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Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom Hardcover – February 7, 2012
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"The works closely honor Burroughs's own, with self-assured characters, concrete storytelling, high adventure, and touches of tongue-in-cheek humor. A worthwhile introduction (or, for adult readers, a return) to one of Burroughs's most imaginative universes." --Publishers Weekly
"Absolutely must have!" --The John Carter Files
"A collection filled with creative fun, fast-paced action, and even a speculative philosophical moment or two. [...] Thanks to collections like this, and the imagination of its diverse contributors, John Carter and Barsoom might be around to entertain and inspire readers for another 100 years." --Bookgasm
"A collection of 14 stories set in the world Edgar Rice Burroughs created, the mysterious, slowly dying red planet of Barsoom (Mars to you and me). Written by some of today's most adventurous talent, these new tales fit quite well into the world of John Carter. All the classic characters from the incomparable Dejah Thoris to the mighty Thark Jeddak Tars Tarkas, and even Carter's faithful Woola appear, as fresh as when they were first written." --SF Site
"A volume to cherish." --Open Letters Monthly
From the Inside Flap
Table of Contents
Foreword by Tamora Pierce
Introduction by John Joseph Adams
The Metal Men of Mars by Joe R. Lansdale
Three Deaths by David Barr Kirtley
The Ape-Man of Mars by Peter S. Beagle
A Tinker of Warhoon by Tobias S. Buckell
Vengeance of Mars by Robin Wasserman
Woola's Song by Theodora Goss
The River Gods of Mars by Austin Grossman
The Bronze Man of Mars by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
A Game of Mars by Genevieve Valentine
Sidekick of Mars by Garth Nix
The Ghost of the Superstition Mountains by Chris Claremont
The Jasoom Project by S. M. Stirling
Coming of Age in Barsoom by Catherynne M. Valente
The Death Song of Dwar Guntha by Jonathan Maberry
Appendix: A Barsoomian Gazetteer, or, Who's Who and What's What on Mars by Richard A. Lupoff
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Kaor, Jasoomians! Well, the Disney live action film may have underperformed at the box office (while still being a terrific film), but one of the side benefits of releasing a big budget motion picture like JOHN CARTER is that it does regenerate interest in the pulp adventure literature of E.R. Burroughs. And me, I've long preferred the immortal fighting Virginian over the more earthbound Lord Greystoke. So this new anthology is a bit of a vindication.
Burroughs' magnificent Martian adventures exemplified the pulp genre of the interplanetary romance. I challenge you to mention a hero more indomitable than John Carter. UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS, as if you didn't know, was the original title of the first John Carter story which was serialized in 1912 in THE ALL-STORY magazine, and later published in 1917 in book edition under the more familiar title of A PRINCESS OF MARS. Burroughs ended up writing ten Barsoom novels and one collection of two stories (JOHN CARTER OF MARS). John Carter was a major influence in my childhood. I went on to read Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Leigh Brackett, etc.
A stack of celebrated authors contributes to this anthology, to the tune of fourteen stories, some riveting, some not so much. Several stories bristle with thrilling derring-do. Several assume a contemplative, even a bittersweet, tone. One is pretty damn epic. This compilation unveils a few of Carter's "unrecorded" adventures. But the focus isn't solely on him. Descendants of Carter and the incomparable Dejah Thoris are showcased. Other tales examine side characters that had inhabited Burroughs' Martian novels. Perilous and far flung territories upon this dying planet are revisited. And others yet indulge in awesome fan gratification, the two best examples of which are Peter S. Beagle's controversial "The Ape-Man of Mars" and S.M. Stirling's "The Jasoom Project." Interestingly, we observe moments of startling revisionism. This volume posits that not everyone shares the same high opinion of the Warlord of Mars. John Carter, transplanted gentleman of the Antebellum South, is widely heralded for his courtesy and chivalry and fighting spirit. But viewed thru a different, more cynical prism, these attributes may translate to elitism and pridefulness and obliviousness. You only have to ask Lamentation Jones or Lord Greystoke or Falm Rojut.
Popular fantasy writer Tamora Pierce writes the foreword. Editor John Joseph Adams pens the intro. Note that the pages are peppered with illustrations by the likes of Gregory Manchess, Charlves Vess, Michael Wm Kaluta, and other artists whose stuff, regrettably, fail to make an impact. Indispensable is Richard A. Lupoff's "Appendix: A Barsoomian Gazetteer, or, Who's Who and What's What on Mars." This is an invaluable guide for those wracking their brain regarding the more obscure characters. Each story is prefaced by an introductory page that delves into the inspiration behind the story, as well as referencing relevant Burroughs material. For what it's worth, my favorites happen to be "The Ape-Man of Mars," "A Tinker of Warhoon," "A Sidekick of Mars," and "The Jasoom Project."
The fourteen stories:
- "The Metal Men of Mars" (by Joe R. Lansdale) - A bored John Carter departs from Helium in search of adventure. He stumbles across it in the shapes of terrifying golden cyborgs, an army of which will soon spread across the globe to assimilate Barsoom's sentient races. However, the Warlord of Mars isn't down with that "Resistance is futile" bullcrap.
- "Three Deaths" (by David Barr Kirtley) - The mettle of Ghar Han, doughty warrior of the 15-foot-tall race of Green Men, is tested when he challenges John Carter to a duel. Only, duels with John Carter never work out well for his opponents. In the aftermath, a devastated Ghar Han surveys his two hacked off limbs, and he burns for revenge. But Ghar Han is wholly unprepared for the onslaught of scorn heaped upon him by his fellow warriors. Good story.
- "The Ape-Man of Mars" (Peter S. Beagle) - Kreegah! Have you ever wondered what a meeting between two of Burroughs' most iconic literary creations - Tarzan of the Apes and John Carter of Mars - would be like? The Ape-Man finds himself on Barsoom and clashing with the haughty Virginian tarmangani. A very different perspective from Peter S. Beagle.
- "A Tinker of Warhoon" (Tobias S. Buckell) - Here's a wondrous thing! A Green Martian whose greatest asset is his brain, not his brawn. Kaz, whose story is set in the backdrop of A PRINCESS OF MARS, ends up being one my favorite Green Martians, after Tars Tarkas and Sola and, of course, J'onn J'onzz.
- "Vengeance of Mars" (Robin Wasserman) - From the pages of A PRINCESS OF MARS, we learn the fate of the sadistic Sarkoja after she was banished by Tars Tarkas from the tribe of the Tharks.
- "Woola's Song" (Theodora Goss) - A retelling of how John Carter first met his faithful canine-like calot, Woola... as recounted thru Woola's eyes.
- "The River Gods of Mars" (Austin Grossman) - In 1971 John Carter is once more transported to Barsoom and, for the umpteenth time, sets off to rescue Dejah Thoris who had vanished in Barsoom's southern hemisphere on a scientific expedition, tracking a mysterious moving phenomenon in the sky.
- "The Bronze Man of Mars" (L.E. Modesitt, Jr.) - In this tangential sequel to LLANA OF GATHOL, the unproven son of Llana and the white-skinned Orovar warrior, Pan Dan Chee, journeys to Horz, ruined capital of a long vanished empire, in a bid for fame and glory.
- "A Game of Mars" (Genevieve Valentine) - Follow-up to THE CHESSMEN OF MARS. When her brother Carthoris's flier crashlands near the nightmarish city of Manator - home to grotesque bodiless heads that force their captives to act as duelling pieces in their fatal chess matches - Tara, brave daughter of John Carter and Dejah Thoris, races to the rescue.
- "A Sidekick of Mars" (Garth Nix) - It seems that John Carter, in his periodic reminisces of Mars, has neglected to make mention of Lam Jones, the ornery ex-Union quartermaster and gold prospector who had accompanied Carter on many of his otherworldly adventures. Maybe it's because, on the red planet, Lam (short for "Lamentation of Worldy Sin") Jones shares Carter's extraordinary abilities, and the Jeddak of Jeddaks doesn't like that. After all, Lam Jones can lift more prodigiously than Carter. Garth Nix needs to expand on this short story.
- "The Ghost That Haunts the Superstition Mountains" (Chris Claremont) - What if John Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Tars Tarkas were stranded on Earth? What if this were a boring story? Not even the trio's run-in with the Apache chief Cochise can prevent this from being a flat and unsatisfying read for me. I did appreciate that Dejah Thoris is allowed to demonstrate her warrior skills.
- "The Jasoom Project" (S.M. Stirling) - This is an epic nod to the sweeping canvas of Burrough's imagination. John Carter's great-grandson strives to cross the vast reaches of space to Carter's home world of Jasoom ("Earth" to you and me). This one marries elements from THE MASTER MIND OF MARS, THE MOON MAID, THE MOON MEN, and others in Burroughs' bibliography which I don't want to spoiler. Like "A Sidekick of Mars," I would absolutely love for there to be a novelization or a follow-up story to this one.
- "Coming of Age on Barsoom" (as "translated" by Catherynne M. Valente) - If you thought that John Carter had the right of it in his views of the Green Martians and their unforgiving culture, hear now the fierce musings of the Thark, Falm Rojut.
- "The Death Song of Dwar Guntha" (Jonathan Maberry) - In the distant future, Barsoom lies on the cusp of global peace, with one last great battle left for John Carter to fight. Except that he's barely in this one. Dipped in melancholia, this, instead, tells of the last stand of sixteen Free Riders of Helium as a horde of one hundred thousand Black Pirates falls on them.
I can pretty much guarantee you will like some of them...and you will wonder what ERB would have written next as Barsoom is unlike his other series in that John Carter inspires others with his example and their tales get told...Welcome to the inspired alternate universe Barsoom collection.