Monday, November 12, 2007

A Princess of Mars

Author: Edgar Rice Burroughs

First line: I am a very old man; how old I do not know.

Why you should read this book: Almost a hundred years ago, Burroughs, best known as the author of the Tarzan books, penned the story of John Carter, a gentleman of Virginia, transported by unknown means to the red planet, where men are men, women are women, and ferocious, green, fifteen-foot tall, six-limbed alien monsters are ferocious, green, fifteen-foot tall, six-limbed alien monsters. Making use of his natural martial skill and buoyed by the lesser Martian gravity as well as his pure devotion to the incomparable Dejah Thoris, princess of Mars, Carter fights his way across the dying, arid planet, uniting warring tribes, flouting convention, and generally pouring the foundation for the best science fiction and fantasy novels of the twentieth century. Although Burroughs's inherent racism and bellicose predilections are evident in the construction of his world, this is a joyous story of love and honor, hung with the trappings of ancient artifacts from our own world.

Why you shouldn't read this book: Knowing Mars to be a lifeless planet, you refuse to suspend disbelief long enough to immerse yourself in the book's rich landscape.

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