Review – A Princess of Mars

Posted November 25, 2013 by Nicky in Reviews / 4 Comments

Cover of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice BurroughsA Princess of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs

Who did I see describing this as “old school, pulpy goodness”? I think that works pretty well. I’m not sure how I’m going to relate this to Herland in my SF/F essay, but I’m thinking on it… Obviously there’s a ton of colonial, North American stuff going on here, wherein a white man from Earth comes and suspiciously saves a red-skinned princess and reforms the Martian societies to good American values…

But it’s still sort of fun, and not a chore to read: the prose is straight-forward and not too crammed with infodumps, and I did get sort of fond of one or two characters, mostly Sola (perhaps because she was “civilised” and relateable before the Great White Man’s intervention).

No real surprises here, and I don’t think I’ll be in a hurry to read other Barsoom books, but it’s enjoyable in its way.

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4 responses to “Review – A Princess of Mars

  1. It is indeed a fun book. I’ve read the first three in the series and enjoyed them very much. It is certainly a product of its time, but therein lies part of the attraction for me. I love reading these old books where there was still a portion of the public who believed that there just might be people living on the planets in our solar system…people of some sort, that is. The books give me a real sense of nostalgia. And John Carter and Dejah Thoris are just fun characters.

    The film captured the spirit of these books so well, it is a shame that it didn’t do better at the box office.

    • That is a good point — that sense that we could reach other intelligent life we could understand during our lifetimes, with some ease, that’s missing now. I mean, it comes up sometimes, but not with the same sincerity.

      I don’t see many films — is it really worth it?

      • That is purely a manner of opinion. Critics destroyed it. But every fan of the books that I talked to loved it. We all feel that they really did a great job putting a framing story around it and getting to the heart of what the books are about. It is pulpy and very much a straight forward sci-fi adventure like Star Wars. Nothing ground-breaking in science fiction but that is really the point as they were trying to capture that pulp feel of the books. Here is the link to my gushing review where I discuss some of the issues with marketing the film:

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