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John Carter: Barsoom Series (7 Novels) A Princess of Mars; Gods of Mars; Warlord of Mars; Thuvia, Maid of Mars; Chessmen of Mars; Master Mind of Mars; Fighting Man of Mars COMPLETE WITH ILLUSTRATIONS Kindle Edition
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In the past, this handsome Engage edition had risen (briefly) in price from $.99 to $7.99 and is now happily back to $.99. Not only is this a truly amazing price for such a wonderful set of the first 7 Barsoom books, but improvements have been made to it. There are now more illustrations (enhanced and restored to their original appearance), minor textual errors and italic issues have now been addressed, and the book now appears alphabetically under B (for Burroughs) rather than R (for Rice Burroughs) on the Kindle. And paragraphs are still indicated by traditional indention (much to my liking) rather than spacing. An ebook set doesn't get much better than this. Numerous other ebook publishers in the Kindle Store still offer smaller sets, sometimes calling them "complete" and often charging higher prices. So this bundle of 7 is a pretty convenient and affordable way of getting most of them all at one time. And for many readers, this may be quite enough.
Not all of ERB's Barsoom books and stories are currently in the public domain; only those which are in the public domain are able to be printed royalty-free in unauthorized editions (such as this) without violating copyright laws. Yet every once in a while a new, truly complete but unauthorized and illegal ebook set of all 11 books (or 12 to those counting the two stories in the original v.11 as separate entities) appears in the Kindle Store until detected by Amazon and removed. Since 2011, I can recall a half-dozen such sets. If one ever comes along again, and should you desire to purchase it despite its illegality, don't delay; act immediately before it, too, disappears.
But Barsoom fans, take heart: There is STILL a way to get them ALL right NOW at a cost of about $1.00 per book. The complete series of 11 Barsoom tales, packaged in three ebook volumes (as "The Collected John Carter of Mars" and priced at $9.99 per volume), remains legally available because it is published by Disney and is authorized by the ERB copyright holders -- BUT you don't need to purchase all 3 Disney volumes and spend almost $30.00. Instead, purchase this $.99 Engage ebook set to obtain the first 7 Barsoom books; then purchase ONLY v. 3 of the Disney "Collected Works" set (which contains Barsoom books 8-11) to immediately have the entire Barsoom series for $10.98 (an average cost of about $1.00 per each of the 11 Barsoom titles), a reasonable price for great ERB and instant gratification.
There is one glitch, however. The 3 Disney volumes oddly do not provide all of ERB's forewords (which he attached to SOME -- not all -- of the books in this series); that is the reason, price aside, why I do not recommend purchasing the complete, 3-volume Disney set. In this particular instance, the "Foreword" to "Llana of Gathol" (consisting of about 2-3 print pages or 4-5 Kindle screens) is missing (though, fortunately, the other ERB books in Disney's v.3 DO contain all that he intended). In this very short framing device, a still youthful-looking John Carter reappears on earth one calm night to visit the visibly aging author (living on the Hawaiian island of Oahu), whom he calls "the last of my earthly kin whom I know personally." The author informs him his children also know of Carter and extracts a "half-promise" that Carter will sometime visit them in the future. Then he asks about Mars, and Carter relates this "story" (which is actually a merger of 4 previously published magazine novelettes joined end-to-end). While interesting, this foreword is in no way vital to the work as a whole, and its absence (though disappointing to be sure) should not prevent anyone from enjoying the remaining 200 or so pages of that "story" which ARE provided.
If you are considering purchasing this or any set of 7 with the intention of acquiring each of the remaining books INDIVIDUALLY (and hopefully inexpensively) in the Kindle Store, it is SOMETIMES possible to do so depending on the level of Amazon's diligence at any given moment in detecting and removing copyright offenders -- because at least one or more titles in the Barsoom series still have copyright issues. For what it's worth, here are the remaining book titles:
#8 "Swords of Mars"
#9 "Synthetic Men of Mars"
#10 "Llana of Gathol" (consisting of 4 novelettes: "The City of Mummies," "Black Pirates of Barsoom," "Yellow Men of Mars," and "Invisible Men of Mars")
#11 "John Carter of Mars" (consisting of 2 short novelettes: "John Carter and the Giant of Mars" and "Skeleton Men of Jupiter").
Presently each title comprising v.11 is being sold separately, but BOTH can be had together for only a dollar under the slightly incorrect title of "John Carter on Mars" (rather than "of" Mars"). The two stories in this last volume are sometimes counted separately, resulting in a series count of 12 rather than the traditional 11. Also be aware that some ERB sets also include the 1 or 2 legally available stories from "Llana of Gathol" as distinct entities, and they have also been sold separately. (The remaining stories in that volume, still under copyright protection, are what cause "Llana of Gathol" to be problematic.)
A great many ERB books are available as public domain freebies (usually text only) from the Kindle Store and online at sites like Gutenberg.org and Mnybks.net but you cannot get all of them that way. Sadly, several series ("Venus," "Moon," "Pellucidar" as well as "Barsoom" and even "Tarzan") still contain one or more stories not yet in the U.S. public domain. (These titles ARE, however, often in the public domain in OTHER countries, and occasionally Australian, British, or Canadian public domain versions of them may be found online.)
Of course, well-stocked new and used bookstores (remember them?) and online booksellers also provide paperback and hardcovered editions of ERB's works. (I enjoy reading my ERB ebooks, but I have hardcopy "backups" as well -- old paperbacks from Ace and Ballantine, original hardcovers from Grosset & Dunlap, and hardcovered reprints from Nelson Doubleday.) This may be the only way to currently obtain certain specific titles not yet available as ebooks.
I hope you have fun locating, sampling, deciding and (above all) reading and enjoying ERB's exciting Barsoom adventures. This series provides a truly unique and thrilling reading experience for young and old alike. As for this particular Engage ebook edition, to get so much wonderful content in such an appealing, well-formatted edition for such a low price is a no-brainer -- PURCHASE IT IMMEDIATELY!
UPDATE 02/07/17: LLANA OF GATHOL and some other hitherto unavailable ERB titles are beginning to appear in the Kindle Store (most recently from Jovian Press). How long they will remain there is anyone's guess, so get them NOW.
I first read these stories as well as many other Burrough's novels in my youth, and since beginning to use the Kindle I've sought out inexpensive collections of classic novels, both to fill my Kindle with reading material as well as give me the opportunity to re-discover stories that provided me with so much enjoyment many years ago.
This Kindle edition is as fine as any I've come across for the Kindle - very nicely produced, with a very generous collection of works, full tables of contents, and with no problems that I've discovered. It includes all of Burroughs Barsoom works presently available in the US under Public Domain (the remaining works continue to be protected under Copyright laws - see dates of publication of each work in the listing below).
Although not complete, this is an excellent collection. Here is the full listing of Burroughs Barsoom novels:
INCLUDED in this collection:
...1) A Princess of Mars (1912)
...2) The Gods of Mars (1914)
...3) The Warlord of Mars (1918)
...4) Thuvia, Maid of Mars (1920)
...5) The Chessmen of Mars (1922)
...6) The Master Mind of Mars (1928)
...7) A Fighting Man of Mars (1931)
Not included in this collection:
...8) Swords of Mars (1936)
...9) Synthetic Men of Mars (1940)
...10) Llana of Gathol (1948)
...11) John Carter of Mars (1964)
The final four stories that are still copyright protected can be obtained in this volume: The Collected John Carter of Mars (Volume 3) published by Disney, who are authorized by the Burroughs estate to offer them for sale.
For more information on Burroughs full writings, and their availability for the Kindle, please see my review to Edgar Rice Burroughs Anthology, 24 Works: A Princess of Mars, Tarzan of the Apes, The Return of Tarzan, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars, Tarzan the Untamed, Thuvia-Maid of Mars.
Onto the eBook itself. This really is an excellent presentation of the first seven Barsoom books. It has everything that you would want it to have: the forwards to all the novels (which I understand have been excluded from some eBook versions), the glossary from THUVIA, MAID OF MARS, the rules of Jetan from THE CHESSMEN OF MARS - all present and accounted for. Typos are not entirely absent but are very few and far between (much more so than in some of the "official" publications of these books from Ballantine/Del Rey, actually). All these books are in the public domain in the United States and can be downloaded for free from various Internet sites, but the extremely reasonable asking price for this collection on Amazon makes it more than worth the purchase, in my humble opinion. If this sounds like what you're looking for, then you know what to do.
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