first three John Carter of Mars books, illustrated by well-known fantasy illustrators, as John arrives on Mars for the first time and works to win the heart of a princess, fights the dreaded Black Pirates, and faces an evil that threatens to destroy the planet and everything he has grown to love.… (més)
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These books are very much a product of their time. Swashbuckling, formulaic, and rigidly misogynistic, it can only be enjoyed as a guilty pleasure or an interesting window into another time.

A Princess of Mars - This covers the arrival of John Carter on Mars, his infiltration and mastery of the Martian races and his romantic alliance with the first (and possibly only) female red Martian he sees. The book ends with his last minute attempt to save Mars from its failing atmosphere. Passing out from lack of oxygen he awakens on Earth again without knowing if his actions saved the people he loved.

The Gods of Mars - In this installment, John Carter returns to Mars (nevermind how), and is thwarted at every turn as he attempts to locate his wife and child. He meets up with old friends on their way to the underworld. Tars Tarkas believes that John Carter must be dead so he has set off to paradise to look for him. But John Carter and Co. will soon learn that the Martian afterlife is anything but. Rather, the land is ruled by a cruel old witch who has set herself up as a goddess. All Martians that journey down the river Iss are either killed or enslaved. John Carter must fight all the legions of hell to find his love again.

As cruel fate will have it, John Carter only finds Dejah Thoris in time to bid her a tearful goodbye. She as well as two other women have been locked in a tower to die by the faux goddess Issus. The tower's doors only open once a year, and just as it was closing, the women began to fight over John Carter (nevermind why). Oh the drama!!! Whatever shall befall??

The Warlords of Mars - John Carter continues in his quest to recover his lost love Dejah Thoris. Ever since the day she was sealed within the sun tower he has searched far and wide for a way to free her. When he overhears a plot by several thugs to retrieve her in secret he follows in hopes of rescuing her. Alas he arrives too late and the chase is on. The pursuit of his wife will lead him on a wild chase all over the strange and warlike landscape of Mars. ( )
  Juva | Jul 17, 2015 |
Great stories, although they get a little repetitive. John Carter is so thoroughly badass that it is hard to ever really feel tension at the danger he is in. It's a little like watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick; no matter how many bullets and explosions there are, you know Arnie will come out on top just fine. Still, rollicking and fast-paced entertainment.

A word of warning though about its datedness. Since we now know much better what Mars is like, the ideas of swashbuckling green dudes, vast beds of yellow moss, and vicious white apes might strike you as pretty silly. I suggest that you just take it in stride and think of these stories more as wholesale fantasy, rather than science fiction.

A note about this particular Barnes & Noble omnibus volume: the editing is a bit crummy. There are many typos, and you will often find yourself re-reading nonsense sentences before realizing that "fat" should be "far" or somesuch. ( )
  josh314 | Nov 6, 2013 |
This is a great omnibus edition of the first 3 John Carter books. These books were the first of the Mars swords-and-guns style fantasy/science fiction and Burroughs is still the best. After 100 years the stories are still interesting and the 'science' still out there. True, these are massively dated now - no computers, no spacechips (wait, we still can't get to Mars...) but there are still flying boats and complex weather machines. ray guhs, etc. What really makes these good though are the characters. Great stuff! ( )
  Karlstar | May 26, 2013 |
This volume is an omnibus, and I will be reviewing each of the three books within it separately. The overall star rating will be for the book as a whole, and not necessarily an average of the individual books within it.

"A Princess of Mars"

I became interested in John Carter after viewing the Disney film, which I really enjoyed despite negative reviews. What I found waiting for me was a fun adventure tale, one that bore a much closer resemblance to the movie that I would have thought. This book definitely shows its age (100+) in terms of social conventions, gender roles, etc. If the reader is willing to get past that, there is a lot to enjoy. Burroughs knows how to tell a story, stringing together a series of cliffhangers that kept me engaged right up to the end.

Rating: 4 stars

The Gods of Mars

I'm not sure whether Burroughs intended this to be the middle volume of a trilogy, but that is how it reads, the Empire Strikes Back of the series, complete with a cliffhanger ending. Despite being slightly younger, the book felt much older due to its clumsy handling of race. Clumsy for the modern reader, that is; I get the feeling it was quite progressive for its time. The same cannot be said for its gender politics, which seem hopelessly mired in the 19th century. Aside from these considerations, I really enjoyed it. It's pulpy, it's fluffy, it's fun.

Rating: 3 stars

The Warlord of Mars

I'm even more certain now that these original three books were meant as a trilogy, because this one picks up right where the previous volume left off, and gives us a climactic final battle in which the characters from the prior two volumes each get a chance to shine. The ending is fitting, rewarding our hero for his virtues in a very era-appropriate way.

The racial weirdness is still in evidence, with "yellow" men now entering the mix, alongside the red, black, and white men from earlier volumes. As always, these books should be approached with a knowledge of the era in which they were written, and appreciated in that context.

I'm glad to have read this series, and if this book was less groundbreaking than the others, it can easily be read as all of a piece with the books that came before it.

Rating: 4 stars ( )
  shabacus | Jan 23, 2013 |
In the first place, I picked this book up because my book group has some old-line ERB enthusiasts and it seemed like a good idea to revisit these stories on the arrival of the movie. This is not to mention that I had never actually read any Burroughs and wanted to get some sense of what the fuss was all about.

So; what to say about a one-time classic? Trying to put myself in the Golden Age of Science Fiction (about twelve years of age), Burroughs’ creative imagination is still quite impressive and he should get points for giving the genre pretty much its first post-holocaust society. There is also the not-insignificant matter of how these stories are still a great piece of wish fulfillment for the disappointed, a state Burroughs inhabited when he started writing; one should never sneer at real conviction.

That said, even if one cuts Burroughs every break for writing in 1912 and further considers how the sort of science romance he was writing has a new lease on life in the form of Steam Punk, I still found putting myself in the right frame of mind to read these stories tough. It may simply come down to the matter that John Carter is just too damn virtuous for his own good; a little character development would go a long way.

There is also the small matter that the further I got into this the more I started thinking of ways to satirize the proceedings; not a good sign. ( )
  Shrike58 | Mar 29, 2012 |
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To the Reader of this Work: In submitting Captain Carter's strange manuscript to you in book form, I believe that a few words relative to this remarkable personality will be of interest.
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Brings together the first three John Carter of Mars books, illustrated by well-known fantasy illustrators, as John arrives on Mars for the first time and works to win the heart of a princess, fights the dreaded Black Pirates, and faces an evil that threatens to destroy the planet and everything he has grown to love.

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