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Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs was an American author, best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter, although he produced works in many genres.


Tarzan of the Apes: A very fine introduction to the original swinger

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Three years ago, the character of Tarzan celebrated his 100th birthday. Making his initial appearance in the October 1912 issue of All-Story Magazine, in the original Tarzan novel Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs' creation proved to be so popular that the author went on to create 25 more novels featuring the jungle swinger. Released in book form two years later, the novel is a perfect introduction to the character who has been called the best-known fictional creation of the 20th century. Like many others, my only previous familiarity with Tarzan was via the Johnny Weissmuller films of the '30s and '40s — all dozen of them — and, to a lesser degree, those featuring Bruce Bennett, Buster Crabbe, Lex Barker and Gordon Scott (I have never gotten a chance to see the... Read More

The Return of Tarzan: Bungle in the jungle

The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Perhaps the most well-known fictional creation of the 20th century, Tarzan celebrated his official centennial in October 2012. First appearing in the pulp publication All-Story Magazine as a complete novel in October 1912, Tarzan of the Apes proved so popular that its creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wasted little time in coming up with a sequel ... the first of an eventual two dozen! That sequel, perhaps inevitably titled The Return of Tarzan, was first seen in the pages of the short-lived pulp New Story Magazine (cover price: 15 cents); unlike its predecessor, it was published serially, in the June - December 1913 issues, and first saw book form in 1915. This is a tremendous continuation of the initial... Read More

The Beasts of Tarzan: Raw lion steaks, anyone?

The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

To celebrate the centennial of Tarzan of the Apes in October 2012 — Edgar Rice Burroughs' first Tarzan novel was released in the October 1912 issue of All-Story Magazine — I  have been compulsively reading the first novels in what eventually became a series of some two dozen books. Book #2, The Return of Tarzan (1913), was a fairly direct sequel to the initial classic outing, while book #3, The Beasts of Tarzan, picks up the tale several years later. This novel originally appeared in serial form in the pages of All-Story Cavalier magazine in 1914 (the popular pulp had debuted in 1905 and would end its run in 1916), with a cover price of ... 10 cents. It made its first book appearance two years lat... Read More

The Son of Tarzan: A “runaway” success

The Son of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs

At the conclusion of the third Tarzan novel, 1914's The Beasts of Tarzan, the Ape Man's archenemy, Nikolas Rokoff, lies dead (and 3/4 eaten!) beneath the fangs of Tarzan's panther ally, Sheeta. But Rokoff's lieutenant, the equally dastardly Alexis Paulvitch, manages to flee into the African wilderness to escape. Needing to know more, this reader wasted little time diving into book #4, The Son of Tarzan. As it had been with the first two Tarzan sequels, Son initially appeared serially in magazine form, in this case as a six-parter in the pulp periodical All-Story Weekly, from December 1915 - January 1916. It would have to wait another 14 months before being released in hardcover book form.

The novel begins a full decade after the events of book #3, as we see Paulvitch, now a wreck of his former self after... Read More

A Princess of Mars: More than the sum of its parts

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

As most of the world already knows, A Princess of Mars is the first of 11 Burroughs novels that tell of John Carter's adventures on the planet Barsoom (Mars, to we Earthlings). This was Burroughs' very first novel, and one of the first books in the swashbuckling space-opera vein; perhaps the very first. It is a marvel of fast-moving action and imagination; indeed, practically every page offers some new marvel or piece of outrageous spectacle. Unfortunately, the book also displays some of the weaknesses of the novice author, but these weaknesses are more than counterbalanced by the pace, color and detail of the story.

Burroughs' imagination seemed to be working overtime in this first book. The descriptions of alien life-forms, dead cities, Barsoomian customs and battles are very well drawn, although those battle scenes could have lasted a little longer, for me. (Burroughs might have lear... Read More

The Gods of Mars: A tremendous feat of imagination

The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Gods of Mars, #2 of 11 in Burroughs' JOHN CARTER series, is a direct sequel to the classic A Princess of Mars, and a reading of that earlier volume is fairly essential before going into this one. The Gods of Mars was first published in serial form in All-Story Magazine in 1913, and comprises one of Burroughs' earliest works.

It is amazing how much action the author manages to cram into the book's 190 pages; on just about EVERY page there is some kind of incredible happening or colorful bit. The book really is hard to put down, and yet, at the same time, the end of just about every paragraph could serve as a cliffhanger! The pace of the plot is brisk and relentless, and really carries the reader along to another great cliffhanger at the conclusion.

In The Gods of Mars our hero, John Carter, returns to Barsoom after ... Read More

The Warlord of Mars: Exciting but sloppy

The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Warlord of Mars (1914) is the third of eleven JOHN CARTER novels from the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs. It is a direct continuation of the first two in the series -- A Princess of Mars and The Gods of Mars -- and a reading of those earlier titles is absolutely essential before going into this one.

Here, Carter tries to rescue his princess, Dejah Thoris, from the clutches of some particularly nasty villains. In his relentless pursuit, one that makes Indiana Jones look like a slacker, Carter travels from the south pole of Mars to the forbidden lands of the north. He encounters many varieties of monster, such as the apt and the sith, and gets into more fights and cliffhanging situations than a reader would believe could be packed into a mere 160 pages. The pace of The Warlord of Mars is furious, never pausing for breath, and the final ba... Read More

Thuvia, Maid of Mars: Veers even more to the fantastic

Thuvia, Maid of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Thuvia, Maid of Mars is the fourth of eleven JOHN CARTER novels from the pen of Edgar Rice Burroughs. It first appeared in April 1916, as a three-part serial in the magazine "All Story Weekly." This is the first Carter novel that does not feature John Carter himself as the central character; he only makes a brief cameo appearance early on. Instead, the action mantle is taken up by Carthoris, Carter's son, but fortunately, Carter Junior turns out to be just as good a swashbuckler as the old man.

In this installment, Princess Thuvia of Ptarth has been kidnapped by the spineless Prince Astok of Dusar, which abduction almost causes a world war on Barsoom (Mars). Young Carthoris, in his quest to free his beloved princess, runs across deserted cities, a forgotten kingdom, banths (10-legged Barsoomian lions), ethereal warriors, mucho swordplay, giant white apes, and on and on. As is u... Read More

The Chessmen of Mars: Fun and lively

The Chessmen of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Editor's note: This title can be purchased free on Kindle.

The Chessmen of Mars, Edgar Rice Burroughs' fifth JOHN CARTER novel out of eleven, first appeared in serial form in the magazine Argosy All Story Weekly from February to April 1922. It is easily the best of the Carter lot to this point; the most detailed, the most imaginative, and the best written. Carter himself only appears at the beginning and end of the tale. Instead, our action heroes are his daughter, Tara, who gets lost in a rare Barsoomian storm while joyriding in her flier and blown halfway across the surface of the planet, and the Gatholian jed Gahan, who goes in search of her.

In the first half of this novel, Tara and Gahan wind up in the clutches of the kaldanes -- bodiless brains who live in a symbi... Read More

The Master Mind of Mars: Extremely entertaining

The Master Mind of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Master Mind of Mars is book 6 of 11 JOHN CARTER adventures that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave to the world. It first appeared in the magazine Amazing Stories Annual in July 1927, and John Carter himself only puts in a cameo appearance near the book's end. Instead, our hero is another Earthman, Ulysses Paxton, who mysteriously gets transported to Barsoom (Mars) after being critically wounded on the battlefields of WW1. Paxton becomes an apprentice of the eponymous mastermind Ras Thavas, and from him learns all manner of surgical miracles, including brain transplantation. Paxton falls in love with a young woman, Valla Dia, whose body has been sold to an old empress, so that that empress can now live on in her new hotty body. Paxton vows to travel across Mars, kidnap the empress, and restore his beloved's body to her. He enlists the aid of some of Ras Thavas' medical subjects: a Barsoo... Read More

A Fighting Man of Mars: A great show of imagination

A Fighting Man of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Fighting Man of Mars is book 7 of 11 JOHN CARTER novels that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave to the world. It first appeared serially in The Blue Book Magazine from April-September 1930, and, at almost 250 pages, is the longest of all the CARTER novels. As in the previous three books in the series, Carter himself only makes a few token appearances, the action mantle this time falling on a distant relation of his, Tan Hadron. As Carter did for Dejah Thoris in books 1-3, and Carthoris did for Thuvia in book 4, and Gahan did for Tara in book 5, Hadron in book 7 goes on a quest to save a woman who has initially spurned him.

This is a big book in the CARTER series, as I have said, and Burroughs throws in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink to entertain the reader. Whereas previous books generally featured two or three enemy nations and their leaders,... Read More

Swords of Mars: As fun as they get

Swords of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Swords of Mars is the 8th of 11 JOHN CARTER OF MARS books that Edgar Rice Burroughs gave to the world. It first appeared serially in the Blue Book Magazine in six parts, from November 1934 to April 1935, and is one of the best in the series. For the first time since book 3, The Warlord of Mars, Carter himself takes center stage, rather than making a brief cameo appearance, and his return as the lead character is perhaps the best single element of this book.

This time around, Carter goes to the Barsoomian city of Zodanga to put an end to the assassins guild that is thriving there. In the first half of the novel, Carter goes undercover to infiltrate this Murder Inc.-type of organization, and this segment is extremely tense and exciting. In the second half, Carter's wife, Dejah Thoris, in what to any reader of this series must come as an instance of Dejah vu (sorry.... Read More

Synthetic Men of Mars: Wonderful entertainment

Synthetic Men of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Synthetic Men of Mars is the 9th of 11 books in Edgar Rice Burroughs' JOHN CARTER OF MARS series. It first appeared serially in Argosy Magazine in early 1939, and is one of the most way-out entries in the series. The book may be seen as a sequel of sorts to book #6, The Master Mind of Mars, in that Ras Thavas, the eponymous superbrain of that earlier work, here makes a return, and the bulk of the action once again takes place in the dismal and forbidding Toonolian Marshes of Barsoom (Mars, to you and me).

In Synthetic Men of Mars, Carter and one of his lieutenants, Vor Daj, go in search of Ras Thavas, to enlist his aid when Carter's wife is critically injured in a midair collision. Thavas is engaged in creating an army of synthetic men (the so-called hormads), who have taken over an island in the Toonolian Marshes, made an unwilling slave of ... Read More

Llana of Gathol: A veritable packet of wonders

Llana of Gathol by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Llana of Gathol is the 10th of 11 JOHN CARTER OF MARS books that Edgar Rice Burroughs left to the world. This book is comprised of four linked short tales that first appeared in Amazing Stories Magazine from March to October 1941. Each of these stories is around 50 pages in length and is made up of 13 very short chapters.

In the first tale, "The Ancient Dead," John Carter goes for a spin in his flier to get away from it all, and winds up in the ancient Barsoomian city of Horz. This long-dead city, however, turns out to be anything but. In "The Black Pirates of Barsoom," Carter discovers an enclave of the First Born (last seen in book 2, The Gods of Mars) and is forced to fight in their gladiator-style games. In "Escape on Mars," Carter goes to the aid of the besieged city of Gathol, and winds up stealing a battleship and putting together an untrustworthy crew of... Read More

John Carter of Mars: The final volume

John Carter of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

John Carter of Mars is the 11th and final volume in Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic JOHN CARTER series, and is comprised of two novellas of varying quality. The first, John Carter and the Giant of Mars, first appeared in Amazing Stories Magazine in January 1941; the second, Skeleton Men of Jupiter, first appeared in that same publication in February 1943. (For full details on the complicated publishing histories of these tales, I refer all interested parties to the ERB List, one of the best Burroughs Websites on the Net.)

As most people seem to know by now, the first of these tales was NOT written by ERB himself, but rather by his son, John Coleman Burroughs, who illustrated 13 of his father's books and drew the John Carter comic strip from 1941-1943. In this tale, Carter is captured by Pew ... Read More

The Land that Time Forgot: Fun pulpy adventure

The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs

You gotta love Edgar Rice Burroughs. He underperformed in life until, as a pencil sharpener salesman who spent his free time reading pulp magazines, he figured he could be paid to write “rot” at least as good as the “rot” he read in the pulps. And thus started the illustrious career of the man who brought us Tarzan, John Carter, and David Innes... And who inspired a generation of fantasy and science fiction writers.

The Land that Time Forgot, a lost world story set during World War I, is the first in Burroughs’ CASPAK trilogy. It was originally serialized in Blue Book Magazine in the fall of 1918 and then published as a novel in 1924.

Bowen Tyler is on a boat that’s torpedoed and sunk by the Germans. He saves a beautiful drowning young woman who he immediately falls in love with (that’s always how it ... Read More

The People that Time Forgot: Adventure and romance

The People that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The People that Time Forgot (1918) is the second novel in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ CASPAK trilogy. In the first installment, The Land that Time Forgot, Bowen Tyler gets stranded on Caspak, a lost world where prehistoric animals and subhuman people exist. The story picks up in The People that Time Forgot as Bowen’s friend Tom Billings decides to go looking for him. When Tom lands on Caspak, he doesn’t have much time to search for his friend because it takes all his effort just to survive.

The People that Time Forgot offers all of the pulpy masculine adventure found in The Land that Time Forgot. There’s a constant stream of bears, dinosaurs, sabertooth tigers, barbarian warriors, and other creatures to fight, so Tom gets to prove his manliness as he moves from one exploit to the next.

And there’s... Read More

Out of Time’s Abyss: Formula has become stale

Out of Time’s Abyss by Edgar Rice Burroughs

In Out of Time’s Abyss, the last volume of Edgar Rice Burrough’s CASPAK trilogy, we learn what happened to Bradley, one of the adventurers we met in the first novel, The Land that Time Forgot. As we expected, Bradley has frightening adventures on Caspak, is nearly killed by lions, bears, tigers, dinosaurs, etc, and he saves and falls in love with a beautiful young damsel in distress.

In this installment, we meet the Wieroo, the most highly evolved species on Caspak. Their form and society isn’t at all what the American and European adventurers would have expected. We also learn the rest of the mystery of the strange evolution that has happened on Caspak. Since this is Earth instead of a fantasy world, it’s all too far-fetched to believe, but that’s okay because we weren’t really expecting or demanding more from a lost world story.

The p... Read More

Beyond Thirty: A must-read for all ERB completists

Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs

By 1916, Edgar Rice Burroughs was already a popular and regular contributor to the pulp periodicals of the day. Though a late starter — his first work, the John Carter story "Under the Moons of Mars," was serialized in All-Story Magazine in 1912, when Burroughs was 36 — his output increased rapidly, to the point that by 1916, he had already seen the first three Carter works, the first two Tarzan titles, the first Pellucidar entry (At the Earth's Core), plus such various works as The Eternal Savage, The Monster Men and The Cave Girl, all printed in that same magazine. But despite his reputation at All-Story, he still managed to get his manuscript for ... Read More

The Monster Men: Edgar Rice Burroughs melds Dr. Moreau with Frankenstein

The Monster Men by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs are both legion and loyal, as evidenced by the long lasting popularity of his characters. Tarzan of course is his most famous character, and John Carter of Mars (and Virginia) was the main character of a recent poorly marketed (but I thought still well done) Disney film. But Burroughs was an extremely prolific author who wrote a lot more than just Tarzan and Martian stories. One of his earliest efforts was this adventure story set in the south Pacific near Borneo. In many ways it can be considered Burroughs’ take on both Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.G. Wells The Island of Dr. Moreau. Originally published as “A Man Without a Soul” in 1913 in the Pulp publication All-Story Magazine, The Monster Men was later published under the present title as a hardcover book in ... Read More

More fantasy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Pellucidar — (1922-1944) At the Earth’s Core with illustrations. At the Earth’s Core is a 1914 science fiction novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the first in his series about the fictional “hollow earth” land of Pellucidar. It first appeared as a four-part serial in All-Story Weekly from April 4–25, 1914. It was first published in book form in hardcover by A. C. McClurg in July, 1922.

1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)1. At the Earth's Core (1922) 2. Pellucidar (1923) 3. Tanar of Pellucidar (1929) 4. Tarzan at the Earth's Core (1930) 5. Back to the Stone Age (1937) 6. Land of Terror (1944) 7. Savage Pellucidar (1941)